Weekly Review 24th – 30th October 2011 [off to scotland!]

04 November 2011

 Soccer Story

After training with Moses on Monday and Tuesday and resting on Wednesday, I woke up at around 4am, Thursday morning to go to the Budapest airport. After 7 or so hours, I arrived in Aberdeen and went to see Lenci for lunch. Then went off by train to Montrose where I met Tony.
” The first team players are part-time and get paid 50 quid a week said the assistant coach. “
Tony is a midfielder who’s a year younger than me. Nice guy and we get along well. Previously, Tony played for Fluminese youth in Brazil for two years. Fluminese is the same club who’s produced players like Wellington Silva for Arsenal, Fabio & Rafael, Marcelo and Romario to name a few. After a rest in the B&B run by a friendly married couple, we went off for our first training. We weren’t greeted with a handshake by the players or coaches and hardly any of them said Hi to us, we kind of got ignored. Different customs to Hungary, where it’s an expectation for you to greet everyone with a “Szia” and a handshake.
So we began training with the U17/U19 combined group. They were all decent players, probably just a small step under the Vasas U/19’s. As always, I had a little trial anxiety, but fortunately it’s not as bad as it used to be. During a rest break in training, I was talking to the assistant coach, and we were having a conversation about why we were here and stuff (he didn’t even really know). He said that I could play for the U/19’s, but the problem is you don’t get paid and even the first team players are part time and get paid 50 quid a week (I’m pretty sure he wasn’t sarcastic). After training finished, we found out that the next training isn’t until next Tuesday. So I was pretty frustrated and disappointed, but I decided to make the most of my time here by going off to stay with Lenci, my school friend from AISB who studies at the University of Aberdeen. It would also be a good opportunity for me to experience Uni life. So after staying two nights, I came to the conclusion that I really like uni life it and I think it is really a lot of fun. That life is something I should try and experience in my life or I will probably regret it. For example, I was at the Union bar (bar where students hang out on uni campus) and there were guys sitting at a bar table with free condoms spread out all over it. To the people you meet and just the overall lifestyle, it seems really cool. It would be my social utopia! I am seriously considering doing the following:
For one year of my life (or two or three depending on how I feel), I study at university, play football at the highest semi-pro/amateur level for example the English conference, Scottish third division, NSW Premier League, etc. Keep developing as a player, constantly working on my own so I can reach my full potential faster and not fall behind in growth, so when I’m 20/21/22 years old I have contract offers awaiting for me to play professionally! My business can be established by then too. Players that have done similar is Didier Drogba for example. He signed his first pro contract when he was 21.
Wikipedia: “Former Le Mans coach Marc Westerloppe later remarked that “it took Didier four years to be capable of training every day and playing every week”. Furthermore, Drogba’s complicated family life meant that he had never attended a football academy and only began daily football training as a fully grown adult.

By age 21, Drogba realized that he had to establish himself as a player soon or else he would have little chance of becoming a professional footballer. He made his first team debut for Le Mans soon thereafter and signed his first professional contract in 1999.

Miroslav Klose worked as a builder and brick-layer before starting football, and while playing at FC Homburg (who were in the 5th division of Germany when he played) in 1999. After this initial phase of developing his foundations, his talents were fully fledged and demonstrated suddenly and dramatically on the world stage at the World Cup 2002, where he claimed the Golden Boot.

Luca Toni, now 33, was a journeyman of Serie B and Serie C1 before signing for Palermo (then an ambitious Serie B outfit) in 2003. 30 goals in his debut season brought promotion and 21 goals the following year, his first inSerie A, brought acclaim. For Fiorentina he scored 33 goals and for Bayern Munich an incredible 39 goals in his debut seasons for the respective clubs. Luca Toni went from obscurity to being one of the most prolific goal scorers in Europe for five years (and this all happened after the age of 25 in the topflight.

Ian Wright came to professional football relatively late. Despite having had trials at Southend United and Brighton during his teens, he was unable to attract sufficient interest to win a professional contract offer. Reverting to playing for amateur and non-league teams, he was left disillusioned about his chances of a career as a professional footballer. A Crystal Palace talent scout, Peter Prentice, happened to see Wright playing for Dulwich Hamlet and invited him to have a trial at Selhurst Park. Having impressed then-manager Steve Coppell, he signed professional terms for Crystal Palace in August 1985, just three months short of his 22nd birthday. Good article on those players mentioned here. 

Van Nisterlooy started his career with second division dutch team Den Bosch when he was 19.

Kevin Phillips (born July 25th, 1973) was released by Southampton in his youth and signed for a non-league semi-professional side, Baldock Town, where he was moved to a striker role; eventually he was signed by Watford on 19 December 1994 for £10,000. He went on to play over 500+ games for teams like Sunderland and Aston Villa. He also represented England for a short time.

D.J. Campbell was released by Aston Villa when he was a trainee. When he was 18, he moved to English 7th division club, Chesam United. After moving around clubs in the non-professional, 5th – 7th level of English Football, he finally got his chance when he moved to Brentford when he was 24 years old! He later played for Blackpool in the EPL.

Maurice Edu is all the more amazing when you consider his story. Freddy Adu and Santino Quaranta were called into the US team at 16. Landon Donovan and Bobby Convey at 17. All of the previously mentioned players featured for a US Youth National Team before the age of 16. Maurice Edu’s first ever appearance for any US team was at the age of 21, in a full international against Switzerland. Maurice played three years for his college team (Maryland) and got drafted to MLS club Toronto FC when he was 21. He then signed for the famous Glasgow Rangers in 2008 and has made 72 apps for them since.

Anton Peterlin was playing for amateur teams in the USL and PDL and played for his American college team at California Polytechnic State University. It wasn’t until he was recommended by Graham Smith coach of the Fusion in the USL, recommended Peterlin to David Moyes, manager of Premier League club Everton. After impressing during a ten-day trial during the 2008–09 season, Everton announced on July 6, 2009, that they would sign him to a one-year contract. Since then he has played for Plymouth Argyle and Walsall.

Javi Varas arrived at Sevilla FC aged 23, after having only played amateur football in Andalusia (although he had been bought by the club two years earlier). He spent his first three seasons with the B team, contributing with 13 games in 2006–07 as it promoted to Segunda División for the first time ever, and training now and then with the main squad. Although he was spotted by his mentor at Sevilla, Pablo Blanco, when he was 11, Varas didn’t make his competitive debut for the first team until close to his 27th birthday. The highlight of his career has been stopping a penalty taken by Lionel Messi. This story is pretty inspiring, the story of a late bloomer in detail. Read more here.

So there are 10 players that didn’t go pro until late. Proof that I have every chance to delay and do the same! There is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Next Week: 
Have been watching the football and trained just about everyday. Just under 15 hours I’m guessing. Next Week will be under 15 aswell during this trial/learn period.

 

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In 2009, I was an average soccer player with a dream. I started this blog to document my journey from local underdog to getting offered over $100,000 in soccer scholarships, a contract to play professionally and the experience of playing in Europe.
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