CARSON, Calif. – The Galaxy’s Adam Cristman recently returned from a memorable visit to his old high school in Richmond, Va. It not only was a chance to catch up with friends and associates at Godwin High but an opportunity to help deliver an important message.
Cristman was asked to take part in an anti-bullying initiative in Henrico County (Va.) that has been inspired by the 2009 documentary “Race to Nowhere,” which contains stories of various youths as they struggle to adjust to society and educators who question if they are properly shaping those skills.
Cristman certainly has done well after graduating from Godwin High 10 years ago – he is in his second season with the Galaxy and is well into a professional soccer career that began in 2007 with the New England Revolution -- and he was more than happy to offer his experiences to a group of students, teachers and parents that numbered in the hundreds.
Cristman’s message was three-fold. First, to achieve success you must maintain balance. Success also is about building character and skills that will help you in life. Second, don’t be afraid to try new things. Third, always point toward dreams and goals. If you get an idea and think you want to do something, he said, there’s nothing that can stop you.
The overall theme of his speech, he added, was nothing is impossible.
“The basic point I tried to convey was I can do anything,” he said.
“That’s one thing I try to say to myself and help me tackle anything ahead of me.”
Cristman also is featured in a recent book entitled “A Better Man: True American Heroes Speak to Young Men on Love, Power, Pride and What It Really Means to be a Man” by Kelly Johnson (Brandylane Publishers, Inc.). Among the other notable entries are those from the Boston Celtics’ Ray Allen, former prisoner of war Paul Galanti, military personnel, administrators, politicians and other athletes. The book’s foreword was written by former president George H.W. Bush.
“These guys are real heroes with true life experiences, something to learn from kind of guys. Then she wanted to put me in there with my 10 years post high school experience,” Cristman said with a laugh.
Cristman said he is well aware of what he has at his disposal to make his point.
“I might not have the life experiences they have, but I certainly have the mentality and certain ideas that helped get me to where I am,” he said. “It’s an amazing lifestyle to be a professional soccer player, but at the same time it gives you a great platform and position where you can influence people for the better.
“A lot of young people, young soccer players see the glitz and the glamour. That might be part of it but there’s a balance to it as well, and I want people to understand that. If you want to aspire to do this there’s more to it.”
Cristman said it has been especially rewarding getting a chance to try and help mold the lives of others.
“I’ve always wanted to be encouraging,” he said. “We get to do a lot of youth soccer camps in connection with young children, and it’s great to be able to influence them.
“A lot of young people look up to soccer players and pro athletes, and it’s important to be a good role model and be conscious about it.”