Zlatan in My Back Pocket #MSL>MLS I #AskASoccerPro Show Ep. 049


Welcome back for another installment of the #AskASoccerPro Show! This week in episode 49 we tackle the tough topic of Self-Reflection. As you can see in the title, we’re going to reflect back on a major moment for the MSL this season, when I put Zlatan in my back pocket.

I hope you had the chance to join the live episode last night. We were able to cover so much in just an hour! The topics we discussed include:

  • Introduction
  • Creating a Win-Win Situation
  • The $100 Example
  • Rumors!
  • Advice to Youth Players
  • Adapt or Die
  • Ego and the Learning Curve
  • Soccer is Subjective
  • Balancing Soccer and School
  • Where to Start with Self-Reflection
  • Zlatan In My Back Pocket

Make sure to catch the replay if you missed the live. Don’t forget, I go live on Instagram every Thursday at 6 pm PST/ 9 pm EST to answer your questions!

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Ego and the Learning Curve

Maybe you’ve experienced a time in the past when you’ve made a mistake. Now, you understand it was a mistake, and you’re working to move past it, but anyone who knew you at that time won’t stop bringing up the mistake you made and won’t move on. Maybe they even keep bringing your mistake up as justification for why they don’t believe you when you say you will do something.

Being disbelieved or doubted based on past mistakes is a very real problem. People do have every right to their opinion though, even if it’s wrong. If you are trying to bounce back from past mistakes, this situation can be very difficult to navigate and deal with.

With the MSL mentality, you can learn how to deal with others’ negative opinions of you. At the end of the day, if someone is wrong, they’re wrong. It’s only a matter of time before they learn and realize it.

If someone has a big ego, they generally are less able to self-reflect to see how they got where they are. It’s going to take them longer to come to the realization they were wrong, and the longer this takes, the greater the impact will be when they do realize it.


Many people who have made a mistake or who don’t want to admit they are wrong have the opportunity to acknowledge their error and overcome the situation by admitting to it and moving forward. Unfortunately, this is where ego gets in the way.

These individuals would rather fall from ten times higher and fall ten times harder than acknowledge that they made a mistake in the first place.

Our gift is that we use our mental strength to admit when we make mistakes, we learn, and we move forward. We aren’t afraid of mistakes either, we see them as opportunities to learn and take action.

Where to Start with Self-Reflection

Understanding our mistakes and moving forward from them stems from self-reflection. When we begin to self-reflect, we ask ourselves, “how could I be wrong?”

Now, most people are walking through life thinking they are usually right because of the information and feedback they receive from others.

I’m not saying don’t believe others, but I am saying that the only way I know to create a future win-win situation for myself is to ask myself, “At this moment, how could I be wrong? 

I can believe what I’m doing is right, and I can believe I understand that I am right. Even if I’m confident in why I’m right, I also need to spend an equal amount of time considering how I could be wrong, and what I’m unaware of that would need to be true to let me know I’m wrong.

My free agency is a good example of this. I started off the beginning of the year believing that I’m a much better player today than I was the year before. My approach to the game from a mental aspect is much further along than in the past. I understand my role and how to execute it, and I know how to perform in the capacity that I’m expected to.

However, I’m undervalued from the perspective of others. The things I believe to be true, my improvement, mental aspect of the game, and understanding of my role are not seen as valuable. I believe I’m not being utilized to the degree I could and should be. I’m seen as being in a downward trend in my career as opposed to an upward trend.

So, at the moment, I can believe that individuals who perceive me this way are wrong, and they can think they are right. Each of us is going to navigate under those assumptions. But at the beginning of the year, the difference between me and most other people is that I’m going to believe they are wrong, but I’m also going to prepare and put in the work as if they are right.

Zlatan in my Back Pocket


While I was doing the work I knew I had to in order to be ready, I went and shut down Zlatan. I denied him any scoring opportunities and confused him like a small child in the box and on corner kicks.

What was I doing marking Zlatan? There’s no reason a five-foot nine-person should be marking Zlatan in the box in one of the biggest games of the year, but I did and shut him down. I crept into his head and am still building mental space for everybody to come and enjoy and live in as they learn about the MSL.

It takes time to learn about the MSL, and I’m patient. But if you think about that point in time between Zlatan and me, it was an opportunity for me to prove everyone wrong. I had been putting in the work for six whole months at that point, having to work as if everyone was right, and I really was on a downward trend.

There was no way for me to know who was right until I had an opportunity to prove myself. That opportunity didn’t come until that LA Galaxy game. If at any point between the beginning of the year and that LA game I had felt sorry for myself or given up, or didn’t do the work to be ready, I would not have been ready for when my opportunity did arrive.

Without putting in the work, I would not have been able to shut down Zlatan so he was unable to score a single goal. That’s #MSL greater than MLS right there, right? Because this man claimed to be MLS and then he joined and saw the MSL. He panicked and he ran away from the middle of the goal on a corner kick play before the ball was even kicked.  

Before that match, I had never seen Zlatan play a single game in my life. I was expecting to be impressed and think, “ah, this is what everyone was talking about.” Nope. You can tell me Zlatan did this amazing play or made some goal that defied physics, but then he lost to the MSL.

Final Thoughts

We really covered a lot this week, and I’m so glad that you were able to join us. Self-reflection is such an important part of the MSL. If we don’t know where we are coming from and understand how we’ve made mistakes, how can we learn and improve?

I’m looking forward to seeing you all next week for episode 50 of the #AskASoccerPro Show! It’s going to be really special and my team and I have been working on some great new content for you!

Until next time,