“I have experienced many MENtal health challenges/struggles before, and even till this very day. Being a professional athlete is very tough because people don’t see what goes on behind the scenes. Each and every single day I battle internal and external factors such as what the media, coaches, friends, and family have to say or expect from me..While also being hard on myself to be the best player every training and game. What worked for me is two things, fixing my mindset and doing my works for God, instead of myself. I have a MENtality that I am the best and no matter what anyone says, I know who I am and no one can change that. Another thing is that I do what I love to do for God and not myself. God gave me talent and a ball, so I will glorify him through the sport. These tactics have helped me be more mentally sane and healthy.
As a professional athlete, there’s so much that goes on regarding pressure. Since it is a business, I have to deal with performing to the best of my abilities every single day, even on days when I don’t feel like it. I also have to deal with contract negotiations and being able to produce for my team, family, and myself. Contracts also depend on how well you do in a season and how valuable you are to the team, so being consistent is so crucial in this business. Sometimes no matter how hard you work or try, you can end up getting traded or not even play any games because the club wants that. I also deal with pressure from coaches, fans, and even the media sometimes. They always expect you to be on point every day no matter what so the expectations are always high.
My MENtal health has had more positive than negative impacts in my career. At the beginning, I struggled hard with the pressure, the expectations, the doubt, etc. But as I got older and experienced new obstacles, I’ve learned to embrace them and see them as opportunities. A simple bible verse that has helped me embrace challenges was Proverbs 3:5. It talks about trusting in the lord and letting him lead your life. No matter what may come my way, whether that’s a new team, an injury, good or bad times, I look at everything as an opportunity to overcome because struggles are temporary.
I would say that my family have helped me so much throughout my career. Most importantly, I give thanks to my dad for helping go through my struggles. He is someone who’s been through it all. Lost all of his family members at birth, was an immigrant, and had all the odds against him growing up, but he still managed to overcome all the struggles that life had put him through and came out on top. He constantly tells me that God always gives his soldiers tough battles, but God will walk you through every obstacle no matter what. This advice has helped me look at life and adversity in a different way.
An advice that I would give to anyone, whether that’s in sports, life, or in anything, is that “It’s okay not to be okay”. This is a quote from a good friend of mine named Posi. Everyone goes through struggles in life, some more than others, and that’s okay. But no matter what it is, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, although it may not seem like it. It is okay to reach out to someone about your mental health because we are all in this together. Continue to fight and always look at the dark moments as an opportunity, because eventually, the pain and struggles will subside, and a new version of you will come about. KEEP GOING!”
CLUB INTERNACIONAL DE FÚTBOL MIAMI