“My dad was a soccer player and taught me everything I needed to know.”
Cindy-Leigh Meyer, soccer star and then business woman, was driven to not be like the rest of the crowd: she had a deep desire to be different and to make a difference. But she feared that the future may not lead to success.
“I was fearful that I would be pressurised to do things I didn’t want to do.”
It was the words of her mother that changed her outlook on high school and life. Her mother said, “Cindy why allow someone to influence you, why don’t you just influence them?”
She stepped into high school with a new mind set not to lower her standards but to start a revolution and raise the standards in her high school.
She had older girls looking up to her and this gave her the power to either influence them in the right direction or to be a bad influence. Cindy admits that there were still parts of her personality that attracted the bad crowd.
In September 2003 Cindy learned a lesson that she was not expecting.
“A girl in my class had died because of a failed heart transplant operation. I remember bursting out in tears. I didn’t realise someone my age could die. At the age of 13, you feel invincible.”
It was at her funeral that Cindy made a decision to become a follower of Jesus. From then her faith in God supported her through difficulty and played a vital role in her life.
She went on to study sports sciences and got accepted at the University of the Western Cape.
She was asked to join the university soccer team. It was there that she got offered a scholarship from the manager and joined the athletic team, and then received another scholarship.
“This was a blessing as my dad came home with less than R100 in his salary because of deductions.”
Despite her success she had trials thrown at her. She had injured her ankle and because of that did not make the trials for the South African teams in 2009, but her faith in God sustained her.
She recovered, and in 2010 she was called to go to trial for the South African team. She made the team and she won the gold metal representing South Africa. She was approached to play in Pretoria for TUKS.
But yet again, her health took a knock.
“I remember lying in bed, crying because I felt like I was going to die.”
Her mother prayed for her and then told her to go play outside because “healed people don’t stay in bed.”
She then won the tournament in Botswana and was on her way to Pretoria.
Cindy continued to thrive, making the trials for the World Student Games. She then went to play in China, which came with its own challenges. She had been sick once again, but trusted that her belief in God would pull her through.
In 2011 she was scouted for the national team, Banyana Banyana – a major achievement. Competition became tough as all the girls on the team wanted to make it to the Olympic team and then – she injured her knee.
This injury cost her getting cut from the team, a few months later in 2012, and she felt hopeless and despairing. She knew being 22 she had few chances left as coaches were looking for girls much younger than her.
But things weren’t over yet. In 2012 she found herself playing a friendly game of soccer with a Canadian group. She played without trying to impress anyone, yet caught the eye of the coach who then asked her to join his soccer team in Canada.
“God came through at the last minute, when I was down and out,” she says.
It was a childhood dream that had come true for Cindy. However she discovered the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
“I thought I was going to be the star, but I was benched for a year because I came from another country.”
She started going to practise out of obligation and not love. She would put on a fake smile and go home wishing her teammates would lose. But then at a Bible training camp she realised that soccer had changed her and her values, and winning and losing had become too important to her.
Cindy then changed her heart and the way she saw life. She is now working at a financial institution and investments. She co-founded a company called, iGlobal Coach.
“We empower people how to communicate effectively and train them to be the best that they can be. My goal is to teach people how to be financially dependent.”
She remembers how her own family struggled with money and came to believe that lack of money was not the main problem – rather it was the lack of knowledge of how to handle money wisely.
Cindy is now studying, running her own business, and still plays soccer recreationally to keep fit. She says, “I know that if it had not been for God and His faithfulness towards me, I would not have made it this far.”