It takes confidence to grow in your understanding of the game and your own role within it. It’s hard to show a confidence to your teammates or opponents if you’re unsure of yourself. As the goalkeeper, I can see the entire field and the game as it’s played out in front of me. I often think of my job as one of crisis management. As I see things break down in front of me, it’s my job to prevent our downfall. The easiest way for me to do this is to communicate, loudly. I try to move the defense around and solve any problems before they get to me.
On the field, I almost have to take on a different persona. Naturally, I’m a shy, introverted person who prefers small groups of 3-4 people at most. But when I take the field, it’s different. I embrace the mentality I need for the art of this game. As a goalkeeper, it’s a requirement of the position to be loud and commanding. I don’t get loud just to be loud or to sound angry, I get loud because it’s what I need to do to help my team succeed. In fact, it would be selfish of me to choose to stay quiet. I also try to get my defenders to talk more because if we share this responsibility of communication, it’s easier.
I aim to be constructive and instructional in the way I communicate with my teammates. I’m pretty loud; you can always hear me. Quick to give my defenders guidance, I’m also quick to give them praise. I’m their biggest fan! Because the better they play, the easier my job is and the greater chance we have to win.
A lot of times we have blindspots in our lives. In soccer, everyone is drawn to the ball and, as defenders, you have to constantly check your back shoulder for the opponent. You have to think about where they are moving, instead of just being sucked straight to the ball. In our spiritual lives, we also have blindspots — areas we don’t want to acknowledge like greed, pride or anything else that commands our attention away from Christ. How can we steer clear of these areas that don’t bring out the best in us? We need to remain grounded in Scripture and find other healthy ways to mature in our faith in Christ.
I’ve been reading through the book of Exodus and watching how God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians and the plagues in their land. I see how God is sovereign over our hearts; He knows what’s best for us. Our lives are going to unravel in a way that will bring about His glory and be used for His purposes, no matter what. I may think I know what’s best for myself at times, but I don’t. I’m trying to align my desires with His, to slow down and see who on my team He’s leading me to pursue and love well. I’m learning how to be present where He’s placed me for the moment, not trying to plan too far in the future, but leave that up to Him.
As I embrace the play for this moment, and listen to God’s commands for the next one, I’m experiencing the peace and freedom He promises.
— Aubrey Bledsoe, NWSL’s Washington Spirit goalkeeper
Aubrey Bledsoe is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Aubrey’s profile on The Increase: https://theincrease.com/author/aubrey-bledsoe/
If you enjoyed this article, please share: