Soccer players, or football players if you’re reading this over in Europe, tend to be put on a pedestal more often than not. Fans get this idea in their heads that they’re untouchable figures that can’t be affected by anything, with the main source of logic behind that being the wealth they accumulate. Of course, money is nice and all, but the saying goes that it doesn’t buy you happiness – and that saying is correct.
There have been so many stories over the last few years about athletes who, through no fault of their own, have fallen into a state of depression. It can quite literally happen to any one of us, and because of how terrifying that seems, a lot of people refuse to believe it.
Well, now is the time to pull your heads out of the sand, folks.
As announced by MLS Soccer, the league has entered into a three-year partnership with Headspace. For those of you who don’t know, Headspace is a world leading mindfulness and meditation app (which is free), that is used to help people battle their way through the struggles of everyday life. It provides you with techniques and methods with which you can use to try and deal with any issues you may be having, and in short, it’s absolutely fantastic.
In terms of the specifics of the deal, Headspace are going to provide subscriptions to all athletes, coaches and staff members, and will even conduct training sessions with them regarding how they can get the most out of their app.
To be perfectly honest with you, we don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this could be revolutionary. For years now men have felt like they can’t come out and express their true emotions or feelings, which is one of the primary reasons why we’ve seen the numbers for male suicides shoot up.
Sure, the benefits attached to this partnership may focus solely on how it helps them on the pitch, but mindfulness can be about so much more than that.
It’s time to create change
Just take a look at legendary American figure Landon Donovan as an example. The former USMNT star has spoken out in the past regarding his own personal struggles with depression, as seen in this Huffington Post piece, and has explained thoroughly why he believes mental health is such a big problem in athletes – especially these days.
There have been so many reports released on this subject over the course of the last few years, and for good reason. There just doesn’t seem to be enough of a focus on key topics such as these, and one of the reasons is probably because, like we said at the top, we like to think of these athletes as being invincible.
It’s great to have role models and it’s great to have somebody to look up to, but in the same vein, you also need to be able to applaud them for standing up and talking about any issues they may be having. That’s the sign of a true warrior, and that’s why we’re so heavily in favour of this project.