Chapter 6: YOU BELONG – ROOKIE: Surviving Your Freshman Year of College Soccer
Preseason can be an extremely intimidating proposition. A lot of very good rookies crumble, and not because they lack talent. They crumble because they can’t get their head right. They’re so worried about disappointing their coach or pissing off their teammates that they never figure out how to present their best selves. They are so worried about being bad that they never get around to being good.
Listen to me: You belong! If that coach recruited you into his team, it’s only because he feels you can make his team better. Make preseason a showcase of your best self. Make it a showcase of your talent and your courage and your aggressiveness. It may work out the way you like and it may not, but when pre- season ends, you want to have a clear conscience about what you brought to the field every day, so don’t leave any bullets in the chamber! Make your decision before preseason begins about the attitude that you will bring into it. You need to choose the player that your coaches and teammates will see on that field. Don’t leave it up to chance; decide who you will be!
Will you make mistakes? Absolutely. Soccer is an imperfect game and you are an imperfect person. Don’t dwell on those mistakes or I promise that you’ll self-destruct. Coaches don’t expect you to be perfect, so don’t stress. Just do your very best with every chance you get. That’s the only way you’ll leave pre- season with a clear conscience.
Yes, preseason is an audition and yes, a lot of eyes will be upon you, but that’s just life and it’s no reason for you to crawl into a shell. Use preseason to do more than just play soccer; use it to announce yourself! Use it as a platform to prove to your coaches and teammates that you are a player who deserves to be taken seriously and that yes, you do belong!