What an episode! Thank you to everyone who joined the live (shout out to my teammates past and present!), asked questions, and spent time building our community. We covered so much ground in episode 36 of the Ask a Soccer Pro Show, including:
- The biggest decision of my career
- Does physical build matter in soccer?
- Messi or Ronaldo?
- The ultimate troll-killing device.
- Learning from those around you.
- And more!
If you weren’t able to join the live, make sure you catch the replay!
The Biggest Decision of My Career
I’m often asked what the biggest decision of my career was. In 2009, I decided to go pro.
After I signed my first pro contract, I remember being really confused by the mindset of the players around me. Looking back, I’m not so confused, but at the time, I just couldn’t grasp the concept. I would talk to my teammates, and no one was thinking about their post soccer career!
Now, I know we all want to play at the professional level for as long as we can, maybe until we are 35 or 40 years old. But, even if you play pro soccer for 15 or 20 years, your career will end one day. The way I was thinking is, ‘what do I want to do while I’m playing to set myself up post-career?’
The most significant advantage that playing professional soccer gave me was time. I was making a full-time salary. My first contract wasn’t the most lucrative. I was only making $34,000 a year, and I was on a ‘semi-guaranteed’ contract, meaning I could be dropped at any time! Even at this low starting salary, the advantage I had was time. In two or three hours a day, I could make a ‘full time’ salary and have the rest of the day to work on building my businesses; this is a huge part of why Perfect Soccer exists today.
When I would finish playing each day, I would invest my time in my businesses. Where I am today is the result of a decision I made 11 years ago, which is why I believe that deciding to go pro was indeed the biggest decision of my career.
Although I couldn’t understand why people weren’t thinking about post-career, I didn’t use that as an excuse to ignore the subject. I believed that I could dedicate my time to both playing pro soccer and preparing myself for the future; more so, I felt that doing so was in my best interest.
I’m not saying my path was perfect or the best way for everyone, technically it was risky because I had never seen anyone do anything similar before. I didn’t know if preparing for my post-career while pursuing my pro career would even work, but I knew that if it did work, I would reap exponential rewards.
I had to spend a lot of time hearing people tell me I was ‘dumb,’ what I was doing ‘would never work,’ that I was ‘full of myself,’ a ‘narcissist,’ a ‘self-promoter,’ that I ‘couldn’t do that in Europe’. . . People were just projecting their insecurities on me; that’s how I perceived it.
The experiences I've gone through are why I speak to you about the MSL; I tell you how it’s about developing an iron clad mentality where you are in your own head, and no one else can get in. The right mentality has kept me in the game this long, and I'm happy to share what I've learned with you.
Does Physical Build Matter?
The beauty of the beautiful game is that you can be the shortest, fattest, or slowest, and you can find a way to compete and win. If you aren’t the tallest, you need to figure out how to be cleverer on the ball, thinking three or four steps ahead of your opponent.
Are you the type of player that floats around, and when you see space, you take advantage of it? Or, are you the type of player that is setting up other players to create space for yourself in the future?
There are so many different ways you can play the game. When I started my career, I was the hare, fast and all over the place. Having evolved as a player over the years, developing my soccer IQ and understanding the game at a deeper level, I’m the tortoise now. I'm even a possum sometimes; playing to set up my opponents and exploit their weaknesses, masking and hiding my strengths, only using them when it is the right time.
I’ve always taken soccer seriously, and I approach every game like it’s the last time I’m going to get to play. I look at soccer as a gift that can be taken away at any moment. There are so many things that could go wrong, so dwelling or spending time feeling sorry for yourself, or complaining, is a waste of time and takes away from what you love about the game.
The game is going to get difficult at times, you’re going to want to quit, there are going to be unfair things (a lot of this game is unfair), and the politics are real. But, you cannot let any of this be an excuse for why you don’t do what is necessary for you to move forward.
Inch by inch, using long term thinking, and maintaining a commitment to putting yourself in the best situation to learn from your previous and current mistakes…Move forward with purpose.
Until next time! 👉🏽😶👈🏽