One of my goals for this website is to give soccer parents an idea of what it is like for a full-time professional trainer. I will start this chronicle with a story about the 28 hours I had between Friday at 5PM and Saturday at 8PM, which was downright unbelievable. When most of the U.S. and the majority of my clients are off from work, professional soccer trainers are working their hardest, putting energy and effort into game days to motivate their team(s) to victory. Not to mention putting miles and gas into their cars to the point that 54 cents/mile just won’t cut it at tax time. Not everyone can do our job (for obvious reasons), but even more so because of the demand of the 7 day work week. Although if you are like me, on most days I don’t feel like I am at work, and this is the true reason I do what I do.
Here it goes…
Friday 5PM: (Arrived 4:30PM) My Skills Night program runs with about 40 kids. I am there until 6:15PM running games and making sure my staff are setup and ready to coach their sessions. Dealing with late arrivals, talking to parents, making sure kids are happy and healthy.
6:15PM: I take off from West Windsor, en route to Tinton Falls (55 minutes) for my U15G NJ Cup game that kicks off at 8PM (team arrives 7:15PM).
8PM: After warming up and prepping the team for play, the game gets underway and you can tell from the start it will be fast and physical. Both teams don’t want to surrender in the round of 16 in the tournament and give every bit of what they have to win.
9:45PM: Game ends in a 0-1 Loss. The only goal is a miss hit cross from about 35 yards out that sneaks in the far post (seen that too many times). My team misses two break away opportunities in the final 5 minutes and we are knocked out of NJ Cup.
11PM: Arrive home, try to wind down from the energy of that game, but can’t, finally asleep by 1:30AM.
Saturday 6:55AM: Leave my house for my 8AM kickoff with my U11G at the Monroe – 1 day tournament (30 minutes). Arrive and I have 3 players at the field at 7:30AM when all players are to be ready to go, and usually are. As we get closer to game time myself and the team manager recognize everyone is at the wrong field location (changed midweek).
7:55AM – Players finally show up and I just have enough to start the game (with no warmup). Although my goalie limps to the field and says she is too hurt to play (mental) and I start with a field player in goalie (thank god she didn’t get tested).
9AM – Game ends in a 3-0 victory and the girls dominated play. OK, started a little rough, but we got through it.
9:45AM – Return home because my dogs have to eat, drink, and play as they are inside all day. I know this is not soccer related, but it is relevant and shows that we do have lives outside of soccer. I do get to watch half of the Southampton game (my BPL squad), but am creating flyers for a Spirit Night event at my club, which means I am working the whole time. Doorbell rings (random) – neighbor with one of my dogs on the stoop – he decided to dig under the fence (never does) and got out. Again we will connect all this info, but he is fine and happy although he crossed some busy roads.
10:55AM – Back on the road to Monroe for game 2. My team is playing someone we beat 4 weeks ago 5-2, but it will be contested nonetheless. It ends in a goalless draw and by rule (both teams won their first game) we need to go to PKs to decide a winner. After 5 kicks we lose 4-2 on penalties and are forced to take the second place trophies home. In a game of bizarre moments, where we hit the post twice, out shot the opponent probably 15-5, we just could not find the game winner.
- Bizarre Moment 1: My goalie directs a punt (high level skill) to a teammate on the run and it hits her right in the top of the head. You couldn’t hit that shot in 5,000 tries. It subsequently knocked her out of the game (one of the strongest players on the team).
- Bizarre Moment 2: A player running out of bounds to get a ball for a throw-in rolls her ankle and is knocked out of the game. Another top player on our team is out.
So we lose a tournament without giving up a goal from the run of play, and thoroughly dominate both games with our skill and technique. Hey, that is soccer.
1:15PM – Jet back to West Windsor (30 minutes) to run my TDA (Technical Development Academy) games. 75 kids over 2 hours with 3 fields running and not the most punctual of parents. It gets hectic at times, but it was successful.
3:15PM – Need to get home to just make sure my dogs get out one more time as I am only 15 minutes from the field, but I can’t stay long because I am headed down to Harrison, NJ (South). End up locking myself out of the house in a rush and now need to wait 25 minutes on my front stoop to get a spare key. Send my U15 team a message regarding, telling them to warmup on their own, and that I will be there close to kick off. I am the only carded coach, have the player passes, medical forms, and game card.
3:45PM – Finally get myself on the road for the 55 mile drive down 295 to Harrison/Mullica Hill. Hoping that it was fate that locked me out of my house and saved me from some form of danger along the way. I pull up to the field (never forget a field) and realize that I have been here before. Only 1 other time though, and it was about 5-6 years ago when I played a State Cup game with my U15G which resulted in a 0-1 loss on a fluke free kick, wind blown from about 40 yards out.
The icing on the cake was that I have been this late to 1 other game in my life and I daydreamed about it on the drive down. It was that State Cup game in Harrison, NJ at the same exact field I was playing on this afternoon in EDP. I was late to that game because it was daylight savings and my girlfriend’s phone alarm did not correct itself, leaving me an hour behind. Although my excuse that day was…. My dogs got out and were running the neighborhood. Talk about life coming full circle.
Oh, and we played this game with just 11 players following an 8PM kick off and heartbreak the night before. 1 girl coming off being out 2 weeks with the flu and another spraining her ankle just 10 days prior. We lost 0-3 and if it weren’t for set pieces the opponent did nothing to score. It was clearly just one of those weird/long days to be a professional youth soccer trainer.
6:45PM: The game is over and I get my 55 minute drive home, pondering all the oddities that made me feel I was being pulled on a string all day long.
280 miles on the road, 6 hours in a car, and 9 hours on the field, I am finally getting my reward (rest and a tomato pie from Delorenzo’s in Robbinsville ). I wish I had more time to write here, enjoy my family, my dogs, my friends, but I think everyone understands my profession after 10 years in the business. It is soccer season, and I am in full swing, and although this is my passion, it is not a hobby, I take my job seriously and dedicate a lot of time to the kids. I hope that parents who read this get a little glimpse of what we do nearly every weekend for 12 weeks in the Spring and Fall, because we work hard and we don’t do it for ourselves, it is always for the players on the field.