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An Athlete's Transition To The "Real" World

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Danielle Slaton (@DanielleVSlaton) is a Positive Coaching Alliance Trainer (workshop leader), who played soccer for the U.S. Women's National Team from 2000-2005, earning a silver medal in the Olympics and a bronze in the Women's World Cup. She played professionally in the WUSA, where she won a championship and was the league defender of the year in 2002. She also played professionally in France, and earlier captained her Santa Clara University team to the 2001 NCAA title. There, she was a three-time All-America and she was named the 2001 NCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year.

After her playing career, Danielle coached at Northwestern University and earned her Master's Degree in Sports Administration. She now serves as a soccer analyst for the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports, as well as director of Santa Clara University's Jerry Smith's Coaching For Life Academy.

The dedication it takes to reach the top can shape an athlete's perception of his or her own identity, but the accomplishment of which Danielle is most proud is her ability to "learn how to not be a soccer player anymore." She had to do that when an injury ended her playing career, but youth athletes may face the same challenge, for example, if they are cut from a team or just begin gravitating toward other interests. Although sports can provide many tools for adapting in other aspects of life, a key lesson Danielle shares from her experience is to ask for help when you need it.