There is typically a performance gap between North American players and academy players at European professional clubs. Many young players travel over to Europe to train at professional clubs but why do the majority return without any pathway into the professional game in Europe?
During my Masters Degree studies in Performance Coaching at the University of Sterling and in conversations with academy coaching staff during study visits to Wolves (England), RCD Espanyol & Sevilla FC (Spain), FC Porto (Portugal) and Chievo Verona (Italy) I have studied this subject in depth.
Why did players like Theo Corbeanu (Wolves) and Keito Lipovschek (Burnley trialist) excel in Europe and attract the attention of professional clubs - even though they did not develop within highly structured and sophisticated professional academy structures and received less formal training than the 8,500 hours received by the players they were competing against?
It is my belief that it came down to the individual person. Both players in my opinion had the mindset to overcome the obstacles of growing up within a less structured playing environment in Canada. In their excellent book "Talent Development - a practitioners guide" Dave Collins and Aine MacNamara outlined the inputs and outputs of a talent development pathway.
When I review the progress of Theo and Keito I would conclude that they both had to take ownership of their own environment as they were not part of a professional club academy system - in their foundation and early youth development phases. Instead, they adopted healthy lifestyle, growth mindset and created their own development environment where they devoted long hours improving their performance levels at an individual level. Personal motivation, persistence and hard-work were at the foundation of all this work.
So, how can you as a young player give yourself the best opportunity to achieve this level of success by closing the performance gap and succeed in Europe?
I will be hosting a player/parent workshop tomorrow evening (February 2nd) at 6PM EST to provide players and parents a template to follow to not only close the performance gap but excel beyond that level to succeed in Europe at a professional club.
Many players go across from North America to train in Europe but are they adequately prepared to succeed when they arrive there like Theo Corbeanu (Wolves) and Keito Lipovschek (Burnley FC trialist)?
If you cannot attend the Webinar due to a conflict register using the link below and a recording will be sent out to you next day.
Sign up for my FREE player/parent workshop on February 2 at 6 pm EST