He should have been the starting keeper but the coach said he was too inconsistent. He was said to make bad decisions under pressure. He didn’t play with enough confidence and was too tentative at times. The coach really didn’t think that Colin was good enough to consistently start at the D-I level. Heck, their team wasn’t even a high level D-I program. So the coach sent Colin to me to work on his head.
Colin felt like he should’ve been starting. He understood the coach’s concerns. He knew he had lapses of confidence. He realized that there were times that he’d get between the posts and be pretty scared. But no matter what anybody said to him, Colin not only believed that he could play at the D-I level. He had a dream to play in goal for a professional team. Of course the coaching staff at his school thought that he was completely off base with this one. The kid couldn’t even out-compete a freshman! How the heck was he going to make it in pro soccer?!
Bottom line: Colin had a lot of past injuries in his life that had accumulated over the years that had been feeding his tentativeness and lack of confidence in goal. As a result, he had been unknowingly suffering from Repetitive Sports Performance Problems. Some of his injuries had been pretty serious. He had been kicked in the face and come very close to being a vegatable for the rest of his life. He’d gotten a few concussions colliding with other players and had broken his hand and fingers trying to stop kicks. Each of these injuries had unconsciously piled up inside of his body and lurked in the back of his mind, stealing his confidence, feeding his nervousness and leaving him tentative and indecisive when he most needed to be aggressive and decisive.
For his junior and senior years we worked on helping him process through these injuries. There were times he had moments of brilliance and then the poor play would return. He never did manage to nail down the starting keeper position and his playing time was frustratingly limited during his senior year.
Despite all of this, Colin never gave up on his dream to play professionally. I lost track of him after he graduated until this past Fall when he called me to tell me the good news. He had just signed a two-year pro contract with a team in Sweden, Ljungskile! Yesterday he sent me an article about his entire ordeal that was done on ESPN.com ( http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=613063&sec=americansabroad&root=americansabroad&cc=5739)
Colin had done the impossible. He had realized his dream after everyone in the “know” wouldn’t have given him a chance in you know what. Sure says a lot about dreamers, doesn’t it?
So if you have one, a big scary one, one that everyone around you thinks is impossible for you, follow Colin’s lead. Follow your heart. Trust yourself and never give up on that DREAM. Do everything in your power to make it happen. And, even if you eventually fall short, at least you’ll know that you went for it!