Building Each Other Up Series: Johanna Thevakumar

Building Each Other Up Series: Johanna Thevakumar

September 01, 2020

In the second week of our Building Each Other Up Series, we are celebrating Soccer Without Borders (SWB) participant and coach, Johanna. SWB uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change throughout the US and around the world. 

Johanna Thevakumar, 18

What is your earliest memory of soccer?

I remember when I was like 9 years old and my dad took me and my siblings to the park for the first time and he was kicking the ball and I did not know how to kick it or do anything with it so my dad kicked the ball up high and it hit my chest. I was knocked out, I couldn't even breathe and they had to take me to the hospital. Ever since that, until coming to America, I hated soccer. But ever since I joined Soccer Without Borders (SWB), I fell in love with soccer. It's like my number one happiest and favorite thing to do.


What is your current role in soccer (teammate, coach, or both)? How do you position yourself in that role to be a role model for those in your community?

I am an assistant coach. I am looking forward to coaching and seeing the things that I can do to set an example for my community.


Who/what is your greatest inspiration? 

My mom is my greatest inspiration. She helped me a lot when I was struggling throughout high school. And my coaches helped me as well. In the past, I went through a roller coaster ride kind of a thing in high school but my mom and my coaches were able to pull everything together and walked me through it.

What is something about yourself that you’re proud of, and that you use as a way to set a positive example for others? (i.e. what is your superpower?)

I am proud of myself for finishing high school and not giving up. My superpower is my voice (very loud). I love to talk to people. I like to make connections with everyone.


Can you tell me about a time that you’ve used that superpower/quality to build up and inspire the girls around you, on or off the field?

When I was in high school, I always used my voice in practices and games. I was always guiding and helped all my teammates and others who were around me.


Tell me about a teammate that has helped strengthen you to the person you are today. Are they older or younger than you? What is it about them that inspires you?

Honestly, there's not one specific person on my team that helped strengthen me. I learned a lot from all of my teammates. I like to listen to what they have to say about me, whether about my behavior or something I need to improve on or something that I am good at. I learn a lot from all of my teammates.


What is your best piece of advice for girls of any age?

Don't give up fast. Giving up fast might seem easy but pushing your way out and not giving up will make you a better person.

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