Taking the Blinders Off - Aubrey Bledsoe

I believe 2020 is going to be a big year. It’s going to require me to be more of a leader, bringing more responsibility with my role on the Washington Spirit. Last year we were in the process of rebuilding. We brought in a new coaching staff and new ownership. There weren’t too many expectations because we were in year one of a rebuild. But now that we’re in the second year, and after having the success we did last year (fifth place), we will have higher expectations for the team as a whole. With the new foundation laid, I’m excited to step into a more dynamic role. As a team, we have so much we can and will improve on to take us to the next level.

There are certain things I really want to focus on this year as well, in terms of becoming the best goalkeeper I can be. While playing in Australia during the Spirit’s offseason, I was able to work a lot on my feet. With the slower pace of the game there, I was able to practice with my left foot (my non-dominant foot) and balance out my play. I also worked on playing a bit higher off my line positionally. It’s more risky, but it enables me to prevent the opponent’s attacks before they get into the goal area — preventing more balls from going in the net. 

As I continue to fine-tune my game, I am faced with the question of how I’m fine-tuning my faith. I’ve always felt a sense of contentment and purpose with where I am in my faith journey, but at the same time, I want to strive toward something greater. I’ve always had a dream to become a starter on the women’s national team — to be the best I can be as a soccer player. I’ll always work toward that goal and I’m going to give it my all, but after being with the national team in training camp last fall, I’ve realized making that team won’t be the end-all, be-all. 

At times, I find myself inadvertently putting blinders on while trying to accomplish my goal. I become so focused on achieving this position — I become so singularly focused — that I blur out other people and ways I can serve them. Being so stuck in my own head, I become selfish and don’t see others. I often don’t even realize I’m doing this, but I’m realizing that my soccer career is not only about how far I make it, it’s more about the journey God’s taking me on and who I become along the way. When I take this mindset, I’m able to enjoy the process so much more. Then, and only then, if I make my goal, I won’t place unrealistic expectations on the position. Or if I never make it there, I won’t be devastated. I’ll do everything I can do and leave the rest up to God. That way, I can enjoy this journey, knowing He’s ultimately in control of the outcome. 

There’s always more we can be doing, but we can’t let ourselves buy into the lie that we need to be doing more. Do all you can do to become the best God has called you to be and leave the rest up to Him. 

— 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/

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