I have played in Europe for about seven years now and during that time I’ve played for clubs in Hungary, Holland, Switzerland, and Scotland. Many of you following me on social media are desperate to play in Europe, it is your dream to play in Europe, so I’m going to tell you exactly how it is for me.
Picture yourself leaving home, whether that be from the States, Australia, or India, or wherever you may be from, and moving to Amsterdam. You will immediately notice as you walk off the plane, different sounds, different sights, and different languages. Imagine you arrive in Amsterdam without knowing anyone. No friends or family. You get a week of training to get yourself adjusted and start emailing clubs in the region to schedule your first training session. You arrive at the training sessions and hopefully someone knows English and can point you in the direction of the coach. Now it’s time to prove to the coach that you’re at the same level, or hopefully better, than the current players on the roster.
If you’re arriving from a country, such as American or Australia, where football is not the number one sport, there is going to be a stigma attached to you. You also have to get adjusted to the language, you’re not always going to be able to understand the conversations of your teammates. Now you have to get on the field and prove yourself to the coaches and players that you’re unfamiliar with, good luck.
Many of you email me and say “Nick, there are many more opportunities in Europe, it’s going to be easier for me to play there.” As soon as you have an attitude like that, you’re going to be crying on the way back from training.
Instructions are being given in a language you don’t understand and you may not even being correctly doing the exercises. You ask teammates for help but they don’t speak English, now the coaches are looking at you wondering what you’re doing. The ball comes to you and you lose it and players are shouting in their foreign languages for you to go here and go there. The ball is over your head and a goal is scored and everyone looks at you wondering why you aren’t catching on.
Players who were great in their home country, go home after this first training session abroad with this lower league team and think “What happened?” A lot of players will go home, and they think they’re never going to train with them again, I’m quitting football.
It’s a shock to your system, you might not know how to react. You’ve lost your confidence. This is why you need to know if you go abroad, it’s not a walk in the park. You need to have mental toughness. Learn to cope with everything that is being thrown at you, all the new communication, all the new players, and coaches.
But if you decide to go to the next training and remain calm and confident, and have the willingness to learn all that new information in, and accept that mistakes will happen, things will change for you.
Be patient. Getting better does not happen overnight. Success on the field takes weeks, months, years, of hard training and you need to be dedicating yourself for the long haul.
Take a look at traineffective.com to review all this information we talked about and see what it really takes to become a great player.
Nick Humphries, 25, is a footballer who played in England (Wimbledon), Scotland (Montrose), Holland (Volendam), Hungary (Vasas) as well as with the Australian U20 national team. At 16 years of age, he was just an average amateur player with limited skills. Only one year later he was offered $120k+ in scholarships. Two years later he received a contract to play professionally in Europe. How did he get better? He trained in his own way! Learn more about the training program he’s creating to help players improve on their own terms.