Ally Francisco embraced her tragic injury as a positive, life-changing experience


On February 2, 2017, junior Ally Francisco’s life changed immensely.

When she stepped onto the soccer field that day, she had no idea what was about to happen.

“I was at ODP during my freshman year,” Ally said, “and I was running down the line, about to turn, when the girl defending me kicked me in the knee. It popped really loud and went the opposite way of my foot; I knew something really bad had happened.”

For someone who has been an athlete since the young age of three, Ally’s torn ACL was bound to be an initially heartbreaking, but an overall life-changing experience.

Ally has been focused on the same thing for over ten years: soccer. Every day for her was put towards becoming a better soccer player, an exceptional athlete; however, with a torn ACL, her goal was halted as the long recovery process hindered her.

“Honestly, considering I have been a committed soccer player for the majority of my life, the injury was definitely life-changing,” Ally said. “I went from doing something all of the time to not being able to do it at all.”

Although, being forced away from soccer turned out to be better than Ally had anticipated. All of her time centered around soccer was now an opportunity for her to do other things.

“With my injury keeping me away from soccer, I was able to take time for other things, especially my family,” Ally said. “I went from having the mindset of soccer and then everything else to now my family, school, friends, and then soccer; I realized that [soccer] wasn’t everything.”

There were even upsides to the initially dreaded recovery process.

“After I tore my ACL,” Ally said, “I had to go to rehab/physical therapy five days a week. But around working to help my leg heal, I was able to do a lot of volunteering through my mom’s hospital that she worked at, get a lot closer to my family, and I even went to Puerto Rico right after I got off my crutches.”

Ally was allotted new free time to begin experiencing things she hadn’t ever really had the time to encounter.

Another factor that contributed to her recovery was the supportive people around her. She had people there when she needed them most.

“One of the things that really helped me through the whole process was my amazing support system,” Ally said. “There were people there for me every step of the way, helping me get through it all.”

Ally was able to remain a strong fighter throughout a life-altering hardship, and she ended up coming out with the same long-lasting love for soccer. All that changed was her new, adjusted outlook on the sport’s impact on her life.

“Obviously, soccer is still a super important part of my life,” Ally said. “I wouldn’t be the same person without soccer. Just now, I realize that everything I do doesn’t need to be focused or centered around this one thing.”

After her long battle to recovery, Ally was finally able to make it back on the field.

Many people would come back out and play with fear, but that’s just not who Ally is. She plays each second of the game her hardest, and she wasn’t going to let being afraid of a torn ACL stop her from doing exactly that.

“I don’t even really feel a difference anymore,” Ally said. “Most people get so wrapped up in getting scared to play again, but I was just dying to get back on the field; I wasn’t and I’m not afraid when I play. When I’m on the field, all I care about is the game.”

In fact, Ally isn’t even left with regret about what happened to her; she knows the mark that the event left on her, and she heartily embraces it.

I realize that everything I do doesn’t need to be focused or centered around this one thing.”

— Ally Francisco

“I wouldn’t change what happened,” Ally said. “At first, I was super mad about the injury, but I came out of it stronger and with a lot of new realizations. Obviously, I’m always going to be scared of tearing [my ACL] again, but I don’t regret the experience I was forced to encounter.”

Through the most impactful shift in her life, Ally was able to stand above all of the negative things and come out a stronger person. Her eyes were opened to the fact that there is more to life than just one sport.

Ally is now back on the field, continuing to play her best through each game, proving she is better than the injury that halted her journey with soccer.

“If I had to take one thing away from my experience, it would be to just never give up,” Ally said. “Always stay hopeful, even when everything seems to be going down.”