Soccer in the United States is another popular sport that attracts lots of attention, just behind Basketball and American Football.
The Popularity of the sport in the country has made more clubs emerge despite the nature and organisation of the top soccer competitions where relegation and promotion is not an option.
Instead, everybody plays professionally in an entirely different league. The Major League Soccer), USL Championship (Second Division), and the USL League One are all professionally run.
This system makes every team look equal, even though the maturity of the competition differs in each league.
The increasing number of followers has created the urge for young players to break into the scene. However, making it to the top-level looks difficult since the second and third divisions are professional.
Outside the U.S, the second or third division serves as starting point for upcoming stars.
This article outlines how young soccer players in the United States should follow as they bid to play professionally and earn decently.
1. Start young
The best time to kickstart your career is at your tender age. At this stage, you are more vibrant and open to learning and developing new skills every day.
These days, professional clubs are always on the lookout for young players that would adapt to the system utilised by their clubs before they eventually move into the first team.
Although this is not the thumb rule, it is a more recommended approach if you plan to play at the highest level in the U.S.
2. Travel to U.S cities with more soccer interest
The creation of The USL League One was to expand professional soccer in the USA to areas where ther are lesser or no professional team.
That is, the competition aims to help players in areas with no professional team to have the opportunity to play at that level.
So, if you reside in a location where there are no teams like that, you should consider leaving such a city.
Go to cities with more teams who play at that level have their base. By doing so, you are edging closer to your to playing professional soccer.
Top cities in the USA with high soccer following
- San Jose
- Los Angeles
For more, see Trulia’s Article
Know about LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC? These two clubs are based in the city of Los Angeles.
If you move to some of these cities, search for Academies. Hopefully, you’ll figure out how to join an Academy or the actual first team of a local group.
Tip: before you move out of your current city, first choose where to go, then research Academies, clubs and levels of soccer, etc.
3. Go for trials (paid and free)
The next step is to attend trials in cities with more soccer activities or any place.
Some of them may come as paid trials. Do not sleep, be on the lookout for these trials as they could accelerate your journey towards the professional level within a short time.
If you reside in cities like Los Angeles, Dever, Orlando, Atlanta or New York, etc., more chances of trials may come your way since bigger MLS teams have their base over there.
4. Join a college team
Another way to boost your talent is to apply for a scholarship in any college.
The Benefits of enrolling for College
- It helps to build your talent
The colleges would make it easier for you to boost your talent. While in college, you can learn new skills techniques from experienced trainers.
- Learning under professional coaches
There’s nothing better than when you play under professional coaches at this level. They’ll teach you all you need to know as an upcoming Soccer player.
- Chance to join the national team
The government-controlled College Soccer owns NCCA. If you succeed, you could play Professionally for a Major League Soccer club. Remember, in the USA, the top three divisions are thoroughly professional.
5. Join a team in the USL Championship or League One
Major League Soccer is considered one of the best soccer leagues globally, making it a unique and the best place to play.
However, there are other leagues like the USL Championship, USL League One and League Two available for you to play.
The competition in Major League Soccer is high. So consider joining teams in the USL Championship or the USL League One.
6. Be consistent
Consistency is the answer to your questions aside from the ways mentioned above. When there’s no consistency on your path, there’s no way you’ll live up to expectations when the need arises.
Try to learn new skills whenever you are on the training pitch.
7. Utilize group training
It is worth trying. Group training would help you learn new skills, patterns and techniques which would help you grow further.
Yes, you can train alone. But sometimes, group training is a great option too.
8. Develop a training schedule
This is another serious aspect of your career. I have friends who aspire to become professional stars in the future.
But, what i observed in them is consistency which I think is too low, but they’re always eager to play. It would help if you created a training schedule that will suit your everyday lifestyle since the game is not yet your primary career.
There are five working days in the week; you could also dedicate the times you are less busy to training.
9. Develop a passion for the game
One way to boost your interest and increase your zeal towards achieving your dreams of becoming a pro is to support a club.
I have friends with high Interest in Manchester United and Chelsea. They’re also aspiring to become greats in the future.
To boost your interest, you could consider supporting Los Angeles FC or any other club in the country. (Sorry I mentioned Los Angeles FC, I follow them).
10. Have the skill
Ensure you possess the essential skills every professional coach wants to see in you.
Top skills you should possess as an upcoming player
- 1. Locating your teammate in the perfect position
- 2. Good positioning
- 3. Ball Heading
- 4. Trapping
- 5. Defensive/Offensive abilities
11. Enrol for ODP
The U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program is designed to develop high-level players representing their states or region and the United States Soccer team in competitions.
If you are still below the age of 20, you can still enrol for ODP competitions.
How can I join the ODP program?
Simple, visit your State Association or search through the US Youth Soccer online directory or better still, you can call their telephone numbers.
Even if you do not make the final selection list, you are guaranteed more knowledge skills gained during the exercise.
12. Develop yourself on a particular role
You cannot grow if you have no role as a player. Please take a closer look at Clint Dempsey, DaMarcus Beasley, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo; they all have a preferred position they play.
Choose a particular position you can quickly adapt to. If you are good at attacking opponents, then stick to it.
Do not begin as a goalkeeper, and probably during trials, you choose to be an attacker.
13. Join a local team
There are still better options to choose from. You could still play for a local team and expect a change in your career.
It is possible. As long as you are exposed to the outside world, you could get a call up from a professional coach who’s been watching you in the months you’ve played with the local team.
Sometimes clubs send out representatives to training camps trials in search of talented players.
14. Eat right
As an athlete, you should eat right. There are several reasons team doctors do recommend so.
Always be on the lookout for food meant for athletes.
15. Accept the challenge
We all know the challenge to become successful. But that should not be your limit; constantly challenge yourself to work harder.
Never accept defeat; if you do it the right way, you end up successful, achieving your dreams in the end.
16. Check the official website of clubs
The majority of professional clubs in the United States have an official website. Most of the activities at the club are constantly updated on their website.
You can follow up with the latest development from clubs through their official website, including trials and recruitments for their Academies.
17. Establish contacts
For every trial training camp you attend, take it upon yourself as responsibly to obtain the contact information of fellow players or managers.
This way, you could get notified whenever there’s an opportunity available for players like you. You can also make new friends and share ideas with them.
18. Have a CV
Another essential requirement is your CV. Make sure you have a good CV you can present wherever you go.
19. Join an Academy
There are several Academies in the United States you can choose from. But it would help if you went for the closest to your current location.
What’s the essence of the Academy?
An Academy serves as a Link between amateur players with already established clubs searching for young and talented players to fill the gaps in their team.
It would help if you did not rule out that Academies are also important for career building.
Soccer in the United States is another lucrative sport behind Basketball and American Football. Soccer teams in the country pay heavily, and you could do something out of it.
Try to become successful by following the best approach as there’s no limit. Keep up with your consistency; you’ll surely achieve success in the end.