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Bethany Balcer brings her best to mental health advocacy

‘I’m always gonna have really hard moments. I’m always gonna have really low lows … now I know, kind of, how to pick myself back up’

Bethany Balcer celebrates afters coring a goal
Photo Copyright Stephen Brashear for USA TODAY Sports

Bethany Balcer first realized how her mental health affected her athletic performance when she was in college. Now one of the longest tenured Seattle Reign FC players, the forward pinpoints her realization to one moment after a big victory over a ranked team. Despite performing well, Balcer sat on the field after that game in tears.

“I felt so emotionally weighed down, but I felt like I didn’t have the language for it,” Balcer told The Equalizer. “I didn’t know what was going on. But that’s kind of when I realized that the two tied together because I had so much going on outside of soccer that was affecting me mentally.”

Balcer’s understanding of mental health has since expanded tremendously. And now, she is adding a new dimension to her mental health advocacy with the creation of her brand ‘BB8 Bring Your Best,’ which officially launched in March.

The nickname BB8 originates with fans who combined her initials and jersey number, but the full slogan is Balcer’s. It is her signature statement that reminds her why she chooses to speak openly about mental health struggles.

The phrase ‘Bring Your Best’ is meant to remind people of the idea that “showing up is enough, whether you’re at 100% or you’re not,” Balcer explained.

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