Soccer is one of the well-loved sports in the world. Yet becoming a professional soccer player – and especially a good one (think Messi) – is not an easy feat. You need to train hard regularly, travel a lot, pay for soccer gear and membership fees, and have a really strong dedication despite the ups and downs. Also, most of the athletes enter their way to professional soccer through college teams.
So what do you do if college is just not an option for you? The following should give you hope that there’s still a way, even without college, as long as you give it your best shot:
Put in hours of hard work
Soccer requires a lot of physical and stamina training so putting in hours of hard work is necessary. There’s just no escaping it. If your goal is to be a professional soccer player, you should have trained for at least 10,000 hours already. Studies say this should be enough to hone your skills and reflexes.
It’s even better if you started playing at a young age. If you can, get yourself a soccer mentor who can watch over your daily training and track your progress. You’d also want an honest assessment of your skills.
Time can be your best friend if you make it one. Don’t just waste away the hours, train smart and know the training drills that will help you up your game.
Commit to the game
A burning motivation should be behind your desire to becoming a professional athlete. Aside from hard work and regular training, know the ins and outs of the game by filling your mind with anything that could teach you about the sport.
Make use of social media by studying the tactics, vision, and techniques of the best players. Know what the experts are saying. Think like how Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs or Andrea Pirlo would think. Breathe in soccer day in and day out. Know what the sport requires of you and be prepared to do it.
Be realistic enough that the road to becoming a professional footballer may not be an easy one. Decide early on if you’re willing to go through the challenges. Commit to your decision.
Train your mental stamina
Becoming a professional soccer player requires tough mental stamina. There would be plenty of instances when you’d just want to give up, everything’s just turning against you, and the goal is just getting farther and farther away.
The amount of physical stress and pressure can be enormous. These are the times when you’ll need your mental strength more than your physical strength to get you through. Keep focused and just trust the process.
An excellent work ethic can transform an average football player to one of the biggest names in the world. Most importantly, play for the love of the game.
Expand your network
Joining a soccer team or club is one of the best ways not to just develop your skills but also to get scouted for a professional career. Get yourself involved in the various soccer clubs or organizations in your state. Attend training camps and summer camps. Join matches and tournaments. Attend a paid pro try out.
If you know of soccer teams in your area, try to attend their games as often as you can. Watch how the best players perform and how the coaches instruct them. Try to get some tips on how their performance can make you a better player. Get involved with the best teams, the best players, the best coaches – always learn from the best.
Get to know the people who can help you achieve your dream and stay in their radar.
Learn how to attract attention
There are talent scouts scattered across the country always in search for the next big soccer player. The likes of Messi and Ronaldo have shown the world that the best ones could have come from anywhere. This means you just need to know just what qualities those talent scouts are looking for. What are the traits that get an athlete hired on a pro team?
Don’t just wait for things to happen, create an opportunity for yourself. Create a video of yourself playing soccer where you can flaunt your skills and upload it on YouTube. You will not only get an honest assessment from YouTube users about your performance but it might even land you a talent scout just like how Josep Minguella discovered Messi.