The other day I received a message from an acquaintance that I had not spoken to in awhile due to my travels over the past few years. I honestly had never held an actual conversation with the guy before and didn't even have his phone number. This person is my age and used to be one of my teammates back in youth soccer. He always spoke to me and everyone around me like he knew everything about the game and was constantly giving his opinions and evaluations of players around him. "This kid is the best player here and it is only a matter of time before he is playing pro," or "He is a terrible player, he needs to work on A, B, and C," were his go-to conversations.
So this guy always thought that he knew everything about soccer and always made it clear that he wanted to play professionally. One memory that I will NEVER forget is when I accompanied a friend to a pick-up soccer game while I was home for my college's Christmas break. As we were all stretching and getting ready to play, up walks the subject of this post, late, and struts in like he owns the place. He goes around and shakes only a selected few peoples' hands and has a good laugh with a few. He finally gets to me and says, "Hey Danza, what's up? Where are you playing these days?" Before I had the opportunity to respond, my friend that I had come to the pick-up game with chimed in and answered for me saying, "Danza just transferred to Towson (the local, now former, D-I soccer program in Baltimore)." He looked at me and said, "Cool, cool, you should try out for the club team there, they are pretty good." My friend answered once again for me saying, "No he's going there to play for the D-I team." The subject changed his demeanor and looked at me as if he was confused. He knew that I was previously playing for a local D-III school and I knew that he did not think much of me as a player." He then asked me, "When is your tryout? You know those guys are pretty good, don't feel bad if you don't make it." I responded back very politely to this arrogant remark by saying, "No, I was recruited to play there by the coach." The subject's entire face went blank as he was in a state of shock and disbelief. He then proceeded to ask me a million questions, but I will never forget two things that he said to me. The first was, "How did you do that?!", in a way that really meant, "How/Why did they pick and recruit YOU?" The second was "Wow, this is why I hate American soccer."
He did congratulate me, but it was in a way as if I had just asked a pretty girl out on a date that he thought was out of my league and she said yes. Shocked and asking, "Really? How/Did that just happen?"
My response and last words that I said to him until my most recent conversation with him was, "I worked my butt off, and I earned it."
Which I did. I was sending emails while I was in class every day to HUNDREDS of college and semi-pro coaches, most of which never responded to my emails. I was training two to three times a day. I was in the best shape of my life. I was on a strict and healthy diet. Playing professionally was all that I thought about, and I thought that no one would take me seriously in the U.S. unless I was playing collegiately at the highest D-I level (which is another story in itself).
Fast-forward to now, and the subject who contacted me is in his mid-20's and has never played at a level higher than community college soccer (Which there is absolutely nothing wrong with! I know many great players who played at small schools and went on to have long and successful professional careers!). Now that being said, there is a problem that I have with this guy. He always spoke about his desires to play professionally and maybe one day for his National Team, but he was never willing to put the work in, was never at the proper fitness level to play at the next level, has a negative attitude, and lacked the discipline and compliance it takes to play at the next level. Don't get me wrong, this guy is very good with the ball at his feet, strong, and hold his own in small-sided drills. But he has never understood that great opportunities will most likely never just fall into your lap. You have to go and put your name out there and carry yourself as a professional before you actually become one. Daily training, proper nutrition, and taking care of your body are just some of the things that you should be doing every day if you seriously want to play at the next level.
You could be the greatest and most skilled player in the world, but if you are training every day in your basement, no one will ever know how good you are.
So the message that I received from the subject stated that he was visiting his family in a city that he knew I had played professionally and he was looking for a team to train with. I like helping people out, and I was willing to help him out, but I honestly did not know his fitness level, level of commitment, or current form. I hadn't seem him in years, but you never know, he may really be serious about his dream. I still wanted to help him out and give him the same chance I give every player that contacts me, so I asked if he had a CV, highlight video, or game film that I could pass on to the coaches.
His response made me realize that he has never changed. I cannot and will not put my name on the line for players who are not 100% committed to do whatever it takes to achieve their dreams. Every coach, agent, and scout around the world asks for two things when you approach them. Your CV and highlight video/game film.
His response was, "Nah bro, I don't have none of that. What do I need that for? Is this some American thing lol...I can't stand this country lol. Well I just want to practice and play ball man. Heck I can just go to practice, if I'm not good enough, tell them to tell me, and I'll stop coming."
If he would have said, "Hey man, I do not have those things, but can you help me make them. I really will do whatever it takes to play professionally", I would have helped him and been his number one supporter.
Video of the Day:
USMNT's March to Brazil, Part 4.
- Have fun with the ball for 5-10 minutes before starting.
- 2 Mile Run - Continue to build pace and open up your stride.
- Dynamic Warm Up
- 2000 Touches & Footwork - 1000 Right, 1000 Left - Dribble & juggle, practice turning with all surfaces of your feet, build your confidence on the ball, keep the ball close to your body, maintain control of the ball. Focus on your footwork, ability to change direction quickly, sprint with the ball at your feet, and balance throughout. This is all meant to work on your touch and comfort on the ball. Whether the ball is in the air or on the floor, develop your touch and ability to control the ball. Most importantly, be creative and have fun!
- 350 Core - Any combination exercises adding up to 350 ab reps. Intervals of 25 per exercise work great.
- Have fun with the ball for 10-15 minutes before cooling down - This is the perfect time to practice set-pieces and shooting.
- Cool Down & Static Stretching - Take this seriously! This is the first step in your recovery process and preparation for the next training session.
- This is just your individual training for the day. This is meant to supplement your existing training schedule and team training. If you are not currently training daily with a team, you should be looking for pick-up games or a group of talented, determined, and disciplined players that you can train with.
Make sure that you are eating healthy. Proper daily nutrition and overall body maintenance is key to your performance and recovery.
If you have any questions, please message me.
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