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The pressure to perform in the athletic space is often one that goes undiscussed. In this space, it is.

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Hi! I'm Ari! 

Whether you are a young adult seeking support for yourself or a caregiver seeking support for a child,
I am so happy and grateful that you're here. 

I earned a Master of Social Work degree from Columbia University in 2017 and a Master of Science in Sports Psychology from Pennsylvania Western University in 2023 and I am also a Registered Play Therapist. In addition to those fancy credentials, I am also a dog mom, marathon runner, adventure-er, and lover of sports. To best understand where my passion for working with youth and young adult athletes comes from, I'd like to share a bit about my soccer journey with you. 

My Story

I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California, and growing up, soccer was my biggest source of connection, release, and fun! I joyfully spent my weekends on the fields of AYSO Region 58 soccer park, watching both friends and strangers play in the sunshine. At nine years old, I set the ambitious goal of playing soccer for UCLA, and little did my young, optimistic self know that this goal would teach me critical lessons in patience and what it means to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks. Fast forward from nine-year-old Ari dreaming of playing soccer at UCLA, to 18-year-old Ari, an admitted freshman to UCLA, still dreaming of playing soccer there. After many unanswered emails to coaches, one year of tryouts, another year of serving as team manager, and countless mornings filled with questions and self-doubt, I became the first walk-on in UCLA Women’s Soccer history. As a senior, we also won UCLA Women's Soccer's first National Championship. #110. 

The biggest lesson I learned throughout the process of trying out for one of the top soccer programs in the country, is that just because something is challenging, doesn’t mean it is impossible. Perhaps you don’t get where you want to be as fast as you had hoped, or via the route that you’d anticipated, and sometimes the path isn’t as clear-cut as we hope. However, just because you don’t get there when, where, or how you’d imagined doesn’t mean that your dreams are out of reach. It is with this in mind that I have pursued a dual graduate school education in mental health and sports psychology so that I could use both my athletic experience and educational knowledge to create more opportunities for youth and young adults who have big athletic dreams. The pressure to perform and perform with consistency in the athletic space is often one that goes undiscussed. Pressure was something that weighed so heavily on me during my time at UCLA, and I lacked the tools and confidence to re-frame my thinking and engage in healthy coping. My hope as a therapist is that I can be a support to young athletes as they navigate the joys and challenges of their sport. 

For those interested in learning more about my soccer experience, you are welcome to check out my book, Don't Believe It's Over: From Team Manager to First UCLA Women's Soccer Walk-On to National Champion. This memoir details my full experience walking on to the UCLA women's soccer team!  Click here to be taken to the Amazon storefront! 


 

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