GREAT FALLS — Dylan Gillaspie is an extremely talented soccer player. He has played in several different countries on elite teams but had been dealing with mental health concerns for years. After consulting with therapists and doctors Dylan was diagnosed with Autism, but he wasn’t really surprised. “I’ve always been a little different. I’ve never fit into the social norms” he remembers.
While some people may see this as a drawback or a reason for thing not working out, Dylan has instead decided to see it as a gift. After his diagnosis he realized that it may just be his superpower in the sport, “I can do the same thing over and over and over again for 4 hours and it doesn’t get old. That’s why I’ve been able to do so well.”
Competing all over the world, Dylan was set to go pro, but decided that it was just too much to deal with. He had been push too hard for too long. After recovering from training burnout he has found a new purpose in teaching kids about soccer. Dylan has a goal to make soccer more accessible for kids in Montana and he believes that his autism diagnosis may be the thing that helps him accomplish this. Using his unique ability to focus on performance, he has began to create Jogo Bonita which means Play Beautifully” in Portuguese. This new organization aims to make soccer free for kids in the area and give proper structured coaching as well as support to underserved communities.
You can find more about his organization at their Facebook page.