Throughout my life I have developed a strong reputation in many facets; whether it be academically, socially, or athletically I have always prided myself on being the best I can be and creating a strong resume for myself. While I have excelled academically and socially, I believe the domain where I developed the strongest reputation was my ability as a soccer player. Growing up, I was regarded as one of the best players in my area. I started varsity as a freshman, I was on the Dailey Herald "Watch List" as a sophomore in high school, I was named to the Dailey Herald All First-Team as a Junior, while also receiving an All-Sectional award as a Junior. I was on the pre-season All-State team as a senior, but chose to forgo my senior season and play for a travel team that plays all year around, they did not let me play high school soccer.
I developed my reputation at a young age, I played travel soccer for my local club team where I stapled myself as one of the better players in the area. From there, I broke the Grayslake Middle School goal record in a two-year career (our school only had 7th and 8th grade), joined a top 10 team in the country, and then as I mentioned before, excelled in high school. I finished top 3 in goals scored in school history, while not even playing my senior season. I was consistent and proved to my teammates and coaches that I was able to preform in games and not just practice. I had colleges coming to watch me play, calling me every week, and even taken official visits to schools. While I was a great soccer player, I had a temper and my reputation was built on skill and temper. My sophomore year I was a hot head, I drew 14 cards in 20 games. I was carded for dissent, unneccessary tackles, and often was not afraid to throw an elbow or a punch. I would snap at comments from players and let people get underneath my skin, it was a weakness.
I was embarrassed of the player I became and decided I needed to make a change. I no longer wanted to be regarded as "Robert, the great soccer player who cannot control his temper", but as "Robert, the great soccer player with a competitive nature to want to win." Instead of losing my temper and screaming at refs and punching kids in the face for tackling me, I used this negative energy and turned it into positive energy. I did not want to be remembered as a hot head. Instead, I would take a second to calm myself down before I did anything rash and if I did channel anger, I would use this anger to score a goal or make a fair tackle rather than swear at the ref. I wanted to change for the better, I wanted to create a new reputation, a positive one. I lowered my card count from 14 my sophomore season to 1 my junior year, it was my first game and I swear it was a clean tackle. I controlled my temper and as a result, my reputation changed. Once I decided not to play my senior season, my soccer reputation grew as I joined an elite soccer club called Chicago Magic Academy. This was one of the best soccer clubs in the nation and even produced the current national team goalie, Brad Guzan. I believe my only "cash-in" was deciding not to play for my high school, I was regarded immediately as top talent for making the team, but in the end I wish I had played high school soccer because it was more enjoyable and provided me with more pleasure. I chose not to play at the collegiate level, except for club where I helped guide the Men's Soccer team as UIUC to a Final 4 in Arizona.