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1. Speed of Play
With anything, there is a learning curve. The jump from college to pros was one of the biggest for me. I struggled with connecting passes, completing dribbles, scoring goals. You name it I struggled with it. I knew at this point I had to adapt, or it wasn't going to work. The first thing I told myself was I needed to work even harder than I was. That was something I could control. In soccer and life, some things are out of your control, and that's ok. It is the things we do have control over that we must spend a significant amount of energy and concentration to achieve our goals. Eventually, through asking questions and consistently working on my craft, and was able to keep up with the speed of play. If you're moving up levels, don't get down on yourself. Keep your eye on the prize and enjoy the opportunity.
2. Soccer Expectations
Once you aren't playing for the university and you are now playing for your livelihood, the game changes. The game you use to play for fun has now changed. Yes, you can still have fun, but it's different because everything is results-based now. You're competing with people who have kids and a family. When expectations go up, your game needs to go up as well. Pressure is a thing; it's those who can manage stress within the game can be successful.
3. Being a student-athlete
In College, you have to hold up your end of the deal by excelling in the classroom and on the field. Now that you're a pro, school isn't a part of the equation. Now you have more free time, which means you need to use that time wisely. This time is valuable, and it has to be used to better you as a person and as a player. I'm not saying you can't have fun, but what I'm saying is spending countless hours on video games is not the play. Remember, soccer careers don't last long, so you need to think about the future, and this is the perfect time to do so.