I have been playing soccer since the age of 4 or even younger, it was and still is my whole world, every day and night I was either playing soccer or thinking about it.
My soccer career started with Glasgow Rangers as a child then I moved to Perth Australia with my family, which led to playing for Perth Glory before returning to the UK to play professional Soccer in the Scottish Premier League for Dundee United. I made my debut as a professional at the age of 19 and thought I was on top of the world at the time, life couldn't be any better.
Until disaster hit and I was riddled by injuries resulting in many operations and complications which would eventually end up in early retirement at the age of just 20. My whole world had been turned upside down. I returned to Australia to be with my family and to start fresh. I had no back up plan, all I knew was football and I couldn't work due to injuries for 2 years.
After finally coming to the conclusion that I will not be able to play professional football anymore, I had to move on with my life and try to build myself from the ground up again. I started work at a local recreation centre working in the cafe. Going from playing football in front of thousands of people to making coffee felt like a new low but it ended up being one of the best parts of my life as I managed to turn my life around and get my confidence back. I had purpose again, going to work each day made me happy, I had a sense of belonging.
I said I would never work in football again but a job in the recreation centre came up for a kids soccer coach, at first i didn't want to do it, I still hated football, but friends and family pushed me to apply. It would be the changing point in my life and something that I am so grateful for today.
Coaching kids has reminded me why I love football and why I started playing the game, I feel I am back doing what I am meant to be doing again. For me football is not just a sport, it brings people together, it keeps us in the moment, keeps our bodies and minds healthy and for me and I am sure many others, football is what saved my life.
After 6 years of no football, I am back playing for my local Club, Football Margaret River where I couldn't be happier, I play the game for enjoyment and to hopefully be a role model for other young players to follow their dreams.