Episode #5: College soccer or European soccer?

The thing with soccer in the US is that even though the intensity is higher from the ages of 15-24.. the system is built differently.
When your playing club soccer the ambition is to play well enough to get scouted by a college coach and play college ball.  And then when you turn 18 and go to college you play soccer for your school for 4 years and for most players that’s where the career ends because there is nowhere else to really go after that other than recreationally.

There is a big gap between college ball and professional soccer in the US for men and for women’s and its hard for average players so to speak to get anywhere serious with soccer after college.

No real clubs or consistent leagues or anything. In Europe however there are club teams all over the place, actually there are only club team and several leagues in each country who pay their players to play for them and take care of their players from the ages of 18 to even over 30. And not all of these clubs are “professional” so to speak, but in a way they are.

So the average, ambitious, level-headed player can get somewhere in soccer and be happy while playing for a much longer period of time.

That’s where I’m headed. I cant say that I am one of the best because I know that I still have a lot of work to do and a long path ahead of me. But I know where I want to go.

3 Comments

  • Jake says:

    Hey good friend! I absolutely love this video and your whole website! Coming from experience, collegiate level soccer taught me tremendous discipline and gave me a sense of community with my teammates. Besides that, playing soccer at the college level took away the beauty and natural feel of the game for me. I lost touch with what I fell in love with, which in looking back, was the passion to play the most beautiful game in the world. In club ball players could show emotion and personality while on the pitch. After my step into the collegiate level, playing became more of a business. The emphasis moved from passion and beauty, to what you emphasized. Fitness. Fitness became my life as a collegiate player. Though fitness can help tremendously, that seemed to be the only true goal for players, especially in spring training. When I trained in Italy, fitness was incorporated in small and big sized games. Here your fitness came naturally. In America, we have this notion that you have to be the biggest and most fit player on the pitch, which is only half the battle, as you know. In America, at least for me, fitness became a primary goal of mine based on what coaches looked for.

  • Jake says:

    Also, on another note… You are extremely right about what happens after college. The goal in America is not for you to pursue your dream of playing, but instead, the goal of playing in college is to prepare you for a job in your field of study. Options are limited for people like myself, and at some point, I have to support myself financially. Europe has so many options for players in my standing. Yes, I am not ready for the EPL, German League, etc…, but there are other options for me to support myself while playing the game I love at a lower level, whether that be a lower division or not. There is that option. I wish I had that.

  • Helenna Hercigonja-Moulton says:

    Hey Jake! I’m sorry for not replying to you sooner, but i’m so happy to see everything that you wrote! I love the input and especially your side of the story as a male collegiate soccer player in the US.

    I agree that when the focus is put so much on fitness that it sucks out the love and passion for the game actually because you lose tense of the tactical and technical aspects which are what make the sport so interesting because there are so many options and so many things that can be done within a matter of seconds.

    That is pretty much what happened to me, in the US i couldn’t really stand out because i might not be ready for US national team but that shouldn’t mean that i fall off the horse right? I want to keep playing and here in Europe there are just many more options to continue that career, and with an income as well. Payment may not be as good for women as it is for men but clubs can take care of their players and there is still a path of growth ahead for women’s soccer around the world.

    I hope that you can still hold on to that passion for soccer that you always had, if anything you can let it all out at indoor :)

    I’m so glad to hear from you, I hope all else is going well!!

    Thank you for the support!!

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