- Skills - absolutely, D1 college players are among the best of the best.
- Speed - yes, soccer is a super fast game especially at the D1 level.
- Determination - yes, you've got to want it because there are plenty of players who will try to take it from you.
- Perseverance - yes, every career has ups and downs. Only the strong-minded survive.
- Toughness - yes you need both mental and physical toughness.
- Heart - yes, the desire to play has to run deep.
- Support - yes, you need people who believe in you
- A chance - yes, you need to get noticed.
- Size - no, not necessarily, but toughness is a must.
- Playing time in HS - no, apparently not. Some kids are late bloomers.
- Success at college showcase club tournaments - no, apparently not.
This story proves that all of the above is correct.
I was the head soccer coach for my older son's team when he was U10 to U13. The team I coached was the B team in a competitive select / travel soccer club. The A team was dominant. Every year, we would have a tryout and the A team coach would take the top 15 players. I took whoever was left.
The club was strong so, we had a few strong players on the B team. We also had kids with potential. Some of the kids had skills but no real burning desire. Some of the kids had loads of desire, but limited skills. Some kids were confident in their abilities and others lacked confidence. It was the job of the coaching staff to inspire and teach each kid and help them advance in the sport.
The coaching staff consisted of 1) a former Brazilian soccer pro who worked with the team on technical skills, 2) a former college coach who worked with the team on the tactical aspects of the game, 3) an affable, assistant coach with a passion for the sport and 4) me, a D licensed coach.
I think that we did a fairly good job. A few of our kids were promoted to the A team and eventually played significant roles on their HS teams. I always felt a sense of pride when the players from our team were highlighted in a HS soccer game recap in the local newspaper.
To keep improving in the sport he loved, he played every Sunday in a local pick up game against some really skilled adult soccer players from the area. The weekly games consisted of US players, who played in college and foreign players, who grew up with the game. With the encouragement of the older players, Brian played and improved his skills.
|Brian (in white) playing in pick up games against |
bigger and stronger and more experienced players
Brian, of course, accepted and for the next two months, he trained 4-5 hours a day, 6 days a week. The supervised training and nutritional program with structured meals of almost 5500 calories a day, helped Brian gain 17 pounds. Brian also improved his quickness and endurance (5 min miles).
To keep Brian motivated, the team did a smart thing, they let him sit on the bench during a few games.
He eventually started training with the team and played in a few scrimmages. He even started in a few friendlies over the last few weeks. His efforts on the field resulted in two goals and one assist. He was then offered an official roster spot on the team.
The Main Point
Don't let your kids give up on their sports dreams especially if they are willing to work hard and sacrifice to make them happen. Brian's story is not typical, but it just goes to show you that anything is possible.