Megan Clayton channelled patience in her struggles to later encounter success in her comeback

On a Wednesday night in the spring of 2018, the girls’ varsity soccer team was preparing to compete against Forest Hills Northern for their second time that season. Having sprained her ankle two days prior, junior Megan Clayton was prepared to cheer her team on from the sidelines; however, she eventually decided to suit up for the huge game. 

That sole decision completely altered the course of Megan’s next seven months.  

“It was about fifteen minutes into the game, and I went in for a tackle,” Megan said. “I collided with another girl and bent my knee the wrong way.” 

Shortly after, Megan was told that her ACL was completely ruptured, and there was a partial tear in her MCL. Disappointment flooded Megan’s emotions once she realized the surgery and the recovery time that her injuries entailed. 

“I was out for seven months,” Megan said. “That’s actually pretty fast because usually it’s nine months.” 

Although Megan had the option to let her unfortunate injury end her soccer career, she didn’t take it. Even though it was a break from soccer that Megan did not necessarily choose, she learned a fair amount of things about herself throughout the process of her recovery. 

“It helped me learn that soccer is not my whole life,” Megan said. “There are always things in my life that can be fun and make me feel like I have a purpose.” 

Megan’s recovery time was shorter than most; her doctors credited the enhanced pace of her recovery to her outstanding strength and determination. 

“I had to make sure to never get discouraged when I hit a slump or a set back in my recovery,” Megan said. “And, I trusted that all the people who helped me get better knew how to do it in the best way possible. I also trusted myself that my knee was fully recovered, and I had full confidence in myself when I returned.” 

Megan was finally able to return to the sport she had been playing since she was a preschooler in January of 2019 for an indoor game with the varsity girls’ soccer team. Having put so much mental and physical work into her comeback, Megan was inexplicably delighted to play soccer once again. 

Soccer makes me a better person every day, on and off of the field. ”

— Megan Clayton

Leading up to her comeback, Megan was able to reflect upon how her views of soccer had changed throughout her entire life. Soccer was initially a sport Megan simply enjoyed participating in; however, as Megan grew in age, her enjoyment grew into an undeniable passion for the sport. 

“I see more details in the tactics of the game than when I was young,” Megan said. “I see the differences in players and how those differences can change a game at any given time. I also see how the sport itself can affect a person’s life overall.” 

Accompanying Megan’s passion for soccer is also an appreciation for the sport. Megan is a member of both a club soccer team and the girls’ varsity team; therefore, she is participating in soccer year-round, essentially. Some would lose their appreciation for their sport without time separated from it, but Megan only thrives from being constantly consumed with soccer practices, games, and tournaments. 

“I play because I have fun, ”Megan said. “I appreciate the mental escape it gives me from all my other stressful activities that happen on any given day, and it keeps me physically in shape. I appreciate all of the friends and opportunities the sport has provided me throughout my life, and I appreciate the fact that soccer has made me a strong, determined, and independent person.” 

Megan has experienced many highs and lows with both school soccer and club soccer; yet, she unarguably looks forward to each season as one ends and the other’s commencement is on the horizon. Besides basically molding her into the person she is today, soccer has also encouraged the development of many of Megan’s personal values. 

Soccer has encouraged Megan to value teamwork, commitment, and friendship, and it has provided her with techniques to step out of her comfort zone and deal with frustration. Yes, soccer has provided Megan with both pain and reward, but her love for the sport and her unmatched determination have only blossomed as her years of experience have increased.

“Soccer makes me a better person every day, on and off of the field,” Megan said.