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What Do You See?

Farmland with a dream.

Growing up on the farm, I use to say that my back yard was the first futbol stadium I ever played in. My parents actually allowed me to bolt on a few working lights to the roof of our house and man did I enjoy playing at night under the lights. I would put on my cleats, grab my soccer ball, and plug in the lights. The back yard would be nicely lit, freshly mowed, and there was always this cool smell in the air. I would scatter the yard with busted up roof shingles to use as defenders along with tumble weeds and even a busted-up push mower. The tumble weeds were the best because every now and then you would get a little gust of wind which would move the tumble weed making it that more realistic as I tried to dribble by it... sometimes as it brushed my leg, I would go flying into the air acting out a serious foul, imagination and creativity was everything. Once the stage was set, I'd walk out to the middle, put the ball down, and close my eyes for about 5 minutes to get my mind in the right place to maximize the next few hours of futbol. At first, I would hear the crazy coyotes, crickets, and that one annoying owl. Then, I would begin to hear the crowd with drums chanting getting louder and louder, flags being waved, chaos in the stands, my heart racing forgetting that I was simply in my back yard. I would finally hear the whistle blow, my eyes opened and for the next few hours I intensely lived inside that stadium playing out every scenario imaginable to the point of exhaustion. I would end those nights drenched in sweat from head to toe because we all know that you play how you train. This type of visualization and routine was done religiously week in week out. I know that this may sound a little on the crazy side, but I'm telling you growing up so many times what I in visioned/trained in my yard would play out in real games. Visualization became my best friend and my lifeline to see beyond the farmland as I pushed towards my dream. You may see a farm, but all I ever saw was my dream. I will never forget the feeling I got when I stepped foot for the very first time in 2007 inside of the Estadio Cuauhtemoc in Puebla Mexico. My whole journey from my backyard flashed before my eyes so I broke down and cried. Things did not work out as I would have hoped for, but man did I earn respect and learned so much that it's an experience that no one can take away from me. I would relive this moment in 2012 with the Dayton Dutch Lions FC in a US Open Cup quarter final game against Sporting Kansas City inside their packed stadium. I share this with you because I didn't have access or the money for personal/private training or amazing facilities when I first started playing futbol. These things for me came later down the road as I pushed with what I had to work with. If you take anything from this reading... take this, point the finger inward not outward and put the work in because you don't always end up where you start. If you're trying to achieve the impossible and you don't have access/money, or you do have access/money, simply appreciate, be thankful, and grateful for what you do have and go to work with what you have. I had access to the farm, my family, my backyard, parks, and my dad's adult men's futbol team which became my futbol foundation and most importantly my love for the sport. Having love towards something that you want to do in life makes you push harder when the going gets tough. If you are parents/non-parents, current or former professional futbol players, rec soccer programs, small clubs/big clubs, small programs/big programs, experts/non-experts you all matter because I've personally learned and taken something from all of you. If you are an aspiring young athlete, remember you are in the driver seat, and you get to decipher what information makes sense and is it useful for you to continue to build your blueprint so have some humility, believe in yourself, and don't get discouraged. Hopefully this snippet of my story serves you well, to keep you dreaming, and keep you moving forward. If you have a dream and you believe in it, make sure you put the work in and you protect it, so I ask you... do you have a dream and what do you see?

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