Welcome to the very first episode of the Ask A Soccer Pro Show! Make sure you catch the replay, even if you were able to tune in for the live!
What does it really take to go pro? YouTube is inundated with soccer videos that teach the ‘tricks’ and ‘skills’… and they are getting thousands of shares, but, what if I told you that these videos won’t actually help you be a better player?
The truth is, if you want to be a better soccer player, you need to break down your training to the fundamental level. You’ve got to get clinical. Working on your first touch, your tactics, your soccer IQ, your skills on and off the ball… by developing all of these fundamentals, you will be able to do those fancy tricks you see a lot of the guys (and gals!) on YouTube doing. And, you’ll be able to beat your competition, make the team, be a better team player, and be the kind of player coaches want to have on their teams.
To make it pro you have to enjoy proving people wrong more than you enjoy having fun.
Is a Youth Academy Program Necessary?
If you’re not going to be playing for a club or in an academy program and want to make your way to pro, you’re going to have to work even harder. You’ll have to create your own high-quality highlight tapes and soccer resume. You want to stand out from the competition, and your competition is every single player who says he or she wants to play at the professional or college level.
You’re going to have to put in the work no one else is willing to do and make the sacrifices that no one else is willing to make. I’ve laid out a blueprint (link to book) for you, but it’s not simple and it’s not quick.
So, you don’t have to join youth academies, but if you do your chances of being seen by coaches. However, just because you play for a club or academy doesn’t mean you play at a high enough level to go pro. You have to be putting in the work consistently over time and assuming that the competition is right behind you.
My Career as an Example
I like the idea of starting in a lower division and working your way up, proving yourself by gaining experience. This was what my youth career, college career, and professional career have been, just grinding and putting in the work and slowly moving up the ranks.
I try to think of it this way, however long it takes for you to build your career, that’s about how long it could take for it to be dismantled. For example, I’ve been building my professional career for over 10 years, so it would take approximately that amount of time to be unraveled. Let’s say you go viral overnight; your career can go away just as quickly. Slow and steady really wins the race here.
Building a solid foundation with strong fundamental skills is going to give you the most opportunities to succeed. Most importantly, when your opportunity comes (and everyone’s opportunity comes) you want to make sure you are prepared. I’ve seen a lot of players who blame their coach, their parents, and make excuses as to why they aren’t putting in the work; they miss their chance.
When your opportunity comes knocking, will you be ready?