After graduating college, I got my first job within a few months as a professional soccer player.
For three years all I really talked about was leaving Croatia in order to play a higher level of soccer and that my plan was to finish college and then leave again.
After two years in Zagreb I was actually quite happy with my life and the balance that I had with futsal, outdoor soccer and the national team, but I was still convinced that my time had come to leave and I was ready to go. So I jumped at the first opportunity that came my way which was a tryout for the champion’s team of Poland. This extended tryout consisted of three days and three trainings in Konin, Poland and then the extension part was the trip to Bulgaria for Champion’s League preparation which was about a week long.At the time I was very excited to be a part of a new team, a group of people that acting like a team on and off the field, and the trainings so far had been fantastic as well. Plus the opportunity to participate in Women’s Champion’s league seemed like everything I thought I wanted. After I signed the contract however and soon after returning back to Poland some of those feelings of excitement began to change.
Now when I look back on it, the past few months have been several lessons packed into a short time span. The first one being that balance is key, which is funny that I had to relearn that one considering that I have a tattoo on my left shoulder which symbolizes balance. Nevertheless, in our world today it has become practically impossible for people to just be doing one thing. The lifestyle I was used to pretty much from high school included doing a lot of activities simultaneously, including being a theatre technician, playing outdoor and indoor soccer, national team games, college in Croatia and a lot of travelling. And from all of that I made the decision to go to Poland mostly to follow my dream of playing professional soccer. In every respect, on the soccer side the team in Konin was fantastic, including the staff, coaches, players and whole surrounding of the club. However, the part that didn’t fit me was the environment where I could not excel in anything else other than soccer. That was when I realized that my idea of specializing with only one thing and just playing soccer was not going to work for me because I was no longer fulfilled by doing only that. I had the idea, although many people told me otherwise, that I could just play soccer as long as possible even if it wasn’t for very much money and in that time figure out what I would do next. But that the success of finally playing professional soccer which was my aim was going to make me happy.
What I failed to realize was that a happy environment will incidentally make a happier person who will then function more successfully, which is the opposite of popular belief that success will make people happy. I guess that’s a little bit of life philosophy from the 21 year old broken down soccer player.
Although I did try and get a job and did some volunteering in my free time teaching young polish children English, which was fun, I spent most of my time trying to come up with an alternative life plan and new goals to motivate me.
As my first job, this was also my first encounter with making my own money and getting a monthly paycheck which I was then trying not to spend in order to buy myself a new phone for example (which I did for Christmas). And once soccer became a job all of a sudden it was less fun and more of an obligation because I knew that I had to do certain things because I was getting paid for them. This is probably why they say that I important to do something you love in your career because some things change when a hobby becomes work as well.