Soccer undoubtedly is the most popular game on this planet. Many kids idolized their heroes playing this game on the pitch and dream to play for their countries one day. The beauty of the game has made it highly omnipresent and thus competitive. For those who have dreamed to make a name for themselves in this game or to pursue the game as their career it is very important to know the steps and pre-requisites for the same. Without proper guidance and direction it will be difficult for a quality player to progress ahead in this challenging game.
A. COMMITMENT TOWARDS THE GAME:
Nothing is more vital than having true love and real passion for the game. You need to be very sure about your decision to play professional soccer. You must not feel forced or stuck with self– doubts.
It is necessary to have passion because it can help you endure the tough and the challenging times with hope.
It is very important for you to believe that soccer is more than just a hobby or a sport for you. If it is your life, you must have every bit of your soul to commit towards it.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about the game the more it will be familiar to you.
It is vital to gain as much knowledge as possible by reading books, articles on the game over the web, keep watching matches and follow the top leagues and also try to interact with the players playing the game at a competitive level. The biggest players in the game should be your inspiration and you must understand that their journey towards success wasn’t easy. Learn how they tackled all the hardships to make a name for themselves in the game they loved.
- Start Playing at early ages:
The kids tend to learn more technically as compared to the young players. Hence it is necessary to start playing soccer at an early age. Play it with your parents or friends and not necessarily for a team if you are very young. Opt to play for teams when reaching between the ages 5 to 14.
- Train hard:
Training is the ideal place to nurture all the skills of a player. That is the place where all the flaws are worked upon and the strengths are further sharpened.
If you have a serious desire to pursue soccer as a career in the future then it is necessary to devote ample lot of time towards training. Training from a small age can subject a player to good practical knowledge about the game if training under a good coach. It will also expose a player to the competition and the demands of the game. It is good to attend clubs, academies or soccer camps at an early age itself.
Also training under a coach would give the player an opportunity to participate in local competitions or leagues.
- Progressive Graduation:
Start playing for an academy and then eventually move into a youth team or a district team. It is very important to move into a bigger and a competitive team each time you level up in quality as a player.
Gradually you can move into a club. It is necessary to get exposed to more and more competitive players in order to grow technically.
If in the US, ample lot of opportunities are available that can let you earn a scholarship in soccer.
B. ACCEPTING THE CHALLENGES:
- Hard Work and Practice:
You must focus completely on training soccer with the motive of being a professional one day. You need to put tremendous numbers of hours into practice. Following a daily routine of practice is essential. Also important is balancing the practice of soccer with the daily routines like studies, school or even part time work.
For parents it is vital to encourage their children to play soccer. They must get in touch with the best coaches available, ensure that their kids get proper nutrition, make sure the kids devote a fair amount of time in the game apart from studies and also keep their children motivated to play hard and train harder.
The best things come with time. Turning into a great soccer player is a gradual but a steady process. Results don’t come overnight. A lot of regular practice, training, commitment and dedication go into the making. The process of learning never stops.
You must seek professional development programs and try to become a part of those programs. In order to be aware of such programs you must try to get valuable advice from coaches and clubs.
As you learn and grow as a soccer player, it is important for you to assess yourself along the way. Self-analysis can forecast a better direction overall. You must try to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Then you must sharpen your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
You must analyze the position on the field which you are most suited to play for. Then you must understand how well you are individually and how well you fit into the team structure. How you can change yourself to be a better team player. To get feedback from the coach about your game is a great idea as coaches tend to have greater knowledge and experience of dealing with the quality of several players. You must be open to negative feedback and willing to work on your weaknesses. You must try to obtain a specialization at what you do, that is you must be exceptionally good at a position.
- Strive for being the Best always:
Make sure that you are making your efforts count by being the best player on the field. That is the only way you can be very sure that all the training, practice and hard work is paying off. Don’t settle to be an ordinary average player who does well in games. Try to shine all the time and to be the best at the level in which you are currently playing.
To be the best is one thing, but to be consistently best is a totally different story.
- Communication on and off the pitch:
Be it on the field while playing the match or off it in front of the coach, it is very important for you to communicate effectively and courteously. You must communicate with your coach with manners despite of the situation. You must be a good listener to be a good communicator. A good communicator is often a good leader as he can communicate the problems of his team to the coach well. If a player doesn’t listen to others views and doesn’t communicate effectively is self-obsessed likely to have a bad attitude and temperament and he will always be a liability to his team.
- Maintain good fitness:
Maintaining a suitable fitness level is highly essential in the competitive and challenging game of soccer. You must have a complete diet which is fairly nourishing, you must have ample lot of sleep so that you are mentally strong and along with doing exercise regularly you must also keep yourself away from consumption of alcohol and other health impairing materials like cigarettes and drugs.
You must always try to keep yourself fully fit with a good enough physical shape and most importantly injury-free.
C. PREPARE TO BECOME A PROFEESSIONAL:
- Train individually:
It is not always possible to train at a club. So don’t restrict training to only at the club or academy. Even when you are alone, you can brush up your skills and try to get a feel for the ball. Play with your friends or senior players and constantly work on improving yourself technically. Be with the ball so much that it becomes an inherent trait of yours to control the ball, almost like a second skill. Always work on your weaker skills when you have time so that you grow in all the facets of the game.
- Mental Strength:
It is important for you to have composure and the mental strength to accept the harsh inevitable realities positively and strongly. As a player grows into a professional, he will face many problems like critics, short-term contracts, unexpected injuries and fan pressure. It is necessary for a player to believe in himself/herself and walk through these obstacles calmly with a strong mind without getting weak or depressed.
Consulting a Sports psychologist is a good idea as he/she can get you over these problems through appropriate strategies.
- Utilize your Club:
Your club can be a best platform for you to shine. It is the stage that can expose you to greater challenges and opportunities. Take part in the clubs trials and talent hunts. Clubs generally have a great network in the soccer industry and they can spot rare talent and refer them ahead to even bigger clubs. Make sure to know whether your club invites scouts to assess its talents.
- Expect that you are being watched:
Scouts visit the games of a club to find out talents that otherwise might remain unexplored. Remember to play a good and a fair game always. Be competitive and aggressive in a game without being mean. Confidence is a good factor that attracts the attention of any scout. A scout will not only assess your game but also your character, how good are you to associate yourself within a club and team structure. Your positive character coupled with ambition can lure any scout towards you.
- Be Adaptive:
The clubs and scouts would often want you to move to a new city or a country to play for their club. In such a circumstance you must not be stagnant or reluctant to relocate. They won’t bother about your personal life and your commitments but would expect you to move at the earliest.
Also you must make sure to consider several facts before moving. Whether you will be able to speak the language of the place you are moving into, how will you adjust in their culture, how much will you earn and whether the club you are moving to has a good medical facility.
Lastly, no matter how good you are, how well you play…it is very important for you to practice. Mastering Soccer is a never ending process, as there is always a room for improvement. You can refer the below links to become an even better soccer player and to enrich your soccer knowledge.
- Understanding soccer strategy
- Understanding offside rule in soccer
- Become an advanced soccer player
- How to develop good soccer dribbling skills
- How to choose a position in soccer
- How to do a rainbow in soccer
- Do a Ronaldinho elastico