We are living in an age where technology has permitted the most underprivileged individuals to realize dreams never once achieved before. The vast opportunities this world provides are at the disposal of every single citizen who has the ability to access an Internet connection. Just two decades ago these ambitions and aspirations which drive our human existence were once perceived as impossible.
We were instructed as children to push the boundaries of the implausible, disregard adversity and continuously strive for competitive greatness. Somewhere between then and now we have lost our belief system. We have misplaced the mindset we were once so privileged to receive, with something far more potent: doubt.
I was an unfortunate victim who fell perfectly into this category of hesitancy. Coming out of the womb with a ball at my feet and having the honor of participating in one of the greatest sports ever created, the only proverbial thought which remained constant over my 20+ year playing career has been to sign a professional contract. For countless years my mind has been continuously focused on achieving this one goal, a dream some may say, which has remained incredibly elusive throughout my whole life.
There has been countless instances where I have questioned my passion, obsession and love for this sport. Occasions where I have been on the verge of hanging up the boots and calling it a career. We have all faced adversity before. We have all spectacularly failed on more then one occasion. Some of us may have brushed off the tribulation, embraced the hardships and welcomed the pain with open arms. Others may have succumbed to the discomfort failing can generate and accepted a life riddled with mediocrity.
But have you ever given up on something you could never live a day without? Have you ever made a decision to forget about the one thing that invigorates you to overcome your deepest fears and darkest hours? According to the NCAA, less then 2% of all college athletes will sign a professional contract. In the summer of 2017 I made a whole hearted decision to not become a statistic. I made a choice that would change the course of not just my life, but also the lives of countless other individuals. I made a YouTube channel.
In August of 2017, in a dorm room in Columbia, Kentucky, there was a college senior sitting at his desk, hunched over in his chair, eyes transfixed on his computer screen. There was no Netflix or Reddit displayed on his monitor. No temporary form of entertainment was in the vicinity of his workstation.
What replaced the once dust covered Xbox and television sat a brand new contraption. Purchased the following spring, it had been left untouched for the entire summer. It waited patiently to be used by its owner for months, until finally the day for its utilization arrived. What sat now adjacent to this college senior, furiously typing away on his computer, was a camera.
Have you ever postponed something you knew could highly benefit you? An idea you believe could change the course of your existence, yet you continue to procrastinate in embarking on this journey? I had at my disposal a device that could move mountains, but for 4 months I couldn’t even find the courage to pick up the device. However, on first day of the 2017 college soccer preseason, everything changed.
In that dorm room a mere 8 months ago, a double transfer from two Division 1 programs (University of Memphis, Monmouth University) was Googling, “how to create a YouTube channel”. I cannot remember what I watched the night before to get insanely motivated the following day, but I mastered YouTube’s algorithms in the span of a few hours.
The hardest part with anything in life is taking the first step and starting; videography is no different. There is no fear like holding a DSLR camera with a gorilla tripod and microphone for the first time. I remember performing the intro for my first vlog 60 minutes before we had a mandatory team breakfast. The end result of my first hour vlogging was 50 separate clips and a scolding by my coach for being 15 minutes late for breakfast.
During the inception of my channel I did not have a goal or desired outcome. I had no idea what niche I would formulate in to and the theme my vlogs would carryout. The only thing I knew for certain was I needed to produce content.
What followed was the the large majority of my senior season being documented on video and posted to YouTube. Any successful YouTuber knows the struggle they once had to garner even the most minuscule interaction on their videos. However, I knew consistent and quality content would eventually lead to the start of something new in the realm of videography. I was part of only a handful of other college soccer players who were regularly depicting what life as a student/athlete was like.
The low competitive niche which I was progressing towards and the uniqueness of the channel, resulted in a stream of support from all around the world. I would spend 30 minutes a day reading and responding to comments, emails and direct messages, only to do the same exact thing the following day. At times it became overwhelming to balance school, soccer, videography and other business ventures. I would have 3 hours worth of class every morning, 4 hours worth of practice and workouts in the afternoon, study sessions in the evening, and then spend 6-7 hours in the middle of the night creating videos. However, the more content I created for YouTube, the greater my obsession became for soccer. Time started to play an irrelevant role in my daily routines. When you are truly passionate about life and understand the true value of time, you begin to perceive sleep as expendable.
The creation of multiple videos a week undoubtedly helped fuel a new fire beneath me and provided an unrelenting invigoration to continue pursuing a professional contract. I am continuously inspired by the genuine comments I receive from individuals around the world who provide a wealth of information and an unending supply of club connections. Never would I have imagined the kind of results which would follow from just taking that first step and picking up a camera. I wholeheartedly believe if the day arrives when I have the privilege of signing a professional contract, if that day ever materializes and becomes a realization, YouTube will have had a profound influence and played a pivotal role in my success
There is no easy path on the road to success. The most rewarding things in life are earned, not given. Nothing is ever worth striving for if it will eventually be freely given to you. What makes soccer the best sport in the world is not the flashing lights, money, and connotations of fame. It is ultimately the ability for any individual, located in any part of the world, to be born with nothing, and to become someone with everything.