What began as a nightmarish ending to a college soccer career, turned into a dream career for Lauren Abarca.
A fourth concussion knocked the then junior at Point Loma Nazarene into a state of depression, filled with sleep deprivation, poor eating habits and a series of migraine headaches. Shortly after returning to the soccer pitch, Abarca received her fifth concussion, meaning her playing days were over and that her senior season would be relegated to the sidelines.
But Abarca kept an altruistic attitude. While exalting her team, lifting their spirits and play, Abarca discovered her true gift: Helping others reach their potential. She was saddened yes, that her aspirations of playing overseas were squashed. But the driven, yet empathetic native of Orange County had found her new path.
She now trains elite professional athletes, working as a Mental Performance Coordinator for one of the world's most famous and successful sports franchises, the New York Yankees.
Abarca made a steep climb up the ranks, holding roughly the same job Sacramento State, Walbeck Baseball Academy and Tahoe Training Center, among others, before landing with the Yankees.
"My last year in soccer I didn't even play, but it was the most fulfilling year I had in the sport," she said. "It was built around relationships and led me into classes and education and ultimately my career."
Abarca shares important life tips for young and aspiring female athletes with Nikki Bondura — aka Nikki B — in the 23rd edition of the "Play Like a Girl" podcast, powered by MaxPreps.
Deep breathing, staying present and paying attention to one's thoughts are key tools Abarca shares, along with other insights and life lessons. Among her mantras: "Learn from everyone, but follow no one," and "You don't have to be sick to get better."
It's all the lessons and more that Nikki B has been projecting for the last 22 episodes.
Bondura, the upbeat former collegiate athlete from Northern California, is building confidence in females who play sports by offering vital life
skills and advice in order to enhance their athletic careers, and
overall lives. Her guests are uplifting and in many cases, inspirational.
In her weekly podcasts, Nikki B brings in
expert guests to discuss a plethora of topics, ranging from and dealing
with teammate drama to peer pressure to social media to relationships
to inappropriate coaches.
winner on the Golf Channel's "Shotmakers," Nikki B is a former captain of the
Sacramento State golf team. She is a leader in the fields of blogging, social media, marketing, networking and branding.
Subscribe to the Play Like A Girl [PLAG] Channel HERE: https://bit.ly/2KAChSo
Follow PLAG on Instagram HERE: https://bit.ly/2MwdHDW
Follow PLAG on Twitter HERE: https://bit.ly/2vL4ccI
Like PLAG on Facebook HERE: https://bit.ly/2OomNDm
Subscribe to PLAG on iTunes HERE: https://apple.co/2Buzue6
Follow PLAG on Spotify HERE: https://spoti.fi/2whP1bt
Subscribe to PLAG on Google Play HERE: http://bit.ly/PLAGGoogle