Hi again everyone. Coach Rob here with SoccerTech!
This past weekend started another MLS Season. It was so cool to see Atlanta United with over 50 thousand fans at its home opener and seeing Orlando with its new soccer stadium and having over 30 thousand fans supporting the team. It was also great seeing some of my pro players that I train during the offseason.
As I was watching some of the games and also switching back and forth with the English Premier League and the Bundesliga, it reminded me what the MLS game is missing. It’s not the fans, the stadiums, or league structure, it’s missing “special” players.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the best professional players in MLS and top national team players from both the US and Canada. I’ve also been able to travel to Europe and observe what some of the top clubs such as Ajax, PSV Eidenhoven in Holland, AC Milan, Cheivo Verona, and Atalanta in Italy, Barcelona in Spain, and Benefica and Sporting Lisbon in Portugal. Each of these European clubs has the same vision and direction. They want to develop “special” players. Through all of my observations and working with players, I’ve come up with some keys concepts that define a “special” player:
In order to be a top level player, you have to be willing to commit to being the best. That means that you have to make some sacrifices in your personal life. That could mean not hanging out with your friends as much as you like or going to every party. The best players will make time to commit to soccer.
You have to be willing to do the little things like getting enough sleep, stretching on your own, and staying away from drugs and alcohol.
You need to understand how your body works and what type of fuel (food) is needed to make your machine (body) run. I heard this saying many years ago: “You are what you eat.” If you eat burgers, potato chips, soda- it might not necessarily be the right “fuel” for how you expect your “engine” to perform.
Players need to be a student of the game, a player who is constantly learning. Understand your strengths and weaknesses in your position. Understand how systems of play work. You need to be able to talk to your coaches, teachers and parents about the game and not be afraid to ask questions. Most importantly, be a well-rounded individual.
Are you willing to grind out the extra hard work? Spend additional time at practice? Are you willing to put in the extra work on your own to be technically great?
You have to trust in yourself to be a special player. Be a game changer by having the confidence to carry a team and win a game.
At the highest level, you have to be able to dribble, pass, receive and shoot with both feet under pressure. This takes years to master and the best way to do it is spending time on your own practicing soccer skills and techniques that make for great players.
Lead by example. Be the player that all players envy by always listening to the coach and always being the first one to practices and games. Be the person that stays after practice to get some extra work. A good leader also means being someone that your teammates look up to off the field as well.
Never be that player who is negative towards other players. Be the player that is humble but is hungry to be the best.
Becoming a “Special” player is hard work but has huge payoffs. Get out there and go for it! SoccerTech will be there to help.
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