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Monday, December 19, 2016

MLS: Retirement Home for EPL Stars?



Will the MLS One Day Reach The Heights of the EPL?

The Legend : Beckham



The  legends of the game, past and present, want to play after their glory days in Europe. Lets face the music people, the current stars of the game of soccer are not playing in America, and for that matter don't until there 30 or beyond.

So most if not all "retire" in the MLS and keep playing after reaching their limit in Europe. They bring their talents and knowledge overseas.

The likes of Beckham, Pirlo, Lampard, Gerrard, and multiple more have all called their
competitive days a quit. They joined a less competitive league from the high prestige of the EPL and champions league.

All of the legends that came to the MLS left the soccer based culture of Europe and came to the 'land of the free'. Kaka, David Villa, and countless others have come over recently.

Starting from the time of Beckham, the game of MLS has changed for the better. Prior to Beckham joining the LA Galaxy the league was filled with mediocre talent, and a select few starts, but none like Beckham.

A man who had played for Real Madrid, Manchester United, AC Milan, and the star studded England squad. He played part of his prime at the LA Galaxy and changed the image of the league forever.

He comes to a league where the likes of Taylor Twellman, Sharlie Joseph and others are the stars, players who wouldn't scratch the starting 11 over the reserves of any of Beckham's prior teams.

Nothing against what the league was, and the players in it. But the game has changed and for the better, it may become one of the greatest in world at some point, but not now.

The likes of Zlatan and other huge current stars have been quoted in saying they want to play in America at one point!

I'm not sure about you but I would pay a small fortune to see Zlatan, Messi, Ronaldo, or any other superstars of the game play.

Maybe one day the superstars will play in their prime in America, competing with the likes of La Liga or the EPL?

Monday, December 12, 2016

3 Simple Methods to Help Your Fitness Training

Train like a champion and you will perform like one!


Soccer is a game built upon fitness


Everyone wants to be the most skilled on the field, but if you cant play for a full 90 than its not as important. Using that skill at only partial your ability due to fitness limits in your value as a player. A professional or any high-level player needs to be able to perform and use their skill all throughout the game.

It takes time and effort to train your fitness, but it is simpler than you think. It wont happen over night, but I bet after just a few weeks of incorporating some of these methods you can notice a difference in your fitness.

These are not specific drills or techniques, but rather methods and general actions to help to train your fitness. Eating healthy is a huge factor to this, but lets take a look at the first method to increased fitness, and arguably the most valued yet underused.

#1.  One of the largest used muscles in a soccer players body is not the legs, but rather the abs. All power, strength, and force is driven from our abs. Any portion of running starts with the abs, and works it way down the body.

Breathing only gets easier when you have strong abs, so why neglect all the benefits of strong abs? A large chunk of players fail to work their core enough, and rather try and work on just only running or sprinting.

YOU CAN'T RUN YOUR FASTEST OR HARDEST WITHOUT A STRONG CORE.

Track athletes, who are the most fit for running their specific events, have strong cores and it shows in their ability to perform. The abs help in the breathing process of exhaling and inhaling to assist the diaphragm.

All professional soccer players, and higher level players have just as strong core muscles, and it lets them be able to do the sorts of running that is needed in a 90 minute game.

Lets look at all the attributes of having strong abs: they help with supporting the upper and lower body, allowing for running, twisting, and turning, aid in injury prevention, and lastly allow for explosive performance. All needed in the game of soccer, so why neglect training them?

#2.  Its true you need to be able to play for 90 minutes, but like discussed in previous post its not all just running. It breaks down to a rough estimate of 68 minutes per game that an average player actually runs. This also includes sprinting and jogging, yet unlike track athletes it is not all at once, its spread out in small amounts.

This means using the method of Interval Training is huge to being able to perform at a high-level of fitness at various points of the game. Its not about making 1 or 2 hard sprints and being gassed, you have to be able to do so numerous times throughout the game.

Interval Training encompasses the basic concept of training your running/sprinting in intervals of on and off between walking/jogging. For example a workout I have done is, instead of running 1 mile straight, break it off into run one lap at 6 minute pace, and walk the next, and repeat until you have finished 1 mile at 6 minute pace.

#3.  Lets look at the game as a whole, just like with your core strength and interval training, you have to actually put  100% effort in to training to get results.You can not go through the paces and think you will magically increase your fitness, wrong.


It may seem obvious, but as I have done myself and what countless others do is train solo because of various reasons. Don't get me wrong, working while others are not looking makes you better, but it also very challenging to do so.

It can be tough to mentally push yourself and find the drive to do better without having someone their to support and challenge you. (See our mental toughness article to also help you)

So I suggest training with a partner or group of similar level athletes who can PUSH you to your limits during training. Someone who can push you to go beyond your normal routine, and do that extra rep or set when your tired is what will help you to excel beyond your current level.


Soccer is a tough game, and being fit for a full game can be even more challenging. So try some of these methods, and look over our mental toughness and training tools to help you out. Future posts will have more in depth drills and techniques for you to use!!

For different soccer shirts and gear check out soccerloco!



Thursday, December 8, 2016

9 Strategies to Make Yourself a Better Player

Work Smarter, Not Harder


Everyone wants to be a better soccer player, but most don't do what is needed to make it happen. Its a simple sport, so train and get consistent at the simple facets.

Every high-level player, say a professional is able to make the same pass 100 times in a row, or 100 shots on frame. Its doing the small parts repetitively that will allow for further growth of your skills.

Start with the very basics of soccer and build upon them like a puzzle, once you have a few pieces in place you can fill in the missing areas.

Are you willing to work?

#1    Lets look at some portions of the games most players neglect to train consistently:


  • passing under pressure
  • being aware of the field with the ball
  • being aware of the field WITHOUT the ball
  • heading technique
  • passing/shooting technique
  • skill moves

You cant go to a game and expect to play at a high-level if you can't make a 10 yard pass accurately under pressure. For that matter you always have to be aware of the field and play around you! If you need more help with the basics than Click Here!

#2 Soccer is more than just technique and skill, train your body!


You have to be physical able to keep up in the modern game. Training your body is just as important as your technique. Work on your leg strength, flexibility, and upper body strength.

Try using this to help you out ~
The Ultimate Guide To Weight Training For Soccer (Ultimate Guide to Weight Training: Soccer)

#3  Foot speed is crucial, don't neglect it.


Just as important as having strong legs, its also key to make those legs quick. Using a ladder and footwork drills will allow you to keep up with shifty players.

#4  Fitness is key; agility and sprint speed must be trained to its fullest


The footwork drills you do to train your foot speed is apart of the greater sphere of fitness. When looking at your fitness levels ask yourself "am I able to play a full 90 minutes" and just as important "can I sprint the same as the first and last minute of the game".


WORK ON YOUR FITNESS LEVELS AS PARTS  A WHOLE!


I can't stress it enough, being the fastest on the field isn't as important if you cant sprint more than a few times. So don't neglect your endurance, agility and stamina.

#5  Train your mental toughness:


Mental strength and fortitude is a massive part of any sport. You must have confidence in your play, even when you make mistakes. Its about picking yourself up and immediately moving onto the next pass.
If you lose possession, try and gain it back as soon as possible. Pump yourself up before every game or training, and believe in yourself. Try getting into listening to music that gets your blood flowing. Make sure you collect yourself and be calm when on the ball, and not letting that blood get to your head.

Use mental imaging to picture yourself making the correct pass, or scoring a goal before you play and it will help you succeed in that action!

#6  Read up on your position


Tactical information is critical to becoming a more well-rounded player. You do not want to be the one player that runs around like a chicken with its head cut off.You must know what to do in different scenarios before they occur.

If you play a certain position learn it by heart; the runs you have to make, when to call for the ball, what passes to make, etc.! Watch the professionals and learn what they do in the position you play.

#7  Analyze your opponent before and during the game


If you are getting warmed for a game, or just starting one try to review your opponents you will be going up against. Look at their strengths and weaknesses to help yourself against them. If their strong foot is the right foot, force them to use their left by positioning them to their left side.


#8  Train using the right equipment:


A key part is training using equipment that actually will help you. The professionals and higher-level players get access to the best training tools in the world. Using things such as the SKLZ rebounder, help you work on passing, shooting, and volleying in different scenarios!

I am not saying that basic cones differ from what pros have but their are materials to help you. This also mean using the right cleats that wont break down easily, while also offering assistance with your touch.

#9  Last but not least, Eating healthy and getting rest is critical to further gains


What you put into your body is what you become. This is not fully literal, but if you eat junk food your body will become junk! Eat healthy and incorporate the right types of foods like veggies or fruits to give your body the energy and nutrients they require.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Soccer Statistics- Are Soccer Players the Best Athletes?

Soccer Players, Athletic freaks of nature?

Soccer Athlete Reign Supreme?
There's no true comparison between any two sports, as each requires different athletic abilities. A football, rugby, and lacrosse player all have similar skill sets. Yet at the same time all three require different athletic abilities to excel in each individual sport.

When we look at a football player, depending on position, usually one needs to be larger and stronger than a lacrosse player. A rugby player can be said to have the same, yet needs to be more athletic than a lineman in football. Lacrosse players need to be able to hit hard just as the other two do, but needs the speed and endurance to run a significant more.

All three have similar basic abilities, like hitting hard and being strong, but all three differ on their specific abilities needed to be a star. Most if not all high level athletes in each sport excel in their sport specific requirements, as obvious as that seems.

So how do we compare sports, and come to the conclusion of which athletes are the best? Well no one athlete is better than the other, but we can contrast factors of the sport to say which sport requires a more well-rounded athlete.

 ~Some Statistics to Back Opinion~


Football, an American creation, has always been seen as big, strong, and aggressive natured sport. The image  of a 6'6 & 350 lb. lineman who can bench press 225 50 times comes to mind. The lineman isn't the only position of the 11 players on the field.

There are many positions, just like soccer, for example a running back is more built for quickness and speed. Yet most if not all soccer players, except the goalie, as to do similar amounts of running. So you can't compare position by position to soccer, even the cleats are different in sports...

The closest sport may be lacrosse where speed, agility, and strength all merge into every player. Yet looking at soccer, it is played over a total of an intense 90 minute game,  with two 45 minute  half's. That's two half's of straight of intense high paced play with only a break of 15 minute half time to rest. This 90 minutes can be just as physical as most sports, maybe not as hard hitting as say rugby, but still physical in nature.

The world of sports is full of different types of athletes, as we can see position by position every sport is different and sport to sport the players are different. Most say based off this there can be no conclusion to which athlete is the superior to others.

Yet I respectfully beg to differ. I think soccer players reign supreme, and I'll tell you my reasons why.

Let's first look at some statistics of soccer players, and than compare them to say football or rugby players.
LOOK AT SOME FACTS

A soccer game consists of running at high intensity for most of the full 90 minutes, depending on position. This means a high-level midfielder can run up to 10 miles in one game, average amount at about 7 miles. That isn't just running at 100% sprint, it breaks down to roughly 40% jogging 35% sprinting and 25% walking.

A full game of running (jogging and sprinting combined, or 75%) is about 68 minutes of non-stop intense physical play. Wow. Now I'm not sure about you but that's a lot of athletic ability needed to do that WHILE focusing on playing with your whole body. A soccer player has to be able to control a ball on the ground and air while playing at such a high speed.

Football you say?
I think to myself "I wish I could do that" yet here I am at a level close to that running similar amounts. I can only imagine what professionals or Division I players are like.

So now lets look at some of the statistics of the game of American Football. The Wall Street Journal did a study that found, on average, the most run-intensive positions cornerback/wide-receiver only runs about 1.25 miles a game.

As if this isn't a good contrast enough, there is on average only about 11 minutes of running in total of a 60 minute game. Granted you have to be extremely strong, physical, and aggressive. These same features are shown in a good chunk of soccer players, like most defenders. Except the difference of running and skill is immense.

Now these are just some slight statistics to back up my argument, but from my point of view that's all I need. I think all high-level athletes are special and skillful in there own field, but with some of the small statistics shown I feel like a soccer player reigns supreme.

I get the feeling a soccer player could play other sports easily, but most could not play soccer. Lets face it, its more than just running, its the ability to do with a ball at your feet and making decisions in milliseconds.

If you need a little bit extra strength in your soccer skill set try this:
The Ultimate Guide To Weight Training For Soccer (Ultimate Guide to Weight Training: Soccer)

Leave a comment and tell me what your opinions are on the matter, its only right as my view is slightly biased towards the sport I love!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Training Struggles

Methods to the Madness of Training

Its the first nice day after a long winter, you decide to go kick a ball in the yard. This is the peaceful moment when you know you have a true love for the game. Not to waste your time watching TV or playing video games, but choosing to train instead. Not even train, but just the desire to get outside with a ball. Its at this same moment when you realize that your a little rusty, or maybe really rusty. That common phrase "wow my touch is crap" on repeat.

The fact of the matter is you love that feeling, it leads to a challenge. It means you have to make that touch come back to the way it was. It means juggling the ball,  shooting it against a wall, and passing it into a homemade nets a millions times.

If that's you than listen up, because I went through the same process day in and day out. Most of the time it can get frustrating trying to get that touch back, and it can lead to quitting. Never quit. Never stop. That love for the sport you have means more than a rusty touch, so here's some pointers for assisting you on getting back into your grove and beyond.
Always be willing to do a little extra.
Now it's challenging to get the motivation to keep training sometimes, especially when there's no one to push you. For that matter it's even more difficult when there's no structure to follow. Kicking a ball around can only get you so far. Yet it's easier than you think, specifically if you really do love game. It's about the commitment to train, and following a training guide to get you where you want. Soccer is a mental game, win the battle in training and you'll succeed on the war grounds on game day.
Here are some general points around training:
  • Put in what you get out = go through the motions and you suffer consequences
  • Training harder isn't always better, its about training smarter
    • This means effective and efficient methods
  •  Get consistent with your skill set
  • Work to fix your weak spots~ Ex. Get consistent with your opposite foot
  • Eating healthy is critical, without it your training will lack
  • Willing to accept failure, to learn a lesson, and than succeed
100% effort = 100% results
Its not just about the guides though, any one can follow those. Its about what your willing to put into the training. Its about the effort you put into those training guides and workouts that will get you the results you want. You cant just put minimal effort and go through the paces and expect change.

YOU HAVE TO BE DRIVEN TO CHANGE.

The simple measurement is you get what you put in. Give it your all and train at 100% effort, I can promise you will get results over time. Nothing is guaranteed just because you buy a guide or get a trainer. You have to follow the steps given to you with full effort, and knowing patience is key. Your skills wont get better over night.

These are just some of many guides to help you train:

Now if you cant follow a instruction of a guide, and prefer more personal approach to the training than there are plenty of 1 on 1 soccer coaches in the US, and World too. You can follow a good friend of mine, and someone who helped me get to where I am as a soccer player, Phil Tait. His website is www.1on1soccer.com is dedicated to bringing 1 on 1 coaching to players in the New England Area of the US. He also runs an account that gives you trainers from around the world: Instagram ~ https://www.instagram.com/1on1_soccer_index/ . On their website you can register yourself if you are a coach. If your a player you can find a coach that fits you in area~ https://1on1index.com/.
Phil Tait 1 on 1 Soccer

Its not just about working harder, but also smarter. Why burn yourself out doing the same work over and over again? Don't get me wrong consistency is key to success at higher levels, but you cant be consistent in just one category. You have to start training in a multitude of areas; technical, tactical, skill based, and physical.

As the great Michael Jordan once said, " To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail"

Its about training your weaknesses, the qualities your game lacks. If your a strong and fast player, maybe learn to slow the game down sometimes. If you have good footwork, but lack speed than incorporate a regime to improve your sprint speed. It may sound like "gee thanks for that one captain obvious" but think about it not everyone actually goes out and fixes their weak spots. Now is the time where you take the next step in your level of play, to get you to be a stand out on the field.


If you need some supplements to better yourself in the gym or dietary supplements to recover properly try A1Supplements.com - America's Favorite Supplement Store. You  can find some great products here to support your growth physically as a player. The field isn't the only place you should be working hard. Dedicating time in the gym is key to becoming a dominating force on the field.
Stay up to date with the blog to find out more on specific elements of training, this is just the beginning of many insightful articles to come!.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Soccer Mindgames

Soccer, like any sport, is a game not just play with the body but also the mind.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes, but be ready to fix them.

A game of two halves, and a game played with the body and mind. Using your mind is just as, if not more important than your athletic nature and body. You can have all the skill in the world but you have to be confident in yourself using it or it will go to waste.

My favorite quote of "hard work beats talent, when talent does not work hard" exemplifies the mind games. It isn't just about being talented in skill and athleticism, its about working hard off the field. This includes pushing your mental toughness to get you to the level you want.

Its about perseverance on the training pitch when no one is looking, that will apply to game day. It is about the facet of being confident in what you are as a player, and developing that confidence to make you as strong as you can be.

These books here can help you on and off the field:

I wish I had used any one of these books, but instead I got other assistance as you'll see below!

Mental fortitude is huge in gaining an upper hand over other players. The biggest players in the world are also the most confident in their own skill. Lets look at a standout of this, Zlatan, a player whose Ego knows no limit.

He makes himself the center stage of any interview and captivates the people around him. He protrudes confidence, and in doing so it shows when he stands out on the field. His skill alone is tremendous don't get me wrong, but it wont give hi all the success he has had without the confidence.

 Lets look at his recent arrival at Manchester United, his skill was not giving him the results he wanted. He struggled in his first couple of weeks, but has now started to pick up his usual scoring with 5 in 4 games. Through his dry spell he has to stay mentally tough, and cant reminisce on mistakes or errors he made, and has to be ready for the next opportunity.
"Dare to Zlatan"- Be confident in yourself

Just as Zlatan has to stay confident in rough patches of form, so doesn't you or me.. Its tough to pick your head up after making a sloppy pass, a poor touch, or a shank of a shot, especially when you know you can do better.

Yet what I have learned is to not worry in the moment, but to immediately move on from the mistake. Look to improve the next pass, shot, or touch. You can critique yourself after the game or practice of the errors you made, but do so in a positive manner.

There's no reason to punish yourself, and make yourself feel like crap. You just have to see what you work on  to fix the errors you made, and that is working and training in consistency.

Soccer can be tough, but you have to be more tough!

I have had tons of mental breakdowns and moments of lack of confidence throughout my career. I still get them time to time, and at the collegiate level it can affect your game more than lower levels, as the competition only gets tighter.

You can be playing great in a few games, then make a few errors, and next your sulking on them and getting down on yourself. This can lead to playing even worst, and creating a deeper hole for yourself. From here you can find yourself playing less and less and eventually on the bench, but there's a way around this. Mental toughness is the answer, and digging yourself out of every hole.

The biggest moments in a soccer match are 10 minutes into each half, and 5 minutes after a goal is scored. Be mentally ready for those moments and your skill will do the rest.

The best thing I ever did in my soccer career was an ID camp for colleges, but with a goal to enhance and enrich the players mental game. It was the perfect timing for me as I was needed that extra confidence before heading to play college soccer.

 It was called Exact soccer camp, and to this day I still try and use the methods they taught me. Its simple really, its about positive thoughts leading up to the game day- mental fortitude and imaging the success you want on the field. Picturing yourself doing the actions well and correctly and usually that's relays over to the actual game. Pump yourself with a battle cry, let yourself be infused in the moment but not relying on every play or mistake.

What it comes down to is using mental techniques of positive imaging before the game, and than use it during the game always trying to stay positive and look for the next play. If you make a bad pass or loss possession , immediately work to earn it back! If you miss a shot wide left or right, focus on the next one and get it on frame, one step at a time! If you want a training guide for enhancing those skills than Click Here!.

Professional soccer players make mistakes, the like's of Messi and Ronaldo aren't 100% perfect, yet game in and game out they are consistent. They move past their errors and mishaps to get them self ready for the next play, a huge reason why their talent and hard work are able to be so consistent. Anyone can do it, its just another part of working hard to get where you want to be as a player.
Work on your mental game to increase your playing level!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Cleats, a Historical Review up to Modern Day Pairs

Soccer Cleats: A review of my past and present pairs

A Vast collection of soccer cleats, a case of a cleataholic
Soccer cleats, such a change of pace since our parents were playing. I can recall my father always telling me of his Umbro's, or some off brand of cleats that he use to wear. He would always tell me about their quality, and their durability. The constant speech of "when I was your age we didn't have no fancy cleats" or "I used one pair of cleats for years at a time", oh how things have changed. For that matter my dad still has a pair of his indoor cleats from 20 years ago!! A pair I used countless times up until my college days, and let me tell you the quality was there. A relic in a ever changing world, where cleats don't last a full seasons sometimes. A lot of factors cause that and as the times have changed, it has become less about quality and more style and cheap to make.


Cleats like the ones show below were how the mid 1930's cleats looked like. A far cry from the stylish modern boots don't you think?

A relic, a old pair of soccer "boots" from the 1930's

Lets face the music people things change. Cleats in the timeframe of my father didn't last as long as the early made leather boots. The same can be said about most pairs of modern pairs compared to my fathers cleats and of his generation. Yet change can be for the better too. I think I would prefer modern cleats over pairs like the one above, or the ugly indoors my father donated to me.

With the usage of modern online websites like at SoccerGarage.com we can find great cleats for great prices. We can now utilize picking the cleats we want from a wide range of selection containing mixed styles with durability and comfort. Granted these cleats may not last longer than past pairs, but there's a reason why!!

Its because modern players train longer, more frequently, and play in a different brand of soccer. Its a more brutal and demanding game on our feet, with increased amounts of running, tackles, and strenuous play. So us soccer fanatics and players need to have the access to replacing worn down and beat up pairs! From what I have seen they can get beat up very easily and if you wanted to you could get a cleat cover/skin from Cleatskins.com

Now with my experience of cleats I started out with Nike CTR's, and I loved every second of using them. I had, throughout ages 9-18, at least 8 pairs of CTR's, maybe more. I was and always will be a huge supporter of their comfort, quality and price. The only problem is they stopped mainstream manufacturing of CTR's. This means the last 2 pairs or so I had required searching for them. Almost like searching for the holy grail, a process that took forever and I doubtfully could find them again!


The search is no longer needed as I have found a suitable improvement to its predecessor: the Nike Tiempo Cleats, like shown above. I mostly purchase these off online websites SoccerGarage.com, or in store at Nike Outlets and other local soccer shops. The prices online are  usually the best for this cleat, but you have to try a pair on in store first to get a feel for the correct size. It seems to me the different brands of cleats like Nike, Adidas, or Puma all fit differently in the same size. That being said though I love the feel to the sole of the Tiempo, the comfort is off the charts. I suggest these to all players alike, even though I am a defender, makes no difference positional wise.

I also use ShoeBacca.com for great rates on Puma cleats that you can get for dirt cheap! Its crazy some of the deals I have purchased at least 4 pairs there, usually cheaper for Puma here versus other sites. I use the Puma's for my work of coaching 1 on 1, and as well practice cleats. They are great and love the quality for the price (I'm a bargain shopper).

All in all its safe to say the modern pair of soccer cleats has changed, no longer the "boots" they use to be. My father is always telling me about how flashy the modern cleats are, yet that style is something that defines our generation of player. New styles and pairs come out all the time like the sock attached, the new Adidas Glitch (removable parts), and anti-clog pairs!!! Its crazy what the present generation has a selection of, I can only imagine what the future holds.