Playing Football at the Beach

A Message to my Football Network

15 July 2013

For many of you it might be the first time you’re reading a blog post from me. Please do not close this or consider this as spam. I’m not selling anything to you, nor am I trying to make your day worse. If you’re reading this, we’re either connected on LinkedIn, you’ve emailed me, we’ve met before or you already follow this blog. My name is Nick Humphries, I’m a 19-year-old footballer from Canberra, Australia. I’ve trained and played in Australia, Hungary, the UK and most recently Holland, leaving all my family and friends behind to try achieve my dreams of playing professional football in Europe. I begun this blog in September 2009 and documented my journey from an amateur youth player who never got noticed by a professional club, to one year later getting offered athletic scholarships to play in The States, and two years later, a contract to play professionally in Hungary through constant improvement planning, hard work and belief. Currently I’m living in Amsterdam, and still haven’t got that professional contract that I desire so much. I haven’t given up or had an bad injury, it’s simply that the right opportunity to get placed in a club which will allow me to grow hasn’t yet presented itself.

As you’re a very important person in my network, I ask if you could occasionally offer your expert advice and opinion to point me in the right direction to reach my goals. If you’re not interested, I’m very sorry for bothering you and hope you enjoy the rest of your day.


This week I’ve been locked in my room working like crazy on this website. I went back and spell checked every single blog post that I’ve ever done (all 200+ of them), and changed some things so the posts would be easier to find in Google. I also published all the pending posts since November last year. The reason I put a hold on them is because of sensitive info that I would have preferred not to let people know about at the time,  like when there was talk of a potential opportunity working with a major brand like Red Bull. But from now on I’ll keep everyone, including the long-time followers of this story, better informed of my progress through weekly updates of my journey. Hopefully I can inspire or affect your life in a positive way in return for your support.

A few weeks ago I wrote about creating a new personal training regime to improve in this European off-season. I’m happy to say that I’ve enjoyed training by myself more. Having more structure and planning definitely made me feel better about personal training. Working towards a target makes you focus on doing everything in training to achieve that, rather than counting down the minutes.

We’re well into July now and that means pre-season has begun for most pro clubs. One of the out of contract boys I’ve been training, Ian, is on trial at Telstar. Hopefully he goes well and gets the contract he’s been working for all year. I’m still contacting people about trials, etc but not getting anywhere.. I was sort of planning to go to Australia to hopefully secure a trial at an A-League club next month – but money and connections are tight for the first time in a few years, so I doubt that will happen.
I’m continuing to read the book Talent Code and it’s a very interesting read. Like Outliers, it challenges the status quo on growing talent and getting better at what you do. Outliers changed my life 3 years ago with the 10,000 hour rule and now as we speak, Daniel Coyle’s book is slowly changing my perspective again, as we speak. I will make a post reviewing the entire book in a separate future post.

Playing Football at Zandvoort Beach!

Training this week went something like (Tracking and progress on the Excel sheet can be seen here.):
Saturday – Training C (cancelled 1/2 way through because I got kicked off the court), continued with 1 hour free training on open field.

Sunday – Gym Workout B
Monday – Training A


Tuesday – Training at beach all afternoon with out of contract guys. Training included:
– 1-on-1 practice
– 1 v 1 v 1 with 3 goals
– Beach Foot volley tennis

Wednesday – Training A

Thursday – fit for free training gym and weights and training A

Friday – 3 – 3.5 hr free training with out of contract players. Training Included:
– 45 min warm up, dribble, run, shoot, passing
– 1-on-1 practice attacking, defending and fitness/mental concentration
– Foot volley tennis competition
– Long range 50m  low passing
– Finished off with crossing and finishing

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – 2.5 – 3hr free training with out of contract players. Training included:
– 15min warm up
– Goal Competition (2x medium sized goals 15m apart, 1 player in each goal, each player tries scoring in other goal with max of two touches, other player can only block shots without hands.
– Kick-ass shooting game
– 1-on-1 practice attacking,defending and fitness/mental concentration


Goal Journal Updates

Long term goals
Play professionally by October 2013
Short term goals
1. improve my confidence on:
  • 1-on-1’s
  • Receiving with back to ball
    & become a more valuable player by..
  • Looking for more ways I can get on the ball

Getting better at 1-on-1’s, and find that I have a key advantage as I can shoot with both feet well and so the defender doesn’t know which direction I’ll go. Also learning not to stop or slow down as I’m approaching the defender.

Getting on the ball more by positioning oneself on edge of box for 1 touch, shot.

Making inside runs, you can get on the ball so much more as I found in training this week.
Coach pointed out to me whilst playing, don’t be static, move & move. I think he was right and just maybe the answer to getting on the ball more.
2. make a real habit of scanning alot
Slowly..I’m making this a habit.
General comment: Improving, and I really want to shine more out of tight positions.

3. Ongoing – Find out what makes great players, great. What separates the “great” from the “good”.
4. Defend better

a. communication
b. knowing who should be marking who.figuring this one out…
As a right winger I don’t think I really have problems defending. Communication also improving.
watch for preferred foot of the player
5. Build LinkedIn network
Doing this actively.
accomplished: be stronger off the ball, quicker plays, don’t let attackers run inside, play long ball forward instead of risky passback, be more explosive, plan better


Plan & Checklist – 15 hour based schedule this week, completed. Next Week is the same.



  1. John Gontier says:

    Fight for your Dream!

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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