Usually, when a footballer decides to stop playing, it’s always because they have come to the end of their career or have undergone a bad injury spell. However, Josh Hope hung his boots because of the constant online abuse he had experienced on Instagram.
The Australian youngster decided to quit football at the age of 22 after shining in the under 17 and 20. Josh explained that online abuse had made him go through constant stress and anxiety in a lengthy Instagram caption. He explained that his decision was based on his mental health.
“Well, I never thought that I’d be typing this one, but here we are. The anxiety that comes with football is crazy. I never thought it would get to this point. I didn’t speak about it for a long time, but I started to see it creep into my daily life, and it made me dislike football.” Josh wrote on his Instagram.
“Critics come with all sports, but only the strongest survive. I was over just being treated as a football player. We are people too. It didn’t just stop after the final whistle. It was a constant battle with people who are meant to support you.” Hope went on to explain how he felt.
Although the 22-year-old decided to quit football, he had managed to make his senior debut for the Australian team Melbourne. He also featured in a victory against Serie A giants Juventus in an International Champions Cup tie. Josh also became the first Tasmanian in 23 years to be awarded with an Australian Institute of Sport football scholarship.
Josh’s career twist came when he conceded a penalty, and since then, he was regarded as an enemy by football fans. He was trolled continuously by fans on social media, and this affected him greatly. “I gave away a penalty. It’s part of the football, but after that game, I saw hundreds of tags on Instagram, and they were all negative. Not to mention the personal messages where Some said they would destroy me if I gave away another similar penalty. It’s a vicious cycle because the threats make you so scared of messing up. You can’t play properly, and it didn’t stop after that.” Josh stated.
Josh continued on his Instagram to explain how even going to the grocery store was a marathon for him. His life wasn’t easy because the ordeal affected him mentally. He needed to get away from the football world to secure his peace of mind.