Prior to the arrival of a worldwide pandemic, I decided to take a leave of absence from my team this year. In fact, I was the first player from my team approved to do so for family reasons. With my husband, Jordan, down for the count due to a surgery and long recovery, as well as a toddler and baby on the way, I needed to be around. Us moving to D.C. for the season was not in the cards. Little did I know there was going to be a pandemic which would shut down the entire country, and all sports, anyway.
So this year has been the slowed-down environment I was anticipating, and COVID’s restrictions have only added to that. I had already decided I was going to take time to help out the family, and now it seems everyone else has been having a similar experience.
While I’m really looking forward to playing next year after having our second baby, I knew that this was the right decision for our family. In 2019, we moved a total of nine different times. Jordan, an NFL receiver, was going back and forth between two teams more times than we could have imagined. My international soccer career was in focus because we had a chance to qualify for the Olympics. So while I was either in D.C., Texas or Jamaica, Jordan was jumping around to different NFL teams across the country.
Many situations came up where we needed to make a sacrifice or miss out on something. When Jordan was heading to the Super Bowl with the 49ers, I had two days off in between Olympic qualifying games, so I flew back to be with him. Coming back to the final game, my coach didn’t play me because I had just traveled, and he wanted to rest me since we were already out of the running. Discovering how upset I was made me realize how much I really do still care about playing. But nothing could convince me that I made the wrong choice. I needed to be with my family for the Super Bowl. I don’t regret it.
Marriage is a give and take, especially with two professional athletes. It definitely helps that both of us are so passionate about our sports, while also knowing they won’t last forever. We are enjoying the time we have in our sports, while holding everything loosely.
Jordan and I have been able to grow in our faith so much during this time of rest. We just finished reading the New Testament together, which was a way we could connect while away from each other. The time that we’ve had off has helped us recenter our priorities on our son Josiah’s growth and experiences we can have as a family.
With or without COVID, there are times of uncertainty. Right now we are wondering if Jordan will be going to an NFL camp or if he’ll be at home with us for the season. We don’t even know if there will be any sports in the fall or what kind of further destruction this disease will have on our world. There are uncertainties about careers, moves, health, ect. But because of our hope in Christ and trust in His plan, we have peace while not knowing.
Uncertainty is not something we’re unaccustomed to. God prepares us for these moments; He wants us to always rely fully on Him.
— Cheyna Matthews, NWSL’s Washington Spirit forward
Cheyna Matthews is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Cheyna’s Increase profile here.
If you enjoyed this article, please share: