Playing in Italy?

22 September 2013
Joining an Academy in Italy. Is it feasible?

Joining an Academy in Italy. Is it feasible?


The point of my development so far was summed up on Tuesday evening after training. I’m so frustrated that I’m not getting picked to start,  even after training and working on my game more than anyone else my entire time at JOS. So I asked the head coach, what is it I’m doing wrong? He replied in his uneasy Dutch English:  “All the parts are there. You can dribble, shoot, attack, defend. You’re fast. As an individual you have all the parts there. The problem is that all the Dutch players have learnt to play a certain Dutch way since they began playing. So I can tell them in one or two words what I want. With you it’s more difficult to explain.”
I said to him I’ll learn more Dutch, but you feel like the coach is always going to prefer the Dutch players anyway.


So when on Wednesday I got a phone call from Jason Mrochek, director at GISS America, I was pretty interested. Jason learned of me through  Vic Cleseri, a corporate guy in the football industry who’s been a supporter of this blog for a while now. So if you’re reading this Vic, thanks for helping me out with this mate!


GISS take international players into a full-time football environment in Ovada, Italy and market them to their network of professional football clubs and scouts. This is a similar concept to what the FootballCV academy do or more popularly known, the Nike “Chance” Academy. Jason asked if I was interested in joining them and of course I was. It sounded like the perfect full-time football environment I’ve never had and would be really vital in my development if I did. The only thing is I would need to stop studying, move to Italy and above all, pay 2000 euros a month to live, eat and train there. That’s money I don’t have and money I don’t think my parents could loan me either. The proposed plan would be to stay there a few months while I basically wait for a chance. i have to think about it a bit more and speak to a few people about it, especially the money part.


I also learned that one of my American teammates Hungarian agent/businessman, just bought Kaposvar (which funnily enough have a partnership with GISS), a Hungarian 1st division team. This American guys brother has just joined them over there and it seems likely he will move there with him too in December. It sounds like this new owner is pretty open minded into bringing foreign players in a similar circumstance to me, so that could be a possibility for trial right there. A return to Hungary perhaps?

On top of that, I’m still in talks with Rasmus and Blake of the 21st Club and Jon from Full Contact Law still has his word that he would fly me to Walsall to play in a trial match. Even more, are doing a campaign to get players involved with Lionel Messi’s agent and knowing the staff there, that could also be a potential opportunity.


I remember being frustrated about the lack of opportunities there was over summer, but now I’m really getting a bunch of leads. Hopefully these leads build into something more and there’s some more excitement next week.


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.
– Receive ball on touchline, rather than in the middle.
4/8/13 – Confidence definitely improving in one on ones as I practice them more and more with the out of contract guys.
12/8 – going inside more as a winger to make those cross field runs, I do get more touches on the ball that way.
25/8 – go inside, but don’t crowd other peoples space.
1/9/ – trying to make more actions. Really trying to turn on that confidence.
15/9 – does better improvement with confidence come from playing with other more and taking risks, or doing individual training?
22/9 – definitely taking more players on in training. More shooting and dribbling. Final ball is lacking at the moment.. which is strange because it is my strength.

2. make a real habit of scanning alot
General comment: Improving, and I really want to shine more out of tight positions. Getting better, but so difficult to make this a habit. Still making sure I’m purposely scanning in personal trainings and club training drills.
15/9 – if I compare myself now to this time last year, I definitely go inside more and lose the ball less often with my back to goal.

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

This kind of stuff usually gets posted on the Facebook page

4. Create more WOW moments! (making actions which make people go WOW!)

not yet..

5. Build LinkedIn network (new goal: Reach 500 connections with LinkedIn Network)
4/8/13 – Doing this actively and making good gains.
31/8 – need to build more actively.
22/9 – add 100 people next week.
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, defend better(1/9/13)



Next week

Monday: Morning – Training C & Workout B

Tuesday: Evening – Training with JOS & 50x first touch, dribble inside and finish in goal. Left/Right foot alternate (Training B Alternative)

Wednesday: Evening: Training A & Workout C

Thursday: Evening – Training with JOS & 50x first touch, dribble inside and finish in goal. Left/Right foot alternate (Training B Alternative)

Friday: Lunch: Damsko Session with out of contract boys

Saturday: Training  A

Sunday: Game vs ?

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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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