For Goodwin Brown, life revolved around the sport of soccer.
Brown was a member of the Governors soccer program for two years, playing in nine games as a freshman and starting the first two contests of her sophomore season. Five concussions during the midfielder’s playing career eventually medically disqualified her from playing at APSU, but she has since found a passion elsewhere.
After receiving her fifth concussion during a 2019 Northwest Premier League game with Seattle Stars FC, Brown expected business as usual when returning to Clarksville the following fall.
“I think that since I had so many, I was like ‘Okay, I’ll just recover from this, no big deal, I’ve done this before,'” Brown said. “But when I came back and hearing that there was no coming back from that one, that was the worst news and that’s when everything kind of hit me. I had a really hard time dealing with that news.
“I didn’t even know how to take it. It was kind of like someone cut off my right arm. Soccer was ingrained in me. It was every aspect of where I got my relationships, where I kind of got my confidence, my drive, my purpose. So many things ride in my sport and when it was taken away, I didn’t really even know what to call myself…I kind of had an identity crisis at the age of 20. All my structure was gone. It emotionally wrecked me. I definitely struggled a lot with depression at the time, just because I was creating a new life for myself.”
The defender’s loss of structure and identity eventually resulted in the decision of obtaining a holistic health license. Now, the former soccer player manages her own self-love coaching business.
Brown’s former leadership tendencies and experience on the field initially led the coach to target retired athletes, but have since helped her as she attempts to train driven women to find their worth internally.
“In soccer I always liked being in more of a leadership role,” She said. “I always liked being the person that would be able to help out my teammates or just helping people, honestly. For me to step into this role of being someone’s coach and helping them lead a healthier life and stepping into their own power of self-love: doing health coaching overall has helped me to live out my dream job. I found a way to take my passion and make it my job. I love helping people and that’s what health coaching has been.
“I find that a lot of women, and just people, we put so much self-worth into external factors. For me, so much of my self-worth was placed in soccer. The women who I coach place their worth in these external factors, whatever that activity or person may be. I can relate to them in that they have found validation in external things, but I’m helping them find that validation internally. It’s just kind of breaking it down to the base level. A lot of us deal with the same stuff it’s just finding the core root of it, whether that be soccer, basketball, or a relationship that they feel they’re not in or a career.”
Concussions in and around the sport have altered Brown’s entire life but soccer still has a place in the defender’s life. Although she misses being on the field, the former Governor is grateful to be living out her dreams on and off the pitch.
“This is definitely my long-term career, but soccer has a massive place in my heart. I have always enjoyed coaching youth teams and being a part of that world. Definitely as a side hobby thing, being involved with the soccer community. I don’t know if I will play in an adult league or a rec league again, but I always love kicking the ball around and juggling on my own time. Soccer is definitely not going away, it’s just more of a side thing.”