Photo provided by Edward Persson
Specifics aren’t important right now. It all started about fourteen years ago. This little girl lived on skid row with her parents and little brother who’s four years younger than her. She started her first day of kindergarten just up the street. As her school year progressed she got yelled at for unnecessary things and was bullied by her teachers and classmates. This little girl didn’t really have any friends. She would go home every day and complain to her mother and father about how much she hated her school. As responsible parents, they made her finish the year and told her that the following year they would put her in a different school. Her parents found her a school. It was a very expensive school and in order for her to go to this school, one of her parents had to work there. This little girl got in and started her first day of kindergarten...again. This time it was different, all of her classmates were so nice and welcoming, she loved this new school.
She was about five years old when she joined AYSO. Her first practice was held that day and about six little girls showed up but, they didn’t have a coach so her mother stepped up, not knowing anything about soccer, and said that she would be the new coach. Her mother sacrificed her time and effort to coach her daughter. Not only did this little girl love playing soccer and that her mom was the coach but she was actually kind of good at it too. So, she signed up for the next season as well, and her mother was the coach again. This little girl continued to play for the next four years and her mother continued to coach and support her little girl for the next four years as well. Time flew by for this family of four and this little girl wasn’t so little anymore. She was starting her first day of middle school!
This not so little girls’ mom took her out of AYSO and put her in HYSA, which is more competitive soccer. Her mother put a team together and continued to coach but as an assistant this time. The first game she played was against girls who were five times bigger than her but she played the game of her life. As she played she continued to get better each week. As the season came to an end a soccer coach from Kona talked to this girls mom about switching clubs and playing for them. It was a hard decision but in the end both the girl and her mother decided that it would be best to switch. So her mother would drive her all the way down to Kona for practices. She would have to leave work early in order to get her to practice on time. As this girl practiced for about 2 hours her mother and brother would just sit and watch her practice. Unfortunately, that can be very boring sometimes. She played her first season with these girls and proved to the coaches that she was a good player that they wanted to bring her to Maui for a tournament. This was a big opportunity for her that her parents couldn't pass up. So, they sent her to Maui and she had the time of her life.
When she came home from her trip there was some unpleasant news. Her coach wouldn’t be coaching the next season due to personal reasons which means that she would have to find a new team to play with. As her parents searched for a new team to play with they came across a team in Waimea. This was an all boys team until she joined. The boys she played with were her classmates which made this experience a lot more fun for her. If she was going to play with these boys she had to be a lot stronger, more aggressive and faster. All the boys she played against were twice her size and ten times faster than her, which would help her out in the long run. Now her mom was not an assistant coach or head coach anymore, she was just a full time supporter. She would go to every game and every practice, rain or shine it didn’t matter she was there for her daughter.
This girl continued to play on this team for quite a while, she also joined another team all the way out in Hilo. She wasn’t able to go out to their practices so she just played with them when she had a game. This means that she would have at least 2 games in a day. This would also help her a lot in the long run. Time flew by even faster throughout her middle school years because soon she was starting her first day of high school now. Her boys team discontinued as it was too hard for everyone to go to practices, so she just had her Hilo team. This girl was very excited to be going into high school, but she was even more excited about her soccer tryouts. Not only was she excited but she was also very nervous. She was a tiny freshman trying out for the two time Women's Soccer State Champions! How could she not be nervous. After all that worrying she did she made the team! This filled her with so much joy. So was so happy when pre season came. She got so much playing time it was unbelievable, almost too good to be true. Sure enough it was. Once the season started she didn’t play at all. After their first in season game she ran to her mom and started crying she was so upset about it. Her mom told her to calm down and take a deep breath cause there was still plenty of games left in the season. She was right there was still plenty of games left, she has to play in at least one right? Wrong, she didn’t play at all her freshman year and that destroyed her. The only thing that kept her going was that her family was at every single game, supporting her even though they knew she wasn't going to get any playing time. They were there for her when she needed them most.
That summer going into her sophomore year of high school she was really debating about going to try put for soccer or not. She was so upset about what happened to her her freshman year that she wanted to join basketball instead. Her mom convinced her to give it one more try, so she did. She made the team again, played in pre season again but, when the first game of the season came, she was out on the field playing the entire game. She was so happy that she got to play, but that wasn’t even the best part. The best part was that from that day on she played every single game and every single minute of every single game. She even got to play in the state tournament and she also kicked the ball that won them States that year. High school was going by so fast that she wanted it to slow down just a little bit because she was starting her first day of her junior year! Junior year was a big year, this is when everybody knows where they want to go what they want to do and if they want to play a sport in college. This girl wasn't even sure if she wanted to go to college let alone play soccer.
As her junior year went on and soccer season was here she decided that she did want to go to college, and that she wants to play soccer as well. Since she decided that she wanted to play her parents sent her up to Vegas for a show case so college coaches could look at her play. She had a great time up there but it wasn’t really helpful for her, she didn’t get anything from anyone. So what she had to do was join a recruiting site called NCSA. She started putting edits of her playing soccer up on this site and immediately colleges started to email her saying how much they want her to play on their team but what she really wanted was for time to slow down because it was her last first day of high school.
As senior year came she wasn’t as excited as all the other years because she knew that it was going to be over soon. She had grown up with all her classmates and didn’t want to leave them so soon, so she made the most of it. On the first day of her senior year she made new friends and hung out with them all the time, and I mean all the time. She spent eight months with these girls and there was never a dull moment, or if there was it wasn’t for very long. The school year went by so fast for these three girls and it’s sad that it had to come to an end so soon. These girls promised to keep in touch when they go off to college and I’m sure that they will.
Eight months went by extremely fast. We only have 2 more months of school left then we all go our separate ways. My best friends are going to be going to school in California and I’ll be going to school all the way in Iowa. That’s right, this little girl is going to college, and she’s going to play soccer as well. I couldn’t of gotten to where I am if it wasn’t for my family or my friends. Now that we are all caught up to present time…
My name is Zoë Ganley and I live with my parents Patrick and LeeAnn Ganley, and my little brother Thor who’s 4 years younger than me. Ever since I can remember my family have been there for me, through my ups and my downs. It’s crazy on how supportive they are, even my little brother who pretends he doesn’t care but I know he really does. The truth is, I could never be where I am today without them. I definitely wouldn’t be playing soccer if it wasn’t for my mom. I also wouldn’t of kept playing during high school if it wasn't for my family's support. College wouldn’t even be in the picture if it wasn’t for them. They have done so much for me and deserve a lot more. We aren’t a perfect family, not even close. What’s stated above it probably the best thing about my parents (besides my moms cooking), but believe me when I say that we fight… we fight a lot, not physical fight (but I’m sure my mom wants to strangle my neck sometimes), but verbal fights. We have a lot of those.
My best friends Kayla and Alex have also been there for me this entire year weather it was them laughing at me at all the silly things I do or coming to my senior game for soccer. They have always been right there for me. I don’t know how they put up with me as I’m kind of crazy sometimes. I am so lucky to even be friends with these girls. They have impacted my life so much and I’m going to miss them very much when we all part ways. I’m not too worried about not talking to each other again because I know that I will keep sending them stuff over Snapchat.
Times have been really rough ever since the whole college game started. I don’t want to leave but at the same time I can’t wait to get off this rock. I’m really going to miss my parents and hearing their voices everyday, weather it’s them yelling at me or us just having a silly conversation. I’m going to miss all the small things that we did together, and even the stupid stuff we said to each other. One thing that I haven’t said enough though was Thank you. Please and Thank you aren’t really in my vocabulary. It’s just a given that I’m grateful for everyone and all that they do for me, even if it's from coming to all my games or just sitting with me at lunch.
Where I am today is all because of my parents, they are the ones who pushed me to be doing my best all the time even if it didn’t mean anything. They told me to always give my best no matter what because you never know whos going to be watching you. That’s what I’m going to take with me to college. I’m going to make sure that I always give my best so I don’t disappoint them. They have done so much for me so now it's my turn to give back to them. My goal in life is to make them proud and not embarrass them at all.
I owe my parents a huge thank you for everything that they have done for me all the love and support they gave me for the past 18 years. Everything that they have done for me has made me the person I am today and I am so grateful for that. Words can’t explain how thankful I am for my parents and how I was raised, because if I was raised any other way I wouldn’t be where I am now. They shaped me to who I am now and it's the best qualities that my parents could possibly give me.
I’ve lived with my parents and little brother on skid row for eighteen years now and I have gone to the same school for the past thirteen years. I love my school and all my classmates and I’m grateful for the time that we have left. I have amazing friends who keep me in check 24/7. My wonderful parents who would do just about anything for me. Last but not least my little brother who has also been there for me for everything, quietly sitting on the sideline just waiting for me to be done with whatever I’m doing. So thank you everyone for everything you’ve done for me.