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I wake up each morning thinking about one thing: HOW I CAN REACH MY GOALS. In 2014, I packed up everything and moved to England. I left my full time job, my coaching job and my family. People asked me why I wanted to leave everything behind and move to England. I had a goal. It was to go and challenge myself to get my soccer coaching badges in one of the hardest countries to achieve this. Not only was I challenging myself, I was going into this as one of very few female coaches taking some of the classes.

I didn’t have money to live in a fancy apartment so I lived in a 16-person hostel. I was living on a budget of $6 pounds a day for food, which is about $11.00 Canadian. I was alone, missed holidays, birthdays, and the birth of my godson, but I knew why I was there. I had a goal: get my coaching license. I wanted to come back and make an impact on the Canadian Soccer atmosphere in whatever capacity I could. I would sit in my bed at the hostel and write ideas for my future. I wrote everything down in hopes one day I would have the chance to share it, like I am now.

I always wanted to be a coach because I am obsessed with soccer. It was a goal that I needed to achieve. Goals continue to drive me. I set a new goal for each day and I get it done. Goals made me who I am today. I have many ups and downs in my coaching career. It is not easy being a female coach in soccer, but I know my goal and why I am here. I want to inspire as many female athletes as I can to stay in their sport.

To all the young athletes, coaches, parents, board members, family members or ANYONE reading this: there is a pathway in sport for everyone. I am just a little fish in a big pond, but I know I am making a difference to the young female athletes I meet every day. It is so important to set goals, even if it’s a daily goal, weekly goal, monthly goal, year-long goal. Do not let anything stop you. Be positive. Know and always remember WHY you’re doing it. Never stop pushing yourself until it gets done!

Maria Procopio– A game changing soccer coach