Darby Blog

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James Murphy / Contributor

It’s been a little over a year since I left home to begin my professional soccer career in England. When I started out I didn’t know what to expect, and to be honest, last season was kind of like a roller coaster ride.

 

There were many ups and downs throughout the season. I started off really well and made my professional debut playing in the first round of the League Cup. Just before the season’s end I found myself on crutches with torn ankle ligaments, unable to play in the national final, which my team won.

 

While those experiences were impactful, it’s what happened in the middle of the season that really taught me what I needed to know.

 

At times I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, I let the lows outweigh the highs, and I lost sight of the bigger picture. There were definitely times where I felt very challenged. A bad day at practice would sometimes turn into a bad mood for a week and, after a few consecutive tough days, I would start to feel really negatively. It was frustrating and it was definitely even harder being so far away from everyone important to me. But I knew that was a risk going into it and that I would be able to get through whatever came my way. I just didn’t realize that there would be more obstacles on the way to the top than I could’ve ever imagined. The important thing is that the lows from year one taught me a lot and helped prepare me for what’s ahead.

 

There were also plenty of great times and great moments during my first season that certainly will be remembered forever. My team won both the league and the national final, and although I missed out on the final through injury, I still know I was a big part of the team. I also have some great teammates who have become good friends. It was positives like these that kept me looking forward to the future and excited to keep going. Overall, my first season really taught me a lot and gave me great experiences to carry on with me.

 

Once the first year was over, I was definitely looking forward to getting home for the summer to see all my friends and family. And I had a great summer. I worked extremely hard rehabbing my ankle in order to be fit for preseason, but I was also able to relax and to catch up with a lot of people.

 

Now, I am back in Sheffield, at the beginning of my second season, and it already has a completely different feel to it. I started last season just wanting to get settled in and make a good impression on everyone that I could. This season I’ve set big goals for myself and I know it is going to take a lot for me to reach them. It’s time for me to break out and to gain more recognition. I know what I am capable of and I now need to show that to more people.

 

It’s the second week of the season and things are going well. I’m finally healthy, feeling good, and I enjoyed a great preseason. I spent a majority of preseason with the first team, including a weeklong trip to Portugal which was the first the first goal I had set for myself. The trip was fantastic and I proved that I fit in with that group and could play at that level. Now, I have to keep working hard until I’ve reached the rest of my goals. I’m ready to face this season head on and I know that there are big things ahead for me.

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