SoccerToday Series on What I Know Now “College Was The Right Choice”
SoccerToday Series on What I Know Now shares advice and wisdom from former soccer professionals and high-level soccer coaches.
Ryan Guy is a homegrown San Diego soccer player who has played for MLS’ New England Revolution, NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions and NPSL’s San Diego Flash. A citizen of the world, Guy has traveled playing soccer for Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Athletic FC and plays professionally for the GUAM National Team. Guy is also currently the Asst. Director of the USSF Development Academy for San Diego Surf Soccer Club.
I am now 29 years old. I played soccer professionally for 8 years; 4 in Europe, 4 in the US. I also played 4 years in college at the University of San Diego. I certainly don’t consider college to be on the same level as the pro game, but living through the university system prepared me for life as a professional footballer.
It wasn’t easy to get in to college, and even more of a challenge to win a scholarship. Once I was in, I was basically on my own for the first time in my life. Completely responsible for my own actions. I wasn’t really alone though, because at school I found myself surrounded by thousands of individuals in the same part of life. Yes, most of us were travelling in different directions, some toward medical school, some toward sales jobs, others to nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I happened to be moving toward playing professional soccer. The fact is, we were all going in a thousand different directions, but we were all heading toward “real life…adult life” at the same time, in the same geographic place, and we had one another as support.
The balancing act of life is condensed and magnified in college. For me, for nine months straight, it was class and homework five days a week, likewise with training, with up to two games each weekend for half the year. One could argue that while in school you get a three month break for the summer, but with the Professional Development League (PDL) happening from May-July every year, for an aspiring footballer, these are the necessary summer internships that don’t provide for much of a break at all.
I point this out not to try and make it sound overwhelming, because it was not. I bring this up because living through this schedule allowed me to emerge from those four years fully prepared to take on the demands of physically training my body everyday and to deal with the psychological pressures that come with performing at the highest levels of sport.
In addition, as I now retire from my playing career in the MLS New England Revolution a well as in the NASL and the NPSL – I am finding that some of the skills that I picked up from classes that I took and many of the social connections that I made in college are helping to ease the next transition from being a footballer, to a coach and entrepreneur.
I’m certainly not arguing that our system in the US is perfect, nor that college is the answer for every aspiring pro but it worked well for me. College prepared me for the pros, and maybe even more importantly, for life after the pros.
Advice from the Pros Series: WHAT I KNOW NOW with Nick Perera, Rachel Buelher, Taylor Twellman & Colin Chesters
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