Soccer has always been a major part of my life. I used to kick around a ball on the terrace in our apartment in Japan with my dad and our dog. As I grew older, soccer helped me bond with friends in Japan as we played for hours past dusk at parks on dusty fields. It was a sport that could breach cultural and language barriers. When I moved to the U.S., the kids whom I initially befriended were those who would kick a ball around with me during recess.