Congratulations…You’re good at soccer! You’re exceptionally talented at the most popular sport on the planet, and you might even have the potential to let it take you all around the world. You can volley, you can nutmeg, and you can find the pullback pass as a defender charges at you, studs up.
But, as the old British soccer fan will say, can you do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?
While overly specific, they kind of have a point. If you take a step back and examine how and where you play your game, you might realize there are a few things that, while not hurting your game by any means, might be holding you back.
Think about it. You play on the fields you know, both for and against athletes and coaches you’re familiar with. You sleep in your own bed after games, or at a nice hotel at tournaments. You have access to your favorite foods, the comforts of home, and the safety of routine. Thanks to all of that, you’re primed to perform at your absolute best as soon as the whistle blows.
But here’s the real question: could you still perform at that level if you didn’t have any of those things around you? Now, because you’re an athlete brimming with confidence in themselves, you’re invariably going to say yes. Good, that’s the right attitude. Still, ask yourself: could you still dummy that charging fullback in a different timezone, after eating a breakfast of unfamiliar food, or with a disruption to your pregame routine? What if your opponents speak a different language? Worse, what if they’re better than you?
These are the questions that every professional athlete has asked themselves at all different levels of their development. You don’t necessarily need to have the answers yet, but eventually, all great athletes need to prove to themselves, and others, that they can perform at high levels in unfamiliar circumstances, against different competitors, and within new environments. Christian Pulisic, Patrick Mahomes, and Steph Curry knew they were supremely talented, but at some point they all had to prove that that talent is part of who they are, no matter where they go.
OK, so how do you test yourself? How do you push yourself so far out of your comfort zone that all you have left is you and your game? You challenge yourself every way that you can. You seek out other elite athletes, who will push you to find a level play within yourself you didn’t know you had. And most importantly, you take away the comforts of your routine by getting as far away from it as possible.
This is what you can do at IDA. It’s an opportunity to square off against great competition, make memories to last a lifetime, experience a brand new culture, and start to see that your talent and passion for soccer can take you as far as you will let it.
Start your journey today, apply now!