Pro Soccer Trial Didn't Go Well, Now What?
So, the team decided not to hold on to you after your pro soccer trial. I’ve been there.
Before coming down hard on yourself there are some things you need to ask yourself.
First, did you perform as well as you possibly could?
Second, did you learn something from the experience?
Third, did it give you fuel for the next one?
My first two trials in Serbia were unsuccessful but they gave me the “know how”, experience and the fire to be successful at my third one where I ended up signing.
Those experiences have helped me in other trials down my career and are the reason I had success in more difficult trials since then.
Without those crushing experiences I don’t get to where I eventually did, playing in the 1st Division in Europe.
Not all trials are going to go your way, several trials will teach you important lessons about the sport at a professional level and from a business mind set.
Lessons You’ll Learn to Take to Your Next Trial…
Reflection is the better half of a player so analyzing your performance at your pro soccer trial is important. This will give you clarity, experience and confidence to take to your next opportunity. So, on your next trial when you come into a new situation you’ll feel comfortable like you’ve been through it all before, because you have.
There's is something to be said about feeling relaxed and knowing what is peeking around the corner at trial and in life.
Because when you know what is waiting for you, it’s so much easier to laugh it off and focus then to be frightened at let the moment get the best of you.
Lessons learned at pro trials I've been on:
1) There is a lot more to it then on the field performance
2) You find out where you stack up against the rest and if you truly belong
3) It’s more of a mental trial then anything else, if you can control your mental game and play with confidence you’ll be fine
4) The atmosphere can be difficult to adapt to so expect adversity
5) Don’t let your nerves get the best of you
Do I Belong?
Now this is important, if there’s nothing else you take from a trial it’s this one simple question you need to ask yourself. Do I belong?
Now think about it, don’t just say yes or no based on a poor performance or a blown up image of yourself.
Reflect on the trial and see if you were just overwhelmed by it all and felt like “man these guys are from another planet”, or “I got this, what’s all the buzz about, this is all me”.
This can give you all the push and confidence you’ll ever need if you could relate to the second statement.
If not, you need to be real with yourself and decide whether this is something you’re willing to put yourself through again because it can be difficult.
If you’re sitting at home right now even more motivated then the first time you went then you know that you’re on the right track and that you DO BELONG!
That feeling alone can do great things for you at your next shot, so don’t you ever forget it.
Sad? Mad? Pissed? Good!
I’ll never forget the words that were spoken to me at my first trial where I didn’t end up staying on. “Son, look, you’re clearly talented, but we are gonna have to let you go”
Biggest mistake you ever made I was thinking to myself, along with some other choice words that no priest would love.
Shook his hand. “Thank you for the opportunity” I said and that was that.
I was there 2 weeks, before they asked me to stay another week then ended up letting me go. That pain stayed with me for a while along with all the doubts that came with it.
Maybe that’s that I first thought. Then as more time passed I realized that moment was the turning point for my professional career. Experiencing agonizing disappointment was the stepping-stone to something greater and a feeling I never wanted to feel again.
So what's the advice or lesson here? You can react in two ways, and although you didn't exactly get to choose whether you stayed on or not, but the reaction is all your choice.
You could get all down on yourself and pack it in or you could look on the bright side saying you went in with nothing and came out with quality memories and experience that will help you going forward.
Nobody starts at the top in anything, sometimes you gotta work as a janitor for a couple years before they let you in the door, then it’s about fighting to get exactly what you want no matter what on the next pro soccer trial.
I always say the most important quality any aspiring pro needs to have is perseverance.