Make sure to check out the full-length #AskASoccerPro episode here, and the PS Clip, 'Advice to Youth Players' below!
“What is the one piece of advice you would give to youth players?”
I hear this question most weeks and I definitely believe it’s an important one. Our youth players are the pro players of tomorrow, and their development will determine the future of our sport.
The first thing I would say to youth players who want to play pro soccer is to approach the game and play the game for the reasons you love the game.
I don’t believe the best approach as a youth player is just to be concerned with becoming a pro. You should play the game because you enjoy it, and it’s fun. Then, if you take the game seriously, do the extra work, and put in the reps, you are doing so because you enjoy the sport and you love what you are doing.
Going pro can become an option one day, but just based on sheer statistics, the likelihood of going pro is very low. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t aspire to become a professional player or work hard to get there, but I don’t think you need to start out playing soccer with your focus only on going pro.
Focus on playing the game for the reasons you love it. You can make the transition to becoming a professional when you are ready and it is the right time.
Many youth players fail to understand that once you go pro, you’re playing soccer as your job. What you love becomes work. This dynamic is completely different from playing simply because you love the sport as money is involved.
I’ve said it many times before, 95% of being a pro is boring and repetitive stuff that you don’t necessarily want to do.
But, you have to put in that work to be prepared for the moments you do want to be a part of as a pro; scoring a stunner of a goal, successfully defending a skilled player, or making the save of the season.
Another thing to keep in mind is at the professional level the focus is always on winning. The head coach decides who he or she will play, and their decision is final, you likely won’t get a reason as to why you are or aren’t playing in a certain game.
When I’m asked these questions, I’m always honest with you, so you can make the most informed decision for yourself. Having truthful, honest information will allow you to go forward with your eyes open. I know I would always prefer to have gone into something knowing what I was going into, rather than find out that it was the complete opposite of what I believed in the beginning.
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