She Already Won.

“Take a Knee.”

I am going into my 3rd year of being a head coach for girls varsity soccer.

Since day one, my mission has been to create a safe environment for teen girls who aren’t always protected in other aspects of their lives.

There was an impactful moment that I will never forget as a coach.

I had a star player who had some real and raw talent. The first year was really rough for us as we lost dang near every game. There was a game that I really needed her talent. I needed her footwork, her speed, her goals. Everything.

Prior to the game starting, she approached me and said, “Coach K, my head isn’t in this game, can I not start?”

Without hesitation, I replied, “Yeah, that’s fine.”

After the first few minutes she came back to me saying she was okay to go in.

She went out and was immediately double teamed, took a hard hit, and tears started rolling down her face while she looks at me, “I can’t do this today.”

“Take a knee.”- Me

In soccer, you can’t just run off the field or switch out players so we played with one less until we could get her off the field.

I could’ve told her to toughen up, stop crying, get some grit and go do it because we needed this win but in that moment, I wanted to take every bit of pain she had away.

𝐌𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬.

We’ve heard stories of triumphant athletes who played through crazy odds and may have pulled off a massive win resulting in quite the fanfare, but we also need to cheer for the athletes that choose to step back for the sake of their bodies and their mental health.

Every coach in every arena, at every level, should prioritize mental health over wins. What’s a win when you’re losing yourself or losing your star player? If you felt any other way than clapping and supporting @simonebilesstepping back and away during the Olympics, you shouldn’t be a coach.

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