Adversity is a part of the game.
Adam Grinwis here. For those who don’t know me, (probably most everyone reading this) I am a professional goalkeeper currently playing for Saint Louis FC in USL. I’m a proud ginger from Grand Rapids, MI, I played college ball at the University of Michigan, and contrary to popular belief, I do have a soul. Professionally, I have played with the Rochester Rhinos for two seasons before signing with Saint Louis FC this past offseason. In high school, I played for the Michigan Wolves, one of the best youth clubs in the country. In 4 years, I won 2 club national championships and played alongside many future professionals. I decided to attend the University of Michigan to continue my soccer career, and was fortunate to be a 4-year starter. I garnered All Big 10 honors, while helping my team to 2 NCAA tournament appearances. During the summers, I was also a 3-year starter for the Michigan Bucks in the PDL. I won the PDL championship in 2014 and was awarded Goalkeeper and Rookie of the Year accolades during my time. Also I was lucky enough to be on one of the best USL teams ever, winning the title in 2015 with the Rhinos. Not bad for my first season as a professional!
So, that’s me. Let’s back up though. You now know what I might put on my resume (except maybe the ‘ginger’ thing) but what you wouldn’t see on that resume are the struggles and obstacles I’ve faced to get to this point in my soccer career. My freshman year of college, I suffered two concussions in two months that ultimately forced me to take a redshirt year. Those bad boys could’ve definitely put a halt to my career early. Then my first year as a professional I fractured my wrist which eventually required surgery. Following a 4-month rehab process, I was cleared to play but during my second year, I re-fractured the same bone. Not to mention it was only 6 weeks after the surgeon cleared me to play! I played with it for a while, but a second surgery ultimately ensued which kept me out 4 more months. Let me also say that playing on a fractured wrist for my first two seasons as a pro was not fun. I feel its necessary to mention as well that I have lofty goals when it comes to my soccer-playing career. Even though I’m in my 3rd year as a pro and still plugging away in the 2nd division, this is not where I believe my career will end. I maintain that belief despite all of those set backs.
Any of these injuries could have easily ended my career early. No college soccer, no PDL awards, no professional soccer (USL or beyond), none of that. After each set back, I was forced to reassess my goals and reset my mind. I chose to take each obstacle head on and work through it. I surrounded myself with people who encouraged me. I reminded myself daily of what my ultimate goal is. I took care of the daily tasks that I knew would better me. It’s crazy but your mind starts to play tricks on you when you’re injured. I questioned if I would ever be able to play again, whether I was even good enough, and whether or not any team would even want me on their team. During those dark moments, I would force myself to look back on the successes I had in the past that led me to where I had gotten before each set back. Maintaining confidence in myself was huge. I had to become Adam Grinwis’s biggest fan. I don’t mean that in an arrogant or conceded way, but for the times when others doubted me and when my mind tried to derail my goals it was imperative to maintain faith in myself and my ability.
It’s been a wild road, and it has certainly not been easy, but I also wouldn’t trade it for the world. Through the ups and downs, I’ve learned so much about myself both on and off the pitch. It’s also helped motivate me even more than I thought possible. Every day is still a new challenge, whether I’m facing an injury or not. Maintaining focus on the large goals while also focusing closely on the daily habits is what makes it easier. Adversity is a part of the game. My journey is not uncommon, that’s for sure. Regardless, it’s helped me become a better player and even a better person. So that’s a slice of my life. The ginger keeper from West Michigan. My journey isn’t over, but to say its predictable would be the lie of the century. So for now, I promise you I’ll be working hard with the ultimate goal in mind… Ready to take on the next obstacle that comes my way!