Dear American Girl,

I want to try out for my school's soccer team, but a girl in my gym class constantly makes fun of me when I play soccer. She says I'm "no good" and has gotten other girls to gang up on me, too. So, even though I want to try out for the team, I know that I'll be teased. What should I do?
-Not having a ball

Here's your advice:

It doesn't matter what the other girls think. What matters is what you think and what your heart is telling you. Don't ever let another girl influence your decisions, especially one who teases you.
-Isabella, age 11, New Zealand

These girls shouldn't keep you from pursuing your passion. If they tease you, firmly say that you're going to try out for the team no matter what they say. Staying calm and showing confidence are two great ways to throw off bullies.
-Lydia, age 12, Ohio

Look this girl straight in the eye and say, "What makes you the expert? You're not a coach." The only opinion that really matters is the coach's.
-An American Girl fan, age 13, England

This girl might be good at playing soccer, but there's one thing that she's missing—sportsmanship. If you make the team and she continues to make fun of you, just ignore her and set a good example by being respectful of your teammates.
-Gianna, age 11, Iowa

Do you believe that you'd make a great addition to the soccer team? Then go for it! If you don't try out, you might regret your decision later.
-Lauren, age 10, Florida

A good response to bullying is to try to ignore it. Once those girls realize that they're not getting to you, they might give up. If they don't, tell a trusted adult. It's not being a tattletale—it's solving a problem.
-Lizzie, age 13, Georgia

When I tried a new sport, I had a bully who put me down, too. But I asked myself, Is this girl the most important person in my life? That made me realize that I no longer cared what she said. Don't let this girl's bullying get to you. Instead, focus on doing your best when you try out for the team.
-Mia, age 12, Florida

Three words—don't believe her! This girl is saying mean things about you, and you don't have to buy into her opinionthe lies. Try your best to stay above the teasing.
-Anne, age 9, California

Make a "confidence bracelet." Whenever those girls tease you or you think about what they said, look at your bracelet to remind yourself that you're a strong, awesome girl.
-Greta, age 12, Minnesota

If those girls bully you, say, "I don't think I'm a bad player. I'm proud of the way I play, no matter what you say about me." Standing up for yourself can help you feel more confident when you play soccer, too.
-Sienna, age 11, New York

Maybe this girl feels as if she's not good enough. She could be putting you down to boost her own courage. If she teases you again, just remember that that every mean comment could be a sign of her insecurity.
-Savana, age 12, China

You definitely should try out for the soccer team. If you don't try out, you will give those girls exactly what they want.
-Megan, age 13, Maryland

Think about it this way. Does a good friend's opinion count? Sure. Are these girls your friends? Probably not. Don't let these girls change you!
-Abby, age 12, Wisconsin

Stay true to yourself and try out for the team. And if you don't make the team? Hold your head high and show the world that you're still a great person. Your ability to play soccer doesn't define your self-worth—your ability to try is what's important.
-Abigail, age 10, North Carolina

Sheesh! Any girl who forms a group to gang up on another girl needs a reality check. Since they aren't making a very good use of their time, show them that you have better things to do than listen to them. Ignore them and walk away.
-Annie, age 11, Connecticut

Instead of looking sad when these girls make fun of you, stand tall to show them that they aren't getting to you. Bonus points if you can laugh at the ridiculous things they say, too.
-Cassidy, age 12, Massachusetts

I was teased in my gymnastics class. The bullies said I would never be chosen to compete in a state competition, but I ignored their comments and kept working to achieve my goal. In the end, I was chosen to compete and none of the bullies were. So, keep working at soccer and ignore these girls' comments. Who knows? You might end up being the star of the soccer team.
-Georgie, age 13, Virginia

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