Dream Club 2011 - Derek Ahlstrom
Competitive soccer is, and always will be, one of my favorite memories in life. Playing with Idaho Rush has encouraged my development me as both a soccer player and as a young man. I am very thankful for all of my Idaho Rush coaches who have helped me in this process, as well as the opportunity to play with all of my teammates and club members through Idaho Rush.
The bonds I have made with my teammates are incredible. I remember back on our first time playing with each other at Capital Christian Center and was incredibly impressed by everyone. It was a new experience to play with a whole team of people who were linking passes back and forth, defending, and having fun while doing so. From then on I knew our chemistry as a team was something special.
The support for each other, and brotherhood found within our team, is an aspect that I feel made us achieve many of our team’s goals. As we have seen through our experience playing many other teams, there is often a lot of fighting and bickering with each other that only brings them down. I have personally found that this sort of motivation and treatment only makes me play worse, and I attribute a great majority of my personal success and improvement as a player to the fact that our team didn’t have any of this. This has helped me as a leader because I know that if I personally don’t respond well to that motivation, others won’t either. Therefore I motivate with encouraging words rather than pointing fingers and saying something negative.
In our final years coached by Shaun Dunn, I feel I played the best I ever have and also learned the most. It’s not easy to go through yearly injuries because you get set aside, in a sense, and can’t partake in many of the team’s experiences. I’ve seen this destroy some players, but my coach and team stayed with me and encouraged me to do what is best for me in the long run, a lesson that’s hard to grasp when all I wanted to do was play. This helped me realize just how important the relationships between my teammates are, which has also helped me as I get more leadership opportunities.
Soccer has taught me many traits as a person. Most significantly I feel I have been taught discipline and respect. I began learning discipline and respect at a young age by not being late to practices and controlling what I say to others. However, I have also found that I learned how to be a disciplined soccer player. This involves my diet, off-day routines, and how I behave on the soccer field in certain situations regarding my positioning, as well as my actions towards other players, the refs, and the crowd. This intertwines with respect. In intense games it’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and do actions that I would regret later. Once again, both of these traits have helped me in my life off the soccer field tremendously and shape who I am.
When we’re winning as a team, obviously the times feel like they are good. However, a team is really made is through its losses. I remember back when we first played Tustin United. When we came off the field after playing quite poorly Shaun told us to remember that moment, and remember how we were feeling. We then used that emotion to enhance our training until we later beat them 2-0 in the Surf Cup Final. This helped show me that it’s very important to learn from your mistakes to progress as a person and athlete. I have learned to analyze how I feel I played, and what I could have done better. This goes from anything to pre-game activities to last-second plays. This examination now not only applies to soccer, but to anything in my life including school, my spirituality, and professional/medical practices in hospitals. My experience with soccer through Idaho Rush has helped me in the process of becoming the best man I can be, constantly striving to improve at everything. These lessons are invaluable in my life, and I’m not sure where I would be without them.