CJ Sapong on Growing through Adversity I #AskASoccerPro Show Ep. 060
We were joined this week on the #AskASoccerPro Show by Chicago Fire legend, CJ Sapong. In addition to being last season's Chicago Fire MVP, CJ is also the founder of Sacred Seeds, an organization focused on nutrition, education, community building.
Listen in as CJ and Quincy discuss being the underdog, Charlie Davies, (mis)information, and more! Here is what they cover:
00:00 – 05:14: Intro
05:27 – 09:09: CJ Sapong Joins the Live
09:18 – 13:15: A Lifelong Dance, or, Battle
13:16 – 16:49: (Mis)Information
16:57 – 23:36: Finding a Common Experience
23:38 - 25:44: A Yearning to Explore
25:48 – 27:41: How to know when you’re overthinking
27:54 – 33:27: Why Being The Underdog Is Powerful
33:29 – 37:07: Being a Veteran But Treated Like A Rookie
37:18 – 41:19: Crab’s In A Bucket Mentality
41:20 – 47:42: Implementing the MSL
47:44 - 53:34: CJ’s Most Memorable Goal
53:35 - 58:47: What Charlie Davies Got Wrong
58:40 – 60:06: Outro
If you would like to listen to the interview:
If you would like to watch the interview:
If you would like to read the interview:
*Interview transcript is unedited and machine-generated. There will be errors. For further clarity please refer to the audio or video.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:00:04):
Yo Matt, dams bro. What's going on? Oh man. Let's see what we got here. Sammy, welcome to the live adorable birth. Edgar tope Topez topez? Anise said, yo, what's up Quincy? Yo, what's going on Gwen? Oh seven. What's happening in Philadelphia? Union means dropped in. Welcome to the live Christian. What up man? I feel like I haven't seen you for a little while, but what's going on? What's up with the beanie? You guys know it is. I think I've, I messed up my my hair tie and I need to get me some hair ties. My hair's all over the place, but you guys know what it is. Welcome John Hollinger, Earl Edwards, his job jumped in the live. He know what it is. Earl is always in those, in the comment sections, helping you guys get your questions answered. Cause I know there's more and more of you who are joining in regularly and it gets difficult for me to get back to everyone.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:01:01):
Especially now that you guys know what it is. It is the hashtag ask a soccer pro show episode 60. I'm your host, 11 year MLS pro. And MSL master. That's mental strength. Lean. You know what it is. I'm in your head. Drop their mind in your head emojis. If you guys are know what, if you guys know what's good for you, what up everybody, you know what it is is episode 61 of the hashtag ask the soccer pro show and today's special guest who will be joining in here on the live with us soon is the mentality master CJ Sapong and that's what I'm talking about Matt dropping. I'm in your head emojis. You guys spam that heart button thing. I don't know if it does anything but I love seeing the hearts if you can hear me okay and if you guys are juiced for today's episode, look at that. The man of the hour has arrived in the section in the section Mr CJ Sapong, everyone, give CJ some love. Welcome him. Thank him for joining us because what are we going to do today? We are going to you. Oh I was trying to
Quincy Amarikwa (00:02:12):
Pull up the video Todor had made for him but it's not popping up but you know what it is guys. You know what it is, is it #AskASoccerPro show where we talk about the MSL, the mental strength league. It is a game where you are an active participant or you are steady getting played. It's a mentality. It's a mindset. It's a philosophy that we talk and work on here to help you accomplish your goals. The MSL mindset is a mindset of personal responsibility. We take responsibility for where we are. We build a community, which is what we are doing here right now. I love welcoming you guys to the community because it is through you that we're able to continue to build this and grow today. Today's guest is CJ Sapong, I'm excited to get talking with him today just to really break down his mentality so we can share that with you guys and hopefully you can take away a couple of gems and understand what it is that you could be using
Quincy Amarikwa (00:03:10):
To level up your mental game.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:03:16):
That's what we're here to do today. Is this been let me think. There's been a couple of updates. There's some, there's some crazy news going on all over the place. We'll see where everything ends up. As you guys know, I'm still in my free agency free agency off season. MLS season officially started last week. There's been some great news, some shots fired by mr. Charlie Davies. I'm still waiting for his response on, on on all that. So if you guys, you guys need to go ask him when he's going to to respond to what he's talking about. Adam Yon and myself. The King peach pod said, I hope you make it to Atlanta. I hope so too. That'd be do to go play in Atlanta. But let me see here. Okay, so CJ, I'm going to [inaudible] where I always end up doing the wrong button here. Then it ends up not working. Okay. That's why I was pressing that. Yo, come on trying to call you in.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:04:29):
Oh, there we go. See
Quincy Amarikwa (00:04:33):
See. There it is. CJ, I'm calling you in now.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:04:39):
Gosh, dang it.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:04:42):
This whole thing is just ridiculous. All right, give me a second. There we go.
Speaker 1 (00:05:03):
Man, what now? All of us. There we go. That's what I'm going like, what the heck is going on? All right, well we don't see Gigi joining here. You guys start dropping some of your questions and stuff down there. What's going on? What up brother?
CJ Sapong (00:05:22):
Technical difficulties. Hey, yeah bro.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:05:24):
I don't know what the heck was going on. I think the, the mental strength is too strong and the technology can't handle it, you know,
CJ Sapong (00:05:32):
Messin with the waves.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:05:34):
CJ Sapong (00:05:35):
Disruptive, disruptive vibrations only. That's what we're about out here.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:05:44):
Okay. We're going to have, this is going to be a good one because this is gonna be a good one cause on my wavelength right now, bro. I've been waiting for people to come ride this wave with me and I'm, I'm, I feel very blessed to have you as someone on this journey as it just unfolds, you know,
CJ Sapong (00:06:03):
In every aspect bro. You know, from the external how we are interacting with the public and people that are out here just you know, fighting the good fight but to the internal and you know, mental strength and elevating ourselves so we can be in positions to actually help. Cause you know, you gotta be top notch in your own house before you can, you know, leave and started trying to change the world. So I am blessed to be here as well.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:06:32):
No, I I respect that. Okay. Before we just hop straight into it, cause you know, that's what I want to do. I'll be like, yo, let's just get straight into it. Let's do, let's give him a little bit of background. Let's set a bit of context for our audience. I'm juiced to have you here. I know a lot of people are excited for this as am I. So let's kind of kick it off. I know or most people don't, might not know you are our guests. It's CJ's upon week on the perfect soccer account and you did the perfect soccer podcast here on Monday with Paul. You gave a bit of your background as to how you got to the [inaudible] professional ranks and your overall experience, especially in the first couple of years in the league. So if those of you [inaudible] who were joining it on the live, didn't check that out, make sure you go and listen to that. We do that so that on this, at this point in time on the part of the show, we can really talk about mentality and break that down and answer questions. So if you're not familiar with CJ's background or his origin story make sure you check that out. But having said that, CJ, what, what do you kind of maybe give us the one minute, two minute pitch on who you are or how you like to define yourself or what you believe yourself to be.
CJ Sapong (00:07:48):
See, I love questions like this because it gives you an opportunity to actually say out loud what you think about yourself. Yes, I think I see myself is obviously a very blessed and favored human who happens to kick a soccer ball for a living and has been able to do so for the past 10 years. I've got to grow as a player but mostly as a person through just experience, you know I'm somebody that I never really trekked around the world thinking that I knew everything and really enjoy taking in information. And with that you get a lot of misinformation but you, you develop tools that help you discern for yourself what's, what's your own truth and you know, what is an efficient way to go about life. So I'd say I'm still kind of in the beginning stages of that, you know, next phase of my life and I'm really looking forward to really exploring
CJ Sapong (00:08:56):
That Avenue and you know, maximizing my potential as well as the people around me
Quincy Amarikwa (00:09:03):
I like that. I'm going to take that in and I'm going to formulate a couple of questions for you so we can, so we can start this journey,
CJ Sapong (00:09:11):
This journey. Oh, a journey, what a journey it is. Yes.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:09:15):
Quincy Amarikwa (00:09:16):
Before we, before we keep going, I'll ask a couple more foundational questions. Okay. So we first got connected, so then may also now give a little bit of context as to how we've been connected. So we've been connected in the league in which we play, but never directly connected in conversation until maybe I'd say, what was that about six months ago? Was that their first like official conversation meeting?
CJ Sapong (00:09:44):
Yup. I think I don't, I maybe when you guys came to Chicago and after the game, you know, I remember we always said like, what's up? Like, you know, like, let's link this, that and the other. And then finally was like, so which, what you got going on after all this, you know, question. And at that moment I was thinking about it a lot, so we were able to have, you know, short little exchange. But yeah, that, that's what started, I guess, the movement into discussing things a little deeper. And ultimately we're, we're here now ready to, you know, continue to,
Quincy Amarikwa (00:10:30):
No, exactly. No, it's good because I think there are a lot of people are outside, they have an idea or more so an idea of what they think things are or what's happening or what's not. And each one of us is going through our own experience in the world of soccer here in America and they're vastly different even though we might be in the same physical location in space. Right. So, okay. What made you, I know we saw each other around, but in terms of what made you curious or willing to want to take the next step in learning a little bit more, maybe connecting with me, what, what, what were some reasonings why you decided to do that?
CJ Sapong (00:11:11):
Yeah. Well, so I guess it's a little too part how that happened. I'd say first just from, you know, you also through your time in the league has cultivated a lot of relationships and through being passionate about, you know, the things that you, you go about in life and passionate in your approach that's been able to rub off on other people and just by organic nature of conversation and, and networks, right. I've been passionate in my own right and talked about topics that, you know, mutual friends of ours, mutual players in the league at, you know,
CJ Sapong (00:11:54):
Have, have heard both of us touch on similar subjects and topics and just especially last year like just kept hearing your union talk to Quincy and you got to talk to Quincy man. It's like, man, you and Quincy would have, you know, and then also as well, your stuff you're doing with MSL and mental strength league and you know, me, I see mental strengths as a lifelong dance or battle depending on how you look at it, right? Being able to see you, you know, really kind of one fully invest in yourself, right? And fully, you know, put yourself in a position to find security, whether it's financially or, or personally, you know, I resonated with that as well. So with my own internal connection that came from, you know, looking at you doing what you're doing and then the subtle synchronistic moments on the outside that, you know, continue to point me towards your direction is what ultimately I think is lets me, you know, being on, on this show right now.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:13:06):
Look bro, I love that. Cause I know your, your brand is sacred seeds. So this is, this is good. Loving that sacred, strive to thrive. Yes. And, but you have to plant seeds and, and, and cultivate and nurture them to see them grow and it takes time for that to happen. Right? So, so an interesting thing that you had said that stood out to me when you're kind of giving the the synopsis of your experience to this point is the skillset of one, first and foremost, coming from a perspective of openness to all information, but learning how to determine between disinformation and valuable information. So when you're starting out being open to all types of information, what do you feel is necessary to be able to determine what is valuable and what isn't?
CJ Sapong (00:14:08):
That is an amazing question man. I, when I look at my personal journey and, and I, to be completely honest, kind of maybe went into a little bit of a dark area when I first take it, started taking it and it's so much information because one, whether it's true or not, the emotional intensity of the things that are going on around us are fucking serious, you know? And people until you start recognizing that, okay, yeah, you go about your own reality. And a lot of people, like if it's out of sight, it's out of mine. That does not negate the fact that there's real things, real, moveable energetic equations all around you. You know? And in my particular situation, when I came across information that showed that quality of how energetic things around me are, it made me feel small. You know? So looking back on it, I, I really think it's important to prepare yourself in a way to take in information.
CJ Sapong (00:15:17):
And still be centered and balanced and not let it affect you emotionally. Cause once that happens, you might not recognize how you move onto a different path or you, you slowly move your own energy into one that is going to bring more of the same that you're putting out, right? Everybody here is how you get what you, you put into it or whatever is, I believe that that's how the universe works. You know, if I'm researching conspiracy theories, you know, deadly dark, deceiving conspiracy theories, then it's, I'm going to need a balance that out, one with other information. And two, I've got to have to do the work within my own rights, make sure that as I'm reading or watching these things that I'm not allowing my energy to get thrown off too much. And that's a tricky, that's a tricky one, you know? But it starts with just the awareness and the willingness, I think. And I believe every human on the planet has the strength to at least try to become aware once you start to process. Okay, every flower, you know, buds at its own rate. However, it's important to find a centered alignment within yourself before you, you start, start taking all bits of information and
Quincy Amarikwa (00:16:42):
Got you. Okay. So this is good. So now let, let's do a couple of things, right. So one thing that I've learned is the one thing that I had to learn over the course of my career was as how to communicate between levels of experience in reality, right? So let's say, okay, so for instance, I experienced Chicago, Chicago fire, you currently play for Chicago fire, right? I experienced Chicago fire 2013 to 2015. I have my breakout year while I'm there and then I go through my experience of that system, how they operate and how they function cause they'd been there for quite a [inaudible] a bit of time, right? I may now move on to a new experience when I get traded to San Jose, but you can also move into that same operating system and process and learn similar things from that experience. So now we can be tethered between experience and we could communicate because we have an understanding that we know to be true from our experience. Okay. But if people outside of us don't have that experience, we can't tap into it. We need to find a common experience that we've all tapped into that we can then discuss and have the conversation around. So what I'm going to ask you is to take what you just said and make it applicable to the game of soccer.
CJ Sapong (00:18:09):
Oh, I like, I like, like, okay, so in the game of soccer, let's say, let's go with, all right, a corner kick. Right? So let's just say you, you get the regular person just gets the opportunity to play in a, in a sock or to coach in a soccer game. Right.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:18:32):
CJ Sapong (00:18:33):
They've never done it before, but they are given the opportunity. They got a team, they're going up against another team of, we'll just say equal talents and fitness. Everything is equal across the board. Yes. One, the other coach has had a hundred games coaching experience. Yes. If, where I'm going to compare this to me just, you know, taking in information, Oh, taking information, right? If I just go out into the game and you know, I find myself or the person who's never coached in a game before finds himself in a set piece situation, they might say, Oh, I'm just cross the ball in, right with no tax, no runs, no nothing. Whereas the other coach who had a hundred games under his belt knows okay. And it looks at data and looks at information and actually analyzes it and sees where they can utilize it to their benefit and say, okay, well 73% of crosses end up here, 20% out of here.
CJ Sapong (00:19:47):
He sets up a nice zone as two people on the on the post has the strong goalie. That person is in a, in a better position, right, to defend the corner kick. That's kind of the same with the information as you're getting it. Well before you get it, you gotta kind of make sure that you give yourself the opportunity to maximize it, right? And then as you get it, as you get more familiar and you and you, I guess taking more corner kicks and either you get scored on or you score or you know, it almost comes off, you take it and after every corner kick you start to your, you should become aware of what the results were. And by the a hundredth corner kick at some level you have to ha, you have to have a strategy, right? You have to have a tactic that is a culmination of all the trial and errors before that, you know, I don't know if that was a good one, but
Quincy Amarikwa (00:20:47):
No, that's good. So we can no, that's perfect cause that, and that means now we're going to be talking on the same level and I like that cause you built a like call it, call it the mental foundation so that when we're having a conversation we are assessing the information from the same perspective. So, for instance, using your analogy, if I have a hundred, if I have a hundred games under my belt and you have zero games under your belt and I'm aware of that and you're unaware of that, I can overthink to the point that your unaware, your, your, your lack of awareness is an advantage over me.
CJ Sapong (00:21:32):
It's like, it's like going and playing in like a, a Sunday league, you know, where you're like, Oh well in the normal game if I get [inaudible] on the app or if I'm going towards the end mine, you know, I can easily just, I can stake for cross, cut it out, create more space for myself. Whereas in Sunday league game against a player who hasn't had that, you know, top level experience who's just going to try and go for the ball and when you cut it and they could fly out at you two feet and just crush you like, yeah, that's exactly, exactly that, that moment. Good shout. Okay. Okay.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:22:17):
So all right, so now let's talk within the boundaries of that. So through the MSL mentality mindset, I say I'm not trying to find balance. I'm trying to find the extremes because through the extremes, I'll find balance. If I'm searching for balance and never the extremes, I'll always be floating somewhere between one and a hundred. I could be, I could be at 99 and not know that I'm next to the wall and I can be at one not know that, that I'm there. Right? So I'm just floating in space. So when we were talking, when we were talking about what you were discussing, when we're saying had the ring tethering our realities of our experiences, we're now we're creating a scaffolding, right? A mental world in which we've operated and navigate and we've decided what the truth is and what is, what constitutes as helpful useful information and what we, what we decide as negative information that will throw you off your balance of those extremes.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:23:14):
Right? So you're saying you've gone to that negative space and that negative place and you're there and you understand now that by going down that rabbit hole, you can detach yourself from what is what you believe to be true or real. Yeah. Okay. So now we're now we're, we've, we've put that in the context of the soccer field in terms of experience and, and none. What incentivizes you or encourages you or makes you want to take the step to want to coach in this mind, in this, in this manner? You know, there's the mindset of ignorance is bliss until, until the whole world comes crashing down on you. So what, what makes you want to even take the risk in the first place? What makes you want to step forward into that space?
CJ Sapong (00:24:02):
You know, I think it's, it's the little taste of life that we get from yes, actually staying so close to the middle because it's almost like you're peering out into the distance, right? And you see lights or you see movement, you see change and it's like, all right, well rather than stay over here on, you know, in my own box, let me go explore that. You know? And I think for me, that's, that that was the first bit of just yearning and desire I had was just a yearning to explore. You know, you look at humans, that's the reason why the world is the way it is today. Because some people just say, you know what? I'm going to go see what's out there. Yes. All this know what I find. And then when I come back, I'm gonna go the other way and see what I find.
CJ Sapong (00:24:58):
You know, I'll let you know everything else I've seen in between that. And then when I get back, maybe I'll go back, I'll study all the little areas that I, you know, I passed that it might've not had enough time to, you know, stay in study and let's just make it a lifelong thing. Why not? You know, that that's what for me, I, I've always had that. I think a lot of people do. It's just depending on what level of conditioning, by your extra analyses that you know, keep you from truly allowing that a nice feeling to take over.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:25:37):
Got you. Okay. So then let's, let's continue that as within the constructs of the on-field analogy that you, that you used, right? So what's a telltale sign on the field that you are overthinking? Is that something that you learn to sense with game with games played in page so that and from the community?
CJ Sapong (00:26:01):
Yeah. I think an interesting, Oh, so here how that works for you. I think it might be slightly different for guys. For me, my indicator is always not necessarily a bad touch, but when you make a bad touch, when you're under no stress. So if I'm at the halfway line and the ball's rolling very slowly to me and I'm, yes, in a way, I'm trying to be prepared and you know, see what the next movements are. But if I'm too focused on what the next moments are going to bring as opposed to taking care of the ball, right. Or taking care of the, you know, actual situation, I'm in. Next thing you know, a ball goes right under my feet goes out, we lose possession, you know? I think on a, on a breakaway, that's, that's another situation where for me, you know, I, the ones I scored in my career, I was focused, I'm dribbling, touch, ball, touch, touch, touch, okay, I'm placing this. And then there's the ones where, you know, it feels like it's a whole hour that you're dribbling towards the goalie and you're like, Oh, snap, there's how many people in this stadium right now a day. I really, I really hope I make this a, I hear those. Nothing, you know, you got it. This kind of hope for the best. So, yeah, there's those are my, my examples I would say.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:27:39):
Got you. No, that's good. One I liked, I liked the open honesty because I think I discussed it last week with when Sean Johnson was over. I was on the call is
Quincy Amarikwa (00:27:54):
Quincy Amarikwa (00:27:54):
The way in which you're able to grow and to move forward is to be honest with yourself
Quincy Amarikwa (00:28:01):
Quincy Amarikwa (00:28:03):
And be willing to put the work to overcome whatever lack of work you did, whatever lack of understanding that you had or lack of advantages that you may or may not have. Right. each person's experience is different for different reasons. And what works for some might not work for others. So what have you felt you've learned over the core? What do you, what do you feel is your advantage? What do you feel? Yeah. What do you feel is your mental advantage? Why have you been able to make it to your end and why and why do you believe other people aren't able to duplicate what you've been able to [inaudible]?
CJ Sapong (00:28:44):
Okay. So I'll start with saying, having gratitude for my position to be able to play soccer for a living. But how that translates on the field for me is I've always, once I knew once I was in between the white lines, I was going to work as hard as I could. That's one thing that through my fitness or training I accurately, hello? Yeah. I can pretty much accurately assess, you know,
CJ Sapong (00:29:17):
The threshold of workload I can take it at. While I do manage that in a game, I still try to give a hundred percent effort in the little moments. And I think keeping
CJ Sapong (00:29:31):
Staying true to that mentality win, lose, draw record breaking season,
CJ Sapong (00:29:39):
No goal season. That's
CJ Sapong (00:29:42):
The thing that coaches,
CJ Sapong (00:29:44):
So other teams, teammates have really resonated with the most. And, you know, I feel like that's a main reason why I, I'm still, we
Quincy Amarikwa (00:29:56):
And we haven't played on the same team together at all. But I think for me, I feel like I've been able to have a good, get a good assessment of who people are and what it is that they do, what they stand for from an outside view looking in. And I would, I feel like, I feel like I would expect nothing less than an answer like that. And it makes me want to then ask, I I see that last year you are the leader in goals for Chicago, correct? Yeah. MVP.
CJ Sapong (00:30:35):
Quincy Amarikwa (00:30:36):
Team MVP. And now we've gone through an entire preseason and in the first, and I might be putting you on the spot here, but in the first week, first home opener of the season, you're not in the 18. What, how do you process that? Fact
CJ Sapong (00:30:57):
[Inaudible] you know, and I'll take it even deeper because that fact is from multiple other moments, right? As you, the season ends, you're in off season signings here, signings there, preseason working, preseason, preseason game preparation. You know, and, and while I unfortunately have a strange old bleak at the moment I've been in those situations before before. Right. So it's, and I, and I actually thank you for framing the question in that way cause that brings another aspect of my being another characteristic of mine that I also feel like is responsible for me being in the league for so long. It's handling adversity, you know, and understanding that I actually enjoy being the underdog. You know, it's interesting to say, I mean I like being overdog as well. That's really, you know, if I to be completely honest and I look at, you know, my career and on paper, it's like the times I was expected to do great and was given all the opportunity.
Speaker 3 (00:32:14):
I, I would say I definitely performed and, and maximize potential in the moments when I was the underdog more times than I was the overdog. But it's, it's just a question because mentally, depending on, it's just like the information piece, right? Depending on how you take that in. And you know, first it starts from getting MVP and being and having the most goals on the team. If I take that at the end of the season and I say, hell yeah man, this is what I do. Like I ain't gotta worry about nothing. Like of course next year they got me, you know, like shoo, they bought to be calling right now. They said they want to give me a hundred to a hundred thousand trillion, you know, whereas me and knowing that how MSL works, I was like, well I did what I did for a season going to celebrate. And so kid marinate in that for these next couple of weeks when you know, I know it's close to time to get back.
CJ Sapong (00:33:17):
I'm the treated like the year one bro, you know, and I'm like I said, I've been in this position many times, you know, and when you're young, you know how it goes when you're younger, it's just like expected. And, you know, you come in for the DP guy that came from wherever and you have a good string of games, you're feeling confident, you're working harder than dude, and then he's back from injury and Hey, you know, whatever it is what it is, they, they gotta sell tickets. You know, like, unless I get the good Neves and just, you know, old dudes so they can keep that circulate and I get it, you know? But the response is everything. Do I, how do I start to become an asshole in the locker room? Do I start, this is a thing that happens in the league a lot.
CJ Sapong (00:34:04):
Do I project it onto the player? You know, why in any way, should I be projecting my own for the frustrations I have with my own reality onto somebody else who is simply making do with what they've been given? You know, that's one thing I saw. A lot of people will be asking me questions like, Oh man, dude, don't you kinda like wish that that person doesn't score? Sometimes I'm like, nah, hell nah, we're on the same team. I want win. Damn it. All right. So, no, but it's interesting because I also believe going a little deeper, that's where people like you and I are in this position, you know, there is there is an innate quality of us that we pushed towards and the jealousy comparison. But these are all just at, at the root form us wanting to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and wanting to be counted on.
Speaker 3 (00:35:07):
So if you can see it from that perspective and say, okay, if I'm not, like for instance, I wasn't in the ATN but I got to travel with the team first game they made, they let everybody travel, keep the team spirit high. So I'm now starting to look at, okay, so what can I do to continue to help my teammates to continue to bring an energy that I feel like is going to be beneficial? You know? And it was wild because from that perspective, I've, I'm blessed. I haven't been in that position many times where one,
CJ Sapong (00:35:38):
I'm not an 18 or two, 19, 18, and I'm still in the locker room. Like during the preparations. And I, you know, I'm like talking to the, the fitness trainers, you know, the medical staff. I'm like, okay, you guys making sure this is there, that's there. And then, you know, looking at the guys and I had to start hyping them up a little bit cause you know, it's especially over round, round this way, you know, rebrand, pose, Chicago, fire FC, let's go Seattle Sounders defending champs. ESPN first day. What's up, you know some guys in there like, all right yo look what's going on here.
CJ Sapong (00:36:25):
Come on this not do this for six weeks for this like is this, this is the fun part yo like turn the music up, you know, let's get hype. Come on, you know like fitness train. It's like yeah I know. Why is music so low? Like turn that, join up. People start moving a little bit. I'm like, there we go. You know, and that's an opportunity there where I could have been salty, you know, sent off in a corner. Like nah, I should be playing or I'm mad at a minute or whatever, whatever. But it's making the most of your situation. I agree with that.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:37:03):
Oh, more than more than I could ever express in sentences. Right. but one thing I would love to share with you, right, that may be helpful on your journey here in the future is my question to you to think about is how could that be viewed as a bad thing?
CJ Sapong (00:37:25):
Mm Hmm. I like that the, so there's, there's many many aims for this one in my career I've had coaches on both sides of the fence when it comes to jovial, outgoing nature in the locker room, right? Stuff people might think I'm not focused because I'm, I'm dancing and I'm smiling and I'm happy, you know, and where I personally was able to, and this isn't, and it's interesting you frame that the way you did because it's something that I think once I encountered it enough, I developed my particular response, which was, forget you, I'm going to be myself. You know? And, and I say leading up until now is what was necessary for me. You know, just cause in those moments I was finding
CJ Sapong (00:38:36):
My own is still understanding my, my worth and my value. And whereas now you posing that question, I think about it better. I'm like, I do definitely think more of how I can make sure that the way I'm projecting myself is for the benefit of, of, of people around me. Fortunately, this team, this group of guys are somewhat like that as well. They're, you know, there's not too many guys that are turning the music off. Don't talk to me. I got my headphones in, you know, but, but I will say it is important to allow people to have their own experience and, and not projects, right? Too much of your, your experience onto there cause you, you really never know, right?
Quincy Amarikwa (00:39:30):
Yes, yes. I know. I've had to learn a lot of these lessons the hard way, right? Made a lot, made a lot of mistakes, but I'm grateful for my mistakes. So we talked a lot about that here. MSL mentalities make mistakes. That's how you, that's how you learn. That's how you make progress. How quickly can you learn from your mistakes and how, how can you, how can you share what you've learned in a manner that will be received by the person you're sharing? You're, you're, you're sharing it with,
CJ Sapong (00:40:08):
That's the next level. And the light changes. Your reality changes your experience because one year you're giving other people the opportunity. But I think in that, when you're leading by example and that way of communication, it really allows people to settle in and be, be a little bit more comfortable because again, we do react very impulsively and emotionally when we're uncomfortable, you know, or we don't know something, you know? So that's a hat tip to you. My good sir I'm on that same tip as well out here, just trying to continue to develop and hopefully the viewers and all those tuning in can do the same and we can start changing things up out here.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:41:02):
Okay. I like that where you said, okay, there's a motion response and and the way you're wanting to help facilitate that, I think you get a transition now within B over to how, how the viewers, people listening now here join in on the live and those of you listening in the future, which will be our past, think about that can get on the path to create your own reality for yourself. And I think a CJ, and this'll be a good transition cause I, I'd love to get your feedback on this. Earlier on I was, I was thinking it was a, a money problem, which is why I spent a lot of time focused on figuring out ways how to generate revenue. Money is a, is an issue and more so money financial illiteracy problem. So I developed out a program for financial literacy and a lot of my friends and teammates and family members have gone through that helps them.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:42:03):
Right? But that wasn't solving the overall problem. What I, what I realized having done that and work with people for a while, it wasn't a, it wasn't a financial problem, it was a time management problem. So it was a time literacy problem and that's where we came up with the time management worksheet. And and that's something I have as a requirement of my mentorship, my mentor, and my mental training consulting program. As you are aware, because you've gone through kind of that process, so what was that experience like for you and talking about getting uncomfortable and the emotional response was that with that, what's your mindset first going in and then what's your mindset once, once you started, once you're introduced to kind of what the program is, how it works?
CJ Sapong (00:42:53):
Yeah. So woo. Talk about emotional responses that I add in multiple aspects of my being. So going into it, you know, you're saying the thing is financial literacy, you know, I'm reading all these langues, seeing real estate investing, you know, you're saying a lot of things that I've heard before, and then boom, here comes something unknown, unknown to me at that time, right? Yes, I have my own definitions of time and you know, I, I definitely am out there when it comes to my definitions of time and my understanding of it, because no matter, I realize now once I saw that sheet, no matter what my synopsis of, of a certain topic or a certain aspect of my experience is until I experience it, until I really dive into it and implement it into my life. I don't know, not nothing like this once I thought that is wild because I found myself making excuses as to why I couldn't even complete this thing, you know, so one, now I'm looking at my day and I'm recognizing how much time I waste. So that was actually some somewhat easy for me to get to because I knew that already. But then it was having the I don't want to say wherewithal, but the discipline to keep it going for
CJ Sapong (00:44:32):
Consecutive days. Right?
Quincy Amarikwa (00:44:34):
CJ Sapong (00:44:36):
Every day is different. Right. You know, and I'm in my off season and then I'm in Europe and you know, I'm telling myself, Oh, I'll just wait till I'm bad. You know, like when I'm bagging, things will settle down. I'm like, but complete it is a, I'm like, at the end of the day, this is life, right? It, it is going to be there is unpredictability to it. And if, until you can ensure that your, your armor, your tools, your weapons, whenever they need to be, are Polish the counted for, you know, they're gonna work, you know, your understanding of the nature that you, the, the lands that you're traversing, that's ultimately the, the way that you ensure that you're going to maximize the, the beneficial or maximize the potential of your experience. So yeah, that, that was a very humbling experience for me.
CJ Sapong (00:45:43):
And for all you out there. If you haven't tried to join Quincy's mentor mentorship, I highly recommend it. I'm still a student myself, you know, and understand it. It's not supposed to be easy. But again, it's your, it's, it's up to your response for me. Is it a little bit easier now to get back at it? Cause I know my schedule. I know, you know what day, what time trainings are going to be for the most car. And I am a little upset with myself that I waited this long because I think it would have been really good for me to do it in the tornado and try it. I might've not actually completed it or I might've had adjustments afterwards. But to be able to create your own kind of I the store if you will, I think it's a very valuable tool to have as, as an individual.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:46:44):
I, I greatly appreciate your, your honesty and your willingness to share your mistakes and your experience. And I hope, I, I hope in you doing so and us even having this conversation here, it encourages people to realize that there's a lot of strength in vulnerability and everybody is having, having moments of doubt and excuses and, and figuring out ways to justify why you don't do the things that you know you should. And I, I I commend you for that man because I, it's not, that is not a easy thing to do. But once you, once you do it, then you understand, you understand what it brings back to you. And I love, I love seeing it. So, okay, we've got, we've got about 10 minutes here left and I want to kind of do a couple of things. One, let's see, we've got some questions and I'm going to look through some of the questions that we've got. Earl's dropped in, so Earl picks out some of the questions from the community. They're here. Justin asks 1130, Justin asks, what's your most memorable goal?
CJ Sapong (00:48:00):
My most memorable goal? Actually, hold on, let me get this chat out the way. Before I was just saying some thank you's to the lovely viewers for saying such nice things about me.
CJ Sapong (00:48:14):
Oh, there you go. I appreciate it.
CJ Sapong (00:48:17):
That child. Okay. So my most memorable goal, I'm a one up there. I'm going to do a memorable and then memorable. Slash favorite? No, most memorable is my first goal in the league. I somehow snuck into the starting lineup of Sporting Kansas city. Like I literally went from third street to starting within a week. And a half and I'm just like a wide eyed person soccer player that I know I step on the field, I'm winning head balls and two minutes in, you know, like a boss floated into me. I try to flick it into the box. Flick doesn't really come off, but I kinda collided with the defender. He goes off balance and the ball bounces in front of me. He goes to clear it. I just take a little touch over his foot. It's smashing near post with my left foot and square up.
CJ Sapong (00:49:20):
My first goal in MLS will always be with me. But memorable and favorite one was actually against San Jose. I don't think you were there. You were at Chicago at this time. Kei Kamara, this is back when it was me, Kai, Teal on, on Sporting Kansas city. The front three and Kei got the ball around like midfield. You like took a touch and I was playing wing at the time. This is my second season and I'm just running, trying to get into the box, you know, to be an option. And he just played an amazing curly ball from like right side of the field towards the back posts of the goal and I just one time left foot if all the near post and boom, that's five says it. Okay, well speaking into existence. Hey brother, I come on. Good boy. That'd be good.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:50:22):
Yo shout out Kei for those of you don't know Kei's joining us on next week's episode of the hashtag soccer Porsche. So loving that. Amazing. You said hit your shin bro.
CJ Sapong (00:50:36):
All I know is that thing went in and you know I had a low back flip after that. How do you get your fans fans, you know Kansas city [inaudible] fans, man, they, they are another level. I owe a lot to them to be able to have those experiences early in my career.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:50:58):
So that's awesome. Let me see, I got a, Claudia said, I know it isn't a question, but I love you.
CJ Sapong (00:51:05):
Oh, I knew that I would get that. I get ya. Aw, hi. Legitimately love you, right. I actually do. So just know that when I'm saying this there's nothing but love projecting from this being
Quincy Amarikwa (00:51:22):
That heart button, if you guys love him that how do you, how do you guys, so so CJ, how do you feel and respond to hate speech online that you get online like Quincy got today? Okay. So let's just talk about some of the stuff that came out today. How do you feel and respond to that?
CJ Sapong (00:51:41):
You know, it's interesting. It does depend on my mood. I will be completely honest and say I wish I had a like standard response all the time. Mostly I ignore. However, I do believe it's kind of important to speak your truth if it's what you feel is necessary. Granted, it's not for me. It's not about changing anybody's mind cause you are entitled to your opinion. You're entitled to your views. However, I do feel like us in particular when we're in these positions where a lot of people can actually hide, let's cause be honest, that's what they're doing. Hide and say all these things that they would not say to you if they were looking at you dead in your face. I think it's important for me within, you know, this is just my beliefs of energetic equations and in your power and giving it away to people when you know, you just allow them to say all types of function about you. I'm like, Hey man, I'm a human being as well and I, and I'm gonna let you know. You know, and once I say my response, I'm done. I don't do the back and forth stuff. Well there's been again,
CJ Sapong (00:53:01):
Well I will go back and forth with them
CJ Sapong (00:53:03):
If in their opinion they are still able to be civilized and communicate in the right way. You can disagree with me all you want. If you actually can speak to me like a civilized person, we can go back and forth, you can listen and then speak. We can go on for days because I believe that in that manner we're both in a positions to grow.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:53:28):
I respect that. I agree with that fully. I've been having a lot of great conversations with individuals, especially with all the kind of news new cycle that's been going on.
CJ Sapong (00:53:37):
So what happened? I, I thought something happened, with Charlie enlightened me.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:53:42):
Oh, okay. So, you know, Charlie, he's getting into the online game and stuff, you know, he's trying to, he's trying to build his brand and build his name and you know, sometimes you can easily shoot shots fired at people you don't think have any level of understanding or anything like that. You know what I mean? So like the idea of me being a potential solution to the problem that Atlanta is currently facing happened to be a preposterous, impossible concept to wrap his head around, you know, and we're good. Okay. And like like you understand everyone has, is entitled to their own opinion.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:54:25):
Right? But I do understand it, know my experience and I know and understand the amount of work that Adam had to do to get back to his position there. And for him to be as dismissive as he was at the idea of giving him an opportunity to play and start and get some games. I fully understand and know the power of these platforms and if he is not aware of those yet and understanding and in in the way in which he can be dismissive of the idea of Adam. People look to him as someone who knows what he's talking about and when I believe he's so casually dismissive of someone like him who I also see myself in, in terms of how hard we're working and what it is that we're doing. That's coming off as a position of entitlement based on your position of where you are, right? You haven't been in it, you're not in it anymore. And to not give a fair accounting of
Quincy Amarikwa (00:55:23):
What it took and what it takes for him to have earned that and to be there and what it takes and what it, what it is for me to, to have an opportunity to do that. There's a lot of sacrifice. There's a lot of things that we're putting on the line that we're wanting to do to be there and you know, with where the league is in terms of its growth and we're trying to drum up attention and we're trying to bring those types of things. I don't believe you have to tear those down for the reason why it's been built up in the first place. I think a lot of people are being very dismissive of American talents, domestic talent and veterans because it's easy to take a piss on everybody. And for me, I'm just going, if you keep that same energy when you see me face to face, but that's not going to be the case because if you won't even engage me publicly online, it tells me everything that I need to know. Yup. Yeah. Yeah. So that's, there you go. That's it.
CJ Sapong (00:56:21):
Good to hear. I'll be tuning for some entertainment.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:56:24):
Hey, I'm, I'm hoping that for me, I love to engage. I saw Barnes Darrius Barnes. I think he's boys with Charlie. I don't know him personally, but he's dependent his voice on Twitter, which I think is great. Amazing. Hey listen, you're saying he's entitled. It was out of context where he's dropped jumping in. So gave him some context. I think you saw the context and was like, okay, Hey, you know what I mean? I understand it's all love. And I'm like, yeah, me too. Like I don't believe we all need to tear each other down to, to make this work.
CJ Sapong (00:56:57):
People down to get views, bro. You don't need them to take a piss on people for the clout. There's way too, too many good things. And like you said, Charlie, who should know he was in this league, there's a lot of people working hard, you know, to get to or stay in the positions they're in. And like you said, you can have your opinion, but to dismiss the dismissive aspect of interaction as you human is a, is a tricky and dangerous one because you're literally invalidating, validating people and what they are not necessarily accomplishing, but the work and effort they're putting into this shit.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:57:33):
Correct. And the main thing is we could have put in that, just like using your analogy on the soccer field, right? Like I could work just as hard to get that coat, same position as you, but if you [inaudible] Oh, someone I don't, you're in and I'm not, it has nothing to do. I could have a hundred games and you have zero, but your dad knows the guy who runs the organization. And a lot of people are discounting that. And that's where I'm saying, Hey, listen I know most people online are pretending I'm not pretending online. This is who I am. When they hear me speaking, they think, Oh, I'm taking a pitch and I'm joking and I'm going like, no, I'm not. I'm, I know you think I'm a joke, but I'm not joking.
CJ Sapong (00:58:16):
Quincy Amarikwa (00:58:17):
You know, Hey, that's fine. That's fine. But they see when they see me staring at his laptop and pick up joking, I'm not joking. I don't know him. I've never seen him play until that day. He doesn't impress me and that me thing, everybody thinks I'm just, Oh no, that's facts. Yeah. Zero goals. You do not score, I've, why am I marking you on corners? But anyway, Instagram will probably kick me off here in a minute. I definitely think we should reconnect here again in the future. Definitely have a conversation I really enjoyed having you on man. I know people are going to love the knowledge bombs and the experience that you've shared with us today. Is there anything, and it might kick us off in the middle here, but if it does is there are actually I don't want to do that because I don't want to lose the live so I'm going to, I'm going to kick out so I make sure that we don't lose this. Okay. Thank you very much for joining and brother. We'll definitely have your again soon.
CJ Sapong (00:59:13):
Sounds good I look forward to it. Appreciate you. Appreciate your mental strength.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:59:23):
Mental strength league baby.
CJ Sapong (00:59:24):
Let's go holding the phone.
Quincy Amarikwa (00:59:33):
Let her up. All right guys, that was an amazing episode of episode 60, the #how, the CJ supply Chicago fire legend. Make sure you guys follow him and check out the replay. Head to perfect soccer skills.com/start here, create yourself a perfect soccer team membership account for free. What was I gonna say? Subscribe to the podcast. Re-Listen. Share with someone you know who needs to hear this and get this in the hands of people you care about because we're here to grow the community, grow our minds, and accomplish our goals. Thank you so much to everybody for joining in. I'll see you guys next week.