I hope today’s newsletter finds you well. With the uncertainty that still surrounds the state of the world, I’m doing my best to remain consistent in things I feel will be of value to my family, community and self once things eventually get back to “normal.” I hope you’re doing the same or similar.
Over the last few weeks it’s been quite the experience focusing on my work with Black Players for Change in our ongoing efforts to stamp out systemic racism in MLS. Having completed taking lead on our most recent partnership with Players Coalition I’m excited to see Black Players for Change members already taking initiative and participating in activations all across the United States.
Justin Morrow (Executive Director BPC) has just joined ‘Players Coalition Leaders Across Leagues’ group. Along with Natasha Cloud (WNBA), Chris Archer (MLB), Ian Mahinmi (NBA) and Demario Davis (NFL); ensuring representation from their respective leagues on engagement opportunities for all players.
Justin is also working with Ohio Public Defender’s office alongside, Kendall Lamb and Chris Hubbard (NFL) to draft an op-ed in support of Ohio SB256 (ending JLWOP).
Ray Gaddis (Executive Board BPC) is schedule for a virtual town hall with Devin McCourty and Senator Ed Markey to discuss qualified immunity; also launching a qualified immunity PSA series in advance of the town hall to continue education efforts on the issue.
Ray is also working on continuing his efforts in Indiana; collaborating with Players Coalition in outlining next steps to support local campaigns around police reform and accountability…
As I’ve shared with you in the past, awareness is necessary to begin, but committed action over the long term is what will create sustainable positive change.
I’m happy to share what some of my brothers are currently up to and excited to see more members of our organization participating in initiatives they feel passionately about here moving forward.
Additionally, this past week I was fortunate to get to talk to my good friend, former teammate, MSL Mentee, D.C. United goalkeeper and Black Players for Change Executive Board Member Earl Edwards Jr. on episode 79 of the #AskASoccerPro Show.
Earl shared the ways he has improved as a player, what he’s doing with Black Players for Change, and how the MLS is Back Tournament is going!
And finally, I wrote a little something I hope helps our young players out there. I hear/receive so many questions and messages about whether players should focus on their minds or their bodies. You know me, I’m all about the right mentality!
I hope this helps young players out there struggling with these questions, you can read the full article below!
As always, please let me know what you think!
Brains or Brawn?
I receive many questions from the Perfect Soccer community and young players in general, asking whether it’s more important to be strong or more important to be smart. These young players also ask me if they should bother at all with higher education since they plan on going pro. Since these are questions that I field so frequently, I thought I’d discuss them a little more in-depth.
Make no mistake, the majority of the time your mind will outlast your body, both on the soccer field and in life. So, why are so many players intent on neglecting the development of their minds?
Smart or Strong on the Pitch?
Physical fitness is necessary for every soccer player, from rec league to the pros. I would argue though that being smart on the field will provide you with an even more significant advantage than being overly muscular. I once heard it said that if the speed of play is good, then it won’t need to be as physical.
The reality of the situation is, your mind will be in the game far longer than your legs. At some point, you are inevitably going to get tired and need to rely on your soccer IQ and wits to guide you through the game. This is to say that you certainly shouldn’t ignore the development of your mentality in favor of developing your muscles.
But, What About College?
You may be asking yourself, ‘do I need to go to college if I intend on becoming a pro player?’ I’d ask you to think about this scenario, what if you don’t go pro?
Since the majority of players don’t end up going pro, every player should have a strategy that accounts for that worse case scenario. Going to college is in the best interest of most players, and this is coming from someone who is an autodidact who believes that you can learn anything on your own if you have access to the internet and the motivation to do so.
While you can undoubtedly learn anything on your own if you are willing to do the research and reading, the experience of attending college is something that you can’t get from a book. You’ll learn about how to live and work with people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, different beliefs, and different cultures. If you do end up playing pro soccer, understanding how to live and work with different people will serve you well as you integrate into a team.
Now, say you don’t go pro and are seeking employment, what will set you apart from anyone else applying for jobs? If you and the other applicant are equally qualified, the only thing that may give you an advantage is that college degree.
As of now, many people highly value college degrees, and if they are the ones responsible for deciding if you’re getting hired (or not), it’s in your best interest to put your best foot forward. Of course, thinking about not making it pro isn’t what you want to do, but you owe it to yourself to have this possibility accounted for in your action plan and overall strategy.
If you do go to college and end up making it pro, you’re in an even better position! As a player, you’ll be better prepared for when your soccer career does end (and they all end sooner or later).
The earlier you understand that retirement is a part of the process and you begin doing the work today to implement a plan that sets you up for a successful retirement, the likelihood that you make it to the professional level greatly increases.
If at the end you’ve gone to college and have a degree under your belt, you have a better network than those who do not, to head out into the workforce and transition into a different career.
(I may need to write another article on picking a degree/field of study that will give you the greatest chances of accessing a valuable network. Because that’s really what/how I think you should view college and which degree to look to study; an opportunity to build/access a valuable current and future network. At the very least, also know that the type of degree you pursue is most important. Don’t just choose what’s easiest for you right now. You’re capable of much more than you think, don’t sell your future self short because you just want to have fun now. Challenge yourself and have fun, you can do both. You have enough time.)
Approaching it this way means at very least you won’t be starting back at square one, sitting in a college classroom as a grown adult, trying to get your degree while you care for a family, and juggle other responsibilities while wishing you had just done the work necessary the first time around.
Make sure you set yourself up for long-term success by investing in your body and mind. You’ll see the rewards on and off the field.
11-year MLS veteran Quincy Amarikwa welcomes you to episode 79 of the #AskASoccerPro Show! This week, Quincy welcomes former teammate, D.C. United goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. to the show to discuss his mentality, his role in Black Players for Change, and more! Make sure you check outepisode 79 of the #AskASoccerPro Show!
Check out what Quincy and Earl cover:
00:00 – 04:28: Welcome To The #AskASoccerPro Show Ep 79!
04:37 – 08:07: What Does Quincy Have Planned For Ep 100 of the #AskASoccerPro Show?
08:10- 11:42: Do Pro Players Need To Be Muscular? @emiliolemagne
11:43 – 14:29: What Quincy Really Thinks About Josef Martinez And His Mentality @mariopineda55
14:30 – 16:37: How Long Did It Take Quincy To Go Pro? @caleb_ck13
16:44 – 19:08: Is Being Smart Better Than Being Muscular? ? vs. ? @emiliolemagne
19:11 – 22:56: What Age Should You Start Playing Soccer? @emiliolemagne
22:58 – 25:59: How To Be Seen By Scouts! @jonnytest101
26:00 – 29:04: Should You Go To College If You Plan To Play Pro? @emiliolemagne
29:05 – 30:53: Earl Edwards Jr. Joins The #AskASoccerPro Show!
30:54 – 33:53: How Long Has Earl Been In The MSL? ?????
33:54 – 37:07: How Did Earl’s Mentality Get Him Through The MLS Shutdown?
37:08 – 43:43: What Did Earl Focus On To Improve As A Player?
43:44 – 46:30: How Sharing Your Secrets To Success Will Make You A Better Player
46:32 – 51:07: How To Lower Your Body Fat @emiliolemagne
51:08 – 55:17: Did You Catch Earl On CNN And ESPN?!
55:19 – 59:49: 2020 Has Been A Year, And It’s Not Over Yet! #2020VISION ?