San Diego Surf SC’s Logan Wells Plans to Inspire Recovering Athletes
Overcoming any injury takes extensive mental preparation and motivation from the athlete as well as their loved ones. The road can be long with unforeseen setbacks along the way. An inspiring role model — one who is also an athlete and can relate — can make the world of difference. The journey through recovery and the transition back to the pitch in top playing form is not easy.
San Diego Surf SC’s Logan Wells is recovering from her second experience being sidelined due to an injury and would like to help others who fall off the pitch due to an unfortunate injury as well.
Youth Soccer News: SoccerToday’s Diane Scavuzzo interviewed youth soccer standout Logan Wells on her journey back to the pitch and the inspiration after suffering two major knee injuries.
Here is this youth soccer player’s story:
Logan Wells of San Diego Surf has aspirations to give back to her youth soccer club by providing youth soccer players with guidance as they return back to the pitch following a major injury. She also wants to help injured soccer players all across America know she understands the bumpy road to recovery.
Wells is currently a left back on SD Surf SC’s ECNL U17 team and has been with the San Diego youth soccer club since her U9 season.
A strong athlete and a well respected soccer player, Wells is a passionate soccer player with dreams of playing at the highest level. Since June of 2015, Wells has suffered two ACL tears — one in each knee.
As she works on her return to the pitch, Wells has never allowed injuries to stifle her dream of playing college soccer. She recalls times when she questioned if anyone believed in her, and whether she could really make it back competing in the game she loves.
“I could tell when I talked about my #1 dream school – USC – no one really believed I could make it there,” said Wells. “But that never mattered to me.
“I realized that I wasn’t afraid of a no.”
Wells is committed to working hard in order prove that she has what it takes, irrespective of support. And she has strong family support. Despite being out during arguably the most important recruiting period, she continued to rehab, train, and communicate with all the schools she was interested in.
Two weeks ago, Wells verbally committed to play soccer at USC starting in 2018. That was her dream and she made it happen.
As she recovers back to top form, Wells now has aspirations to develop a mentorship program to inspire other youth soccer players that experience significant injuries — which may alter their career. She knows that an injury can sideline more than a soccer season, it can cast a player’s soccer dreams into oblivion.
Wells hopes to provide players with education for discussing their condition with college coaches during the recruiting process; when and how to mention it and what reactions to expect.
Wells notes that although she can’t help them to recover more quickly, she wishes to be there to inspire players to be their best and continue fighting to reach their dreams.
“Sometimes people just need to vent about their day, and that’s okay. But I want it to be available for people, and I want them to know there is a resource available that cares and is here for them,” said Wells.
“I find it most appropriate that USC’s best known slogan is “FIGHT ON” because that represents me through and through.”
SoccerToday spoke with Wells on the recovery process and her inspiration for helping others achieve their dreams no matter what obstacles come across their path.
Diane Scavuzzo: How old were you when you first started to kick the soccer ball?
Logan Wells: I was four years old when I first started playing soccer. I moved to San Diego from North Carolina and played in a co-ed indoor soccer league at North County Soccer Park.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did you join Surf SC and why?
Logan Wells: I joined Surf in 2008 after playing against Surf SC in a game while I was on the Chula Vista Rangers. My parents were really impressed with the coaching and wanted to take the next step. Before officially moving to Surf SC, I made a pros and cons list with my parents to help me make the decision.
I remember crying for a week because I didn’t want to leave my team at the Rangers, but I knew that it was the best decision to move to Surf SC.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you love most about soccer? What ignites your passion for the game?
Logan Wells: The thing I most love about soccer is the relationships I have made while playing the sport I love.
The shared drive of my team to reach success at the highest level really motivates me to play my best.
It’s awesome when we accomplish our common goals, because we all contribute different strengths as individuals but win and lose as a team. The togetherness of this team and the emotion we put into the game is what a lot of people do not understand. My team is my family and my passion for the game comes in part from them.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you like most about playing your position on the field?
Logan Wells: Being a left defender allows me to see the whole game, which helps me communicate to my team and be a good leader.
I love talking to my team and giving them good feedback when they do something well.
Diane Scavuzzo: What keeps you optimistic? How do you handle adversity?
Logan Wells: The drive to be my personal best and reach my goals helps me to stay optimistic and handle anything that comes my way. When I tore my left ACL in the summer of 2015, it was extremely challenging. I would go to all of my team’s practices and games, while also spending hours a week rehabbing in a gym. Even though it was a struggle and took a lot of time, effort and dedication, I stayed focused on my goal, which was to return to soccer at the highest level and play in college.
My teammates were also really supportive of me and helped me feel like I was still a part of the team even though I wasn’t playing.
Diane Scavuzzo: What went through your mind when you became injured the second time?
Logan Wells: I was playing in the last ECNL showcase game of the weekend — this was last November.
It was within the first five minutes, when my cleat got caught on a turn.
I knew immediately that I tore my right ACL because I heard it and then felt my knee, and unfortunately knew that horrible sound and feeling. All I could think about was how hard I had been working to get back to that moment on the field.
For it to happen to me again was the worst possible thing. I don’t usually cry, but I couldn’t stop crying as soon as it happened. I remember repeating to my mom “not another year” as we were driving away to the medical tent. I knew at that point that I would have to work even harder than the first time around with the same goal I had.
I was going to return to the sport I love and play in college.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you miss most about playing soccer with your team?
Logan Wells: I miss playing the sport I love. I have been playing soccer for 12 years, and even though I am still highly involved with my team, I am not able to play which is emotionally devastating. Watching everyone play soccer is tough.
All I want is to be out on the field contributing.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think would help other youth soccer players who are injured?
Logan Wells: I think youth soccer players could benefit from being able to have another player to talk to. Its great knowing that your coach and club will be there for you, but sometimes it’s more helpful when another player like you has been through a similar situation. And not everyone is as lucky to have coaches and a club that stands by them. One of the hardest things about coming back from an ACL or other injury is the mental aspect of the game.
Even though you’ve recovered physically, it’s really scary to step onto the field again knowing there’s a possibility that you could get hurt. As an athlete with a significant injury, the recruiting process only adds to the stress.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you think you are a role model?
Logan Wells: Role model is a strong word. I don’t necessarily see myself as a role model, but I want to inspire people to reach their dreams. If I can impact even one player then I’ve succeeded. I have never allowed my injuries to stifle my dream of playing college soccer.
Diane Scavuzzo: Where would you like to be in 5 years?
Logan Wells: I would like to be graduating with my bachelor’s in Human Performance at USC and hopefully be accepted into their Doctor of Physical Therapy program. I guess you can say that through my own experiences I have developed a passion to help other athletes recover from their injuries.
I would love to be a sports physical therapist.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are you dreams for the future?
Logan Wells: My biggest dream just came true when I verbally committed to USC on February 9th. The school is amazing and has the exact academic path I’ve been looking for. I will be playing for Keidane McAlpine, who has inspired me in so many ways. I respect him so much, not just as a coach but someone who saw the whole person in me, not just another athlete.
I truly feel that he and his assistant coaches really believe in me, and want to see me recover and succeed. USC has been my dream school, and to be able to reach my goal after two ACL tears is still amazing to me. I feel really proud.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who has inspired you the most?
Logan Wells: Many people, but Megan Rapinoe truly inspires me. She has battled back from three ACL tears and is still playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team. When she tore her ACL for the third time, she set a goal of playing in the Olympics eight months later and accomplished it because of her drive, hard work, and dedication to the game. When talking about her injuries, she was quoted saying, “I’m not freakin’ dying, I don’t have cancer, my career’s not over…Honestly, it could be tremendously worse.”
Rapinoe has definitely inspired me and made me put my ACL injury into perspective.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who is your coach and how have they helped you with feeling connected since your injury?
Logan Wells: Louis Hunt is my current coach. This is his first season at Surf, and he came to our team just as I was returning to full contact from my first ACL tear. I think he has really made an effort to help me return to the game. During Fall ECNL season, he gave me a lot of constructive feedback that helped me to improve my game and feel more confident. It’s been tough since my second tear because we’ve been on break for the high school soccer season.
My former coach, Pauly Dolinsky, has definitely been the person who I rely on for the emotional coaching and support. He has known me and watched me play since I was 8 years old. He has seen my highest successes and lowest lows. Pauly was the first person I called when I committed to USC. I know he’ll always be there for me, and I’m sure he’ll also play a huge part in this recovery.