A lot of changes have happened in the past 6 months! It’s been a crazy rollercoaster of traveling, adventures, and of course… fútbol! My season in Serbia ended in early June 2022. We finished 3rd in the Serbian Superliga and made it to the semi-finals of the Serbian Cup. Overall, I had an incredible time in Serbia, but I knew I would not return for another season. I believed I needed to move to a different country with a more competitive league to grow as a player. So I left Serbia, not knowing what country I would play in next, but very confident that something would work out!
Before I returned to the United States, my brother and I decided to meet in Greece for a little vacation. Serbia is so close to Greece and Dan was heading to his study abroad program in Italy, so we could not think of a better meeting place to reunite! Because Dan and I are both broke, we knew we couldn’t afford a real vacation in Greece. So we signed up with this program called WWOOF (WorldWide Opportunities on Farms) that connected us with a family in Kiato, Greece who needed help tending to their farm. Basically, we worked on their property and in return got free accommodations and food during our stay! We worked about 5 hours a day, de-rusting and painting a big fence that gated their property and tending to their garden. The rest of the day we had free to adventure around the beautiful little beach city of Kiato and spend some quality time laying by the sea. We also made a trip to Athens on our last day there and toured the Acropolis and other incredible sites. It was such a fun trip! I highly recommend doing WWOOF if you’re looking for a unique and more personal experience while traveling or want to save some money and don’t mind getting your hands dirty!
After our Greece trip, I returned home to Santa Barbara where I began training and working hard to get recruited to a new team. I was invited to play in a game for a WPSL semi-pro team from Los Angeles called Elite. They were scrimmaging a team called Xolos from Tijuana, Mexico. It turned out that the team from Mexico was looking to recruit center defenders (my position)! So when I confirmed playing in this scrimmage, the Xolos coaches and staff were notified so they could pay close attention to my playing. For some reason, I knew that I would play really well in this scrimmage and that I would end up playing for this team in Mexico. I had offers from other professional teams, but I had a different feeling about this team that I couldn’t explain– even before the scrimmage ever happened.
Turns out my gut instinct was correct! I played well during the scrimmage and impressed the Xolos team enough to offer me a paid contract for a year. So two weeks later in early July, I moved to Tijuana, Mexico where I have been playing since! It was very difficult trying to explain to my family why I was choosing to move to Tijuana, Mexico to play. After all, it is one of the most dangerous cities in the world… but I had to trust my intuition that this was going to be the best decision for my soccer career. And so far it has been! It has been so incredibly fun playing on this team and in the LaLiga MX. The fan base is incredible, the stadiums are insane, and the media coverage is worldwide. I feel like I have finally made it as a professional athlete.
We finished our 2022 season in November, placing 5th in the league (out of 18 teams) and making it to the quarterfinals of playoffs. I had a really great season and played every game in its entirety! I’m bummed we didn’t make it farther in playoffs but I am already looking forward to the 2023 season starting at the beginning of January.
Currently, my team is in pre-season gearing up for our 2023 season. Playing in the Mexican league is quite a whirlwind being year-round, and only having 3 weeks off in between seasons. There’s not much time to rest or switch off, but I’m loving the grind.
I hope to give ya’ll more updates and posts about my experiences in Mexico. I have been really lagging on writing lately and I apologize for that! Thanks for reading my little life update and I’ll be back with more content soon <3.