What separates most young soccer players who make it into a professional league from their peers who stop playing in high school or college is desire and passion. But if you want to join the ranks of professional players, you’ll also need to master some fundamental skills. Author Pedro Alves, who grew up in a family of semiprofessional and professional players, delivers inspirational advice and practical guidance in this manual.
You can learn how to
• develop or instill the confidence needed to succeed;
• recognize mistakes that prevent players from reaching their potential;
• schedule training and manage time;
• select the right position, coaches, and mentors; and
• live a balanced life as you work toward goals.
This guidebook takes you through an entire regimen of training, from age four to age nineteen and beyond. It’s also laced with examples of people who dared to dream big and succeeded.
Whether you’re a coach, supportive parent or young athlete seeking to become a better player, you can find a treasure trove of advice and information in The Journey to Becoming a Professional Soccer Player.
I have been a fan of football for many years—and a fan of sports in general—but football is where my heart is.
Many of us have come to call it soccer, and calling it soccer or football appears to make no difference—or does it?
Football is more than a sport to many people; it is a lifestyle, more than an entertainment, more than the score in itself. I remember watching matches in which the result was 0–0 and talking about them for months. Some live every moment of the game—the tackles, the offsides, the saves and the referee’s decisions, good calls or mistakes—and we even shout at the TV to tell the players to pass the ball or to shoot, and many times we jump to celebrate a goal! Football is the king of sports, played all over the universe by kids of all ages and men and women as well.
I coached kids for many years at different development stages, the youngest probably 3 years old and the oldest probably 19. During those years of coaching kids and coaching teams, teaching how to dribble, shoot and whatever was appropriate for their age, their technique, their level of playing, I realized that all players could learn and could reach very high levels, even becoming professional football players if they wish to and apply themselves. I also realized that many players had different skills and strengths, and the most skilled were not always the ones who had the most success.
I became very curious to know what triggers some boys and girls of about the same age, technical ability, endurance and speed and the same coach and teammates to do well while others do not. After analyzing, studying and coaching these players for many years, I came to the conclusion that the difference is how they prepare themselves before practices and matches. What was giving them more success than others with similar qualities was what they did on their own time off. What they did or did not do outside of football practices and matches was what gave them the advantage.
They are the reason I am writing this book.
Pedro Alves, a native of Portugal, grew up playing soccer every chance he could; his family included both semiprofessional and professional players. He moved to Canada as a teenager and has been a volunteer coach since 2003, helping young people develop their soccer skills. He lives in Toronto with his four children.