Author: Jacob

What Makes a Great Player?

What Makes a Great Player?

For a Soccer Star, the Goals Shift to Style

By Andrew S.

(Transcribed from an original article I wrote years ago when I played for FC Dallas. I still find this article valuable today because it applies to so many current soccer stars.)

One of the greatest things about the world of soccer is that great players go from being simply “good” to being “great.” As they get better they begin to learn specific styles and habits that enable them to more skillfully and efficiently play the game. These styles and routines are developed over time as players learn from others, coaches, training staff, fans and other soccer experts.

This is not to say that “good” players are without fault. They have to make a few fundamental decisions on the field, or they wouldn’t be good. But in comparison to the number of mistakes made by the good players, the mistakes of the “bad” players look almost like nothing on the field.

As I learned from my playing time in Major League Soccer, my experience has been more mixed than that. I was a “good” player, but not a great one. There are many examples of players who have been great for two or three seasons before fading away as people tire of them and they find it too difficult to adapt to their new style of play.

While I knew this was a possibility, I was still surprised after the second season when a friend of mine who was the first person I’d called after an excellent start to his career was cut from the team within days. I was shocked that a world class player would not be able to adapt to the style of play that he’d been hired to coach.

From my own experiences, I’ve learned that there are certain characteristics that seem to be consistent with being “great” players. These characteristics have been described as “style” by many in the sport. Of course, this is a subjective term.

So what constitutes being “the best in this style”? These are the things that help a player become “great” in the world of soccer in this style:

A high work rate with explosive acceleration and acceleration power.

A good all-around game.

A high-level of skill

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