This article is written by Erin Curtin (@ecurtin50) for the inaugural American Soccer United Women’s Soccer Month #WoSoMonth.
Arin Gilliland is a name many soccer fanatics are not familiar with. Going into her third season with the Chicago Red Stars, the 24-year-old also was on loan in Newcastle, Australia, playing with the Newcastle Jets in the W-League. She also appeared on the October camp roster with the U.S Women’s National Team as well as the U-20 and U-23 National Teams from 2011-2014 and played collegiately at the University of Kentucky.
These many accomplishments are just part of Arin’s journey. As almost all professional athletes have endured, Arin found herself having to face one of life’s biggest obstacles. During her freshman year at the University of Kentucky, Arin lost her mom after a long battle with colon cancer. Then, months before her mom’s passing, Arin also suffered a torn ACL. As you could imagine, losing her mom was not easy, especially in the terms of continuing to play the game she loved.
“It hurts a lot, but you take it day for day. You’ve got to roll the dice and hope everything works out good,” Arin told ESPNW in an interview.
Arin’s moving story continues to inspire players and fans every day. In 2014, Gilliland was awarded the Honda Inspiration Award, a national award given to Inspirational players who have been affected by personal obstacles.
Over the past years of her career, Arin has grown to be a leader in the NWSL. Her story hits home for many fans and players whose lives have also been affected by cancer. Arin continues to be an inspiration to people involved with the women’s soccer leagues and their fanbase.
Catch Arin and the rest of her teammates this upcoming season with the Chicago Red Stars.