As I traveled to Paraguay for Thanksgiving and came back it was an unforgettable experience that will never be forgotten. It is so hard to put into words my experience. It was such an eye-opening trip especially coming from such a privileged area Pleasanton California, where I live.
Just to see the living conditions they live in with dirt floors to sleeping with a whole family under a small area with no privacy. By giving the kids new backpacks and cleats and equipment and seeing the joy on their faces is a moment I will never forget. I had such an amazing time playing with the kids and just letting loose and going out of my comfort zone.
Seeing pictures to actually being there was a whole new experience and made me feel very emotional as I got to reflect and see just how privileged I really am here. Seeing how happy all of the kids were and how similar they were to me really taught me that they are not poor in spirit and that being poor really is a mindset.
Not only did I have fun playing with the kids, but I met a very special girl named Maria who will always be my life long friend. She is an amazing young women who is outstanding at soccer and shares the same passions as I do. She is truly one of the kindest and nicest girls I have met and I am so grateful to be able to have met her.
Furthermore, I learned that smiling and playing soccer together is a universal language. I was initially nervous as all of the kids there speak Spanish in Paraguay and me coming from a few years in Spanish in high school I didn’t know if I could communicate, but in reality, if you just smile and dance and share fun times together language really isn’t a barrier.
Not only did I learn what is important in life, but I also learned things about who I am and what I want to be. I learned to be more appreciative of what I have and to use what I have to make a small change in the world that can create a ripple effect. Furthermore, I learned to be myself and to not care about what others think because I’m truly awesome and I’m not going to let anyone take that from me.
This trip has truly been a life-changing experience and I would definitely encourage others to get involved and help. I am defiantly going to take away this amazing opportunity and further it in my soccer career. Soccer is beyond just a sport it really connects others together in a fun and competitive way and will give you a lifetime of friends and memories.
Soccer really raises a powerful image of women and how strong we are and gives women the courage to achieve their goals. I am very blessed to have had such a wonderful opportunity to travel to Paraguay with girlsoccerworldwide, and I can’t thank Pam and Walter the founders of this nonprofit organization for giving me a week in my life that was unforgettable.
Aly is a 2019-2020 Girls Soccer Worldwide™ Ambassador.
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