Attitude of Gratitude

When you hear the word, “Gratitude”, what does that make you think of? Being grateful for a goal you scored? For sure. Being thankful for an opportunity to play? Of course. It is important to have gratitude when good things happen for you.

But what about having gratitude in situations that, initially, don’t seem to be that good? Like, maybe you’re not the star player or maybe you aren’t winning or scoring as much as you’d like. Heck, maybe you’re not even playing!

Can you still be grateful? Can you still have an attitude of gratitude?

Over the past 21 years of playing the game of soccer, I’ve learned how crucial it is to ‘trust the process’ through the good and the bad. How important it is to maintain a grateful and hopeful spirit, especially when life isn’t meeting your expectations.

Here’s a personal story to illustrate this.

The year 2020 was obviously an unusual time for everyone, regardless of what profession you worked in or where you lived. And the world of Major League Soccer was no different. We had preseason, played two games, and then the season was suddenly halted due to COVID.

This was the first curveball.

At the time, I was playing with the Chicago Fire. I started those first two games of the season (and most games throughout the previous two years). After the longer than expected delay in play due to COVID, we resumed our season in July. When we had our first game, I was surprised and confused that I wasn’t in the starting lineup anymore. But I kept my head down, worked hard, and expected to retake my spot in the starting lineup soon. But almost three months went by, and I still hadn’t regained my spot.

Another curveball.

I was used sparingly as a substitute for eight or so games, but I pushed and battled every day, focusing on controlling what I could control. I was determined to get back in the lineup! And finally, come October I get back into the starting lineup. “This is it. This is my break,” I thought to myself. All my hard work was finally paying off. During this start, about 30 minutes in, I block a hard shot off my toe. It stung and I began to limp. But I didn’t think much of it. As a pro athlete, I know how to play through pain and discomfort, and I finished the game. Unfortunately, in a losing effort.

The next day at practice, I felt some discomfort in my knee. I informed the trainers. Received an MRI. And the results showed that I sprained my MCL. I couldn’t believe it! After finally working my way back into the starting lineup, to receive this news was not pleasant by any means. I wanted to be upset. But, deep down, I knew there was purpose in my pain.

The injury put me out for another 4 weeks. And because we didn’t make the playoffs, that meant the end of my season. We each individually had our year end meetings with the staff.         They informed me that they wanted to go a different direction, meaning that my time in Chicago, where I was drafted and spent four great years, was over… at least for now!

Another curveball.

I still believed in myself, my dream, and that great days lay ahead for me! I trusted that something even better would come of this. It was time for me to find a new club. I called my agent and informed him that Charlotte FC is where I wanted to go and play. Countless phone calls were made to my agent. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, or where I would end up.

But thank God, we were finally able to get a deal done with Charlotte FC! It was truly a dream come true knowing that I would be headed ‘home,’ back to North Carolina where my family and many close friends lived. I was so happy & really couldn’t control my excitement at the time but had to wait to tell everyone until it was announced publicly. I even remember telling my agent that I really wanted to be in Charlotte after hearing they were getting a franchise in December 2019. I didn’t know how or when it would happen, but I just knew that’s where I was meant to be. Now there’s still a lot of work I need to do and a lot I want to accomplish, but this was definitely one of the major goals I had for myself and I’m so looking forward to 2022.

I hope I was able to illustrate just how important it is to maintain an attitude of gratitude through the good and the bad. Life will test you to see how much you really want something. Understand and accept this! Know that when you don’t get what you thought you wanted, that you’re being prepared and strengthened for something much greater!

Never stop believing in yourself! And have an attitude of gratitude in every circumstance, trusting that there’s a great plan and purpose for your life, regardless of whether you can see it or not!

Who said dreams don’t come true? I’m living proof that they do!

“Optimize your mind for your grind!”

Brandt Bronico
Charlotte FC, #13


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