Life after soccer…is a different life. Well, it has been for me at least. Most people talk about the identity tied to being an athlete and the transition after no longer being associated with a team or playing the game anymore. I retired from professional soccer two and a half years ago after playing the wonderful game for more than 25 years, and honestly, I feel like I am still adjusting to the transition.
After reaching a certain level, everything in your life as an athlete is so structured. What time you need to wake up, a set time for meals, training and lifting, doctors visits, travel, time-off, meetings, and downtime. Many arrangements are made for you so the primary focus as the athlete can stay on training, competing, and evolving as a player and as a team.
So what happens after that all disappears and you enter the “real world”? Of course, every person’s answer is different based on individual personality and circumstance. I was fortunate enough to retire of my own choosing and not because of an injury or coach’s decision. When I left soccer, I pursued an interest that I had in real estate. When I was on the road I would read lots of books on real estate, renovating and construction and became fascinated with it. That seemed like the logical next step for me, so I got my real estate license and worked for a residential company and then moved to a commercial real estate group. I was excited to experience the corporate world, trading in my cleats and sweats for pumps and suits. However, I began to realize the world in which I previously left in sports was still calling. While I knew I was finished playing soccer, I began to realize that there was still more being asked of me to stay involved in the sports world.
After some soul searching, conversations with friends and family, and support from advisors, I left the corporate world, recently moved across the country from Boston to LA, and have shifted my focus on motivational speaking and conducting workshops on empowerment through sport as well as sports commentating. Sports has enriched my life in so many ways and made me into the person that I am today. It is what I am truly passionate about and I’m enjoying the discovery of the many forms that it can take.
No matter what your involvement in sports are, life can show you times to reinvent yourself. What sports has offered me is the courage to accept challenges in those times, create concrete goals to achieve them, and to know that win or lose, the journey is what offers the greatest rewards whether it be in the game of soccer or the game of life.
Angela Hucles played for the U.S. Women’s National Team, won two Olympic gold medals, and played in two Women’s World Cups. The former Boston Breakers midfielder in both the WUSA and WPS, Hucles was honored in 2009 by U.S. Soccer, receiving the USSF Humanitarian of the Year Award.