An update of whats been going on (finally!)

14 July 2015

I haven’t posted in a while. I don’t have the time these days to take an entire evening off to clear my thoughts and write. So rather than take a couple hours to write a post which is what I usually do, I think it would be best to give you a quick update. Actually, I’ve sat down quite a few times to write these past few months but I just wrote a series of paragraphs where I never quite finished writing. Below are some excerpts from some of these posts so you can get an idea of what has been going through my head recently.

April 2015

“Today I came to a very low point in my career. 

Whilst I am reaching the highest of highs off the field, my on the field story is far from a happy one.

Let me tell you the background story so you understand where I’m at. 

When I arrived to Switzerland two months ago to start my last semester of theoretical study in university, I began training with two teams.

One of them was in the 1. liga (3rd/4th tier of Swiss football) and were in the same league as many professional teams fielding out their reserve or U/21 sides. 

Another was in the 3.liga (7th tier) and I considered this team to be my backup option if things didn’t work out with option 1. 

Long story short, I performed really well in training with the 1.liga team, had a rapport with the coach and they tried to make arrangements for me to join, but there were some transfer deadline barriers, so I ended up having to join the 3.liga team which wasn’t so bad anyway.

After having some training sessions early on with the 3.liga team, I believed I was the best player and thought I could use the rest of the season to play games, make an impression, build up my confidence and join the 1. liga team next season. The coach and the president were also really confident about me and I was put on the pay roll earning some (small) $. Awesome I thought!

Well, after a good start – my situation with the team deteriorated and today was another depressing moment. Now, two weeks ago I played and got taken off at half time. That was frustrating. Today, I got taken off within the 1st half. I am demoralised as fuck. The feeling to get taken off in the 1st half is bad and has happened before, but with a team where I felt just a month or two ago I felt so confident I would be the best player there? 

After getting taken off, it was very hard to crack a smile. I was pissed. After the match had finished I wanted to get out as soon as possible and I ate my dinner depressed, by myself at a Mcdonalds thinking what on earth is happening.

At the start of the season, my teammates in Amsterdam played against Ajax in front of thousands and was broadcasted live on national TV. Knowing that I could have been picked for that game was hard to take.

But today, playing in this crappy league with even a few beer bellied teammates around me. Man… how?

And it sucks with all the staff at the club knowing my background and expecting much more from me. Sure, it feels good being paid to play, but when you feel you are not meeting expectations.. the earning is not as sweet.

Enough complaining, why is this happening? 

I am in good shape. No injuries. Over the past weeks, I’ve been putting my performance first and recovering better through more sleep and rest. I’ve been feeling good. 

There is a problem with the coach. He is one of these dictators and has his ‘favourites’ that have followed him team-to-team for several years. He also speaks absolutely no English so I can’t really talk to him or build up some kind of relationship. 

Okay the coach situation is not favourable and you can always blame the coach for your failures, but I’ve learnt in the past, if you make a very good impression – you will play, regardless of your relationship. 

The fact of the matter is, I have not been making a wonderful impression. I have not been scoring or creating chances. 

So why haven’t I?

  • I was put in the wrong position to begin? Centre forward. I don’t like having my back to goal. 
  • Lacking in confidence
  • Fear I will be taken off early

Am I playing to my strengths? shooting, speed, dribbling, crossing, long balls. 

Lack of understanding with team mates – they are not intelligent enough. Quality is not there. All play is very scrappy, and I’m not used to that. It’s crappy long ball after another and chasing the scraps. 

What’s next?

I am actually not playing that bad. I probably just need time to adjust. But a lot can be done to improve the mental side and my confidence.

**A few days later.. 

It’s all mental. My problems are all mental. In my head.

After talking openly with my coach today about how he felt, and how I felt and made it clear what his problems were. Something just happened. I suddenly just gained more confidence. We played and my fear of making mistakes went out the window. I took players 1-on-1, I scored and I assisted.

And it became clear to me. It’s all mental. My one biggest problem is the fear to make mistakes. I have all the talent, I built up the intelligence, but the rest is in my head. I need to just not care.”

22nd May 2015

“I’ve grown month-by-month, year-by-year as fast as possible in all areas of my life in an effort to become the best version of myself 

Now I’m going to begin an internship at a huge investment bank in one of the financial capitals of the world, Zürich working in a pretty much perfect position, where I’ll be able to learn, gain experience, connect with a lot of smart individuals (I hope) and it seems I will love what I do.

I’m lucky. The next 10 years could be the ‘balling level’ of my life. The next 6 months will allow me to start to affording many of the material things I always wanted, the trips and vacays, dinners, the status, the lifestyle. 

Provided I impress at the bank in the next 6 months, I can earn a full-time contract and earn even more ridiculous money and opportunity.

For many, this could be the moment where you go.. I’ve made it. Let’s enjoy the next 5-10 years because you’ve worked tremendously hard to get here. 

Sometimes I feel this way. Sometimes I also dream of a moment of clarity where I feel I can be at peace with myself and my accomplishments. To be like, now I can clear my head and be really happy with myself. 

Many will comment on my life and say you’ve achieved a lot! “You should be proud.” I am, but I for one say things are just beginning.

I fear that the pursuit of success will take over my life (or it’s taking over my life already?). Perhaps it will cause regrets or irreparable relationships. Do I have to give up football? I am scared of losing things important to me because my passions will take over. Maybe I will never be truly fulfilled because I want to be great and there is no limit on greatness. There is no limit on potential. There is no limit on how far you can grow and succeed.

What price am I willing to pay for success? And maybe that’s going to be the biggest test of oneself. 

I’ve had these kind of thoughts for a few years now, and things get realer every month that goes by. Writing about this helps me clear my thoughts.

The pursuit of becoming a professional footballer helps realize my vision of having diverse and extremely unique life experiences filled with enormous challenge, crazy adventures, inspiring people and excitement. Working out daily puts me in peak performance in terms of mental state as well as physical health and confidence. Ultimately, football for me is about creating history. Doing something that hasn’t been done before. That’s HOW you become great.

Becoming the greatest relies on how I use my time.”

Today, 13th July 2015

So I found out that today, Bryan Massa, a footballer I’ve been following for many years officially gave up his pursuit to become a professional player. 

He posted a very relatable video where he seemed very sad. I really felt that I could be in his shoes saying the same things. 

It’s very hard not to get effected by seeing videos (or the BBC article he discussed) like this especially when you’ve been having the same thoughts. 

Bryan Massa says one of the reasons he didn’t make it was because of it’s luck and connections.

I beg to differ. I created all my luck, I created all my chances. I started this with nothing, just a dream and hopefully that’s inspiration for all of you reading. 

And the last six months, even though I don’t post about it, I’ve still been training week-in-week-out doing 5, 6, 7, 8 sessions a week despite all the things happening off the field.  

But at this stage of my life, I feel more and more that I’m loosening my grip on a rope that I’ve climbed higher and higher. But something is still holding me from falling and letting go…

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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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