Throughout my playing career I have experienced many different playing styles, coaching strategies and player personalities.
I have seen, from my limited American perspective, what traits make up a successful high school, club and college program.
But more importantly, I have witnessed the collapse of great teammates and the rise of ignored, disregarded and ridiculed bench players.
The difference between these 2 footballers may be apparent to some, but completely baffling to others.
When we witness the rise of an incredible talent we are automatically drawn to the success he has accumulated and fortune bestowed upon him.
We rarely look at the years of suffering, doubt and despair the player went through to achieve his greatness.
There are oddities in this game where the climb from academy to 1st division football is a seamless transition.
As rare as they are, prospective young talent has normalized this misconception.
The players I have seen who have become the most successful from my generation, have asked for nothing in return.
When talent doesn’t work hard, hard work will always prevail.
Allowing a young player to believe he is already “something” is a slow spreading disease that will eventually destroy a bright future in football.
Most of what we believe to be true is hard wired into our subconsciousness from an early age.
To undo a belief is to untangle and rewind years of programming grounded into the core of our existence.
We cannot scold a child for mindset we bestowed upon it.
We cannot blame a system for synthesized ignorance.
The single greatest advantage a player can posses is having parents who will humble him at his highest moments.
Who will bring him back down to earth when his ego tells him otherwise.
I was very fortunate to have a mom and dad who allowed the freedom I needed to explore football on my own, but for also instilling the realisms of surviving in this game.
Whatever path you decide to take for yourself and beliefs you deem to be true, how you choose to raise your own kids will have a larger impact on the success of your countries football than you may think.