Letting Go and Moving On

Kelsey Zalimeni Hangs Up Her Boots

A few months ago, we posted an article by former Wake Forest University player Kelsey Zalimeni kz5who while working at an art gallery in London tried out and made the Crystal Palace Ladies. Here is an update from KZ. Just a side note first. I have known Kelsey since she and my daughter became friends in kindergarten. She’s always been one of my favorites – smart, very talented and owner of a sick sense of humor. Good luck Kelsey.

By Kelsey Zalimeni

I’m writing this from a Stairmaster on medium to low effort. My twice-restored right knee is super achy, and not from Sunday’s match or last night’s fitness session but from de-installing an entire pop-up exhibition of massive abstract paintings across town from our gallery.

It was me and my colleague Matt (who, for fun facts, bears a striking and amusing resemblance to City’s Kevin de Bruyne), running 40kg wooden pieces of art to and from a courier van in hopes of making it out of the venue by 8pm. This was our 10th day in a row of being on our feet for 12 hours straight. For art world employees this is like completing an Iron Man.

I’m on this Stairmaster a lot more now, and will be on medium to low effort probably until mid-November. Because that’s how it goes now. Gone is my stamina for two-a-days and a heavy lifting in between; I can’t even play 90 minutes without pulling something it seems. But it’s okay! And I’m actually proud and excited to be entering the afterlife.

My childhood and club soccer best friend, Molly Pathman, announced her retirement a few months ago now, and a few friends are still at it and faring very well. But kinda like the day I suddenly ripped out my hoop nose ring in my senior year of college, I woke up recently with the very real and sudden conclusion that it’s time to part ways with high level soccer.

This isn’t a eulogy or letter of resignation, though! In fact, it’s far from it. Consider this my Declaration of Independence from passing fitness tests, my emancipation from stress over performance, and an embrace of a new frontier filled with co-ed 5v5 matches and weekend trips to Paris (just £38 each way according to the underground advertisements on my commute route!).

I’ve had a fantastic time loving and learning my sport, my first and truest passion in life. I’m now enjoying applying the same grit and discipline I developed through sport, to the workplace. The gallery has never been more fun, more challenging. Time to win some medals in my art career and leave the slide tackles to the young bucks with better knees than me.

Off to the pub now, I’ve burned two pints worth on the Stairmaster!

All the best,


Kelsey Zalimeni played collegiate soccer in the U.S. for Wake Forest University and currently works as Curator and Buyer at the Thompson Art Gallery in London and, of course, plays for the Crystal Palace Ladies.


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