Cara - NY Sport
Cara Johnson

Cara Johnson: Football Coach, Leeds Trinity University

My passion now doesn’t come from scoring goals but from inspiring young girls to play football just like the women before me did for me.

“I found my passion when I was just six years old for football (where I am from soccer). I remember pulling on my oversized Chelsea shirt and running up and down as if I was just granted my own personal superpower. Football came natural to me and I was able to run circles around the rest of the kids with the ball stuck to my feet like glue. Here I am 18 years later not only playing, but giving back to the game I love.

Many people say it is just a sport, but for me it was and still is much more than that. I was raised by football and it is where I developed and experienced life. My personal football journey has shaped who I am today and has instilled many of my characteristics, determination and persistence, which has regularly been identified by my family, peers, professors and coaches.

At the age of 17 I suffered my first of many injuries playing football. I tore my anterior crucial ligament in my left knee. After seven months of hard work and physical therapy, I not only returned to my sport but also continued my playing career while attending college. I returned to playing football stronger than ever living my childhood dream of being the starting striker and leading my team in goals while playing for a university.

Then it happened again; my second injury, the same injury but in my right knee. I had nine months of hard painful physical therapy ahead of me. I refused to give up though. I knew I had the drive and skill set to make a difference in women’s football. The day that I determine I was going to change women’s football forever, is the day I decided nothing can stand in my way. This fight has instilled in me ever since I was a little girl and I knew that no matter what football was going to be in my life forever.

I know think about what has led up to this point in my life and how I got there. I have come to realize that much of my inspiration came from role models from the USA National Soccer team, players like, Kristen Lilly, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain, Briana Scurry, Michelle Akers and of course Mia Hamm.

My passion now doesn’t come from scoring goals but from inspiring young girls to play football just like the women before me did for me. The York City Football Club Foundation and North Yorkshire Sport has enabled me to get my Level 1 and 2 coaching in football badges and the opportunity to gain experience promoting and coaching girl’s football. My mentor Julie Tate and Foundation Manager, Paula Stainton have been instrumental to me and my new passion. Each and every day I am out coaching I learn something new and am able to reflect with Julie. She gives me guidance and the confidence needed as a coach. Paula has believed in me from day one and has allowed me to gain experience with marketing and promoting girls’ football.”

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Thank you to North Yorkshire Sport for allowing us to use this case study.