~~ There are some really interesting people out there who have learned or thing or two along the journey in the sport of soccer. We wanted to explore this with them and see what lessons they have learned, some of the things that they have picked up along the way and share some of that will all of us. Much in life can only be learned through experience. By getting out there and doing things. Being in tough situations where you have to fight your way through. Maybe taking some bumps and bruises along the way, but coming out the other side stronger and wiser.
We’ve already heard what Sacha Kljestan’s Lessons Learned….. Next up, our man Charlie Davies with some INCREDIBLE advice.
What you’ve learned about being a good teammate.
I’ve learned through my career that being a good teammate is extremely important. It goes a long way when you’re moving from a new club or especially a new country where you don’t speak the language and aren’t familiar with your surroundings. My first professional experience in Sweden, I was fortunate enough to have teammates who spoke English. The older players on the team were able to help me understand how to be a professional. As a first year player the most important thing I learned was to keep your mouth shut, watch, and learn how to go about day to day training. You have to realize that some of the older players will be very hard on you and at times it really bothers you and gets under your skin but the only reason they’re doing that is because they can see the potential that you have. I’ve been lucky to experience this with the captain of my first club, Hammarby, who I felt yelled at me for every little thing and I’m thinking he doesn’t like me yet he’s telling the coach and other players what a great professional he thinks I will become. It goes to show that no matter how bad you feel or how down you are, to stay focused on the goal of getting better everyday and your teammates respect you for that. When I moved to France, I was thrown into an environment where English wasn’t even tolerated on the training field. I had a great teammate who would interpret every detail for me and really helped me adjust in the locker room. He also showed me the city, the best restaurants, and helped me with daily chores like helping me pay my bills. These kind of players have had a positive influence on me and have helped shaped me into the kind of teammate I am. I try to return the favor with every club I’ve been on. I always want to be the first one to welcome the new players and make them feel comfortable because I know how important that is and what a big difference that makes.
Advice on traveling.
My advice for an aspiring professional when traveling would be to hydrate and sleep. For your muscle to be at optimal levels when you’re performing you need to stay hydrated because all of the travel dehydrates you. Even when you feel full, keep drinking water. I always recommend taking Emergen-C before and after a flight to prevent getting sick. There are so many germs when traveling and it’s easy to pick up a cold or a virus. For jetlag, you want to adjust as quickly as possible. No matter how tempting it may be to take a nap when you first land in a new place, you have to fight the urge in order to get on a normal schedule.
Importance of diet/health and taking care of yourself.
My first six months as a professional, living in Sweden and living alone I resorted to the easiest and quickest way to eat, which was fast food. It would be a burger or kebab every day because I didn’t know how to cook. The coach sat me down, six months in, and told me I needed to eat right to be a successful professional. I then realized the difference I felt when I ate healthier. I had more energy when I was eating right, and I was recovering much better from trainings and matches. I would suggest learning how to cook easy, healthy meals so you won’t ever have to worry about eating out. This is something that has a major role in having a long successful career.
Advice on overcoming difficult times.
Where do I begin. My first year at Hammarby, I didn’t score until the last game of the season. I battled a full season of pressure weighing on me to score my first goal. It ate at me, from week to week, to the point that when I had a chance to score in a game I panicked but I continued to work harder every week until I broke through. Finally, in the last game of the season I scored a hat trick and I was able to use that as a confidence booster heading into the next season where I scored 17 goals.
October 13th, 2009. I was involved in a life changing experience. I had the World Cup in my sights and I couldn’t have been improving at a faster rate as a player. Everything was happening so fast and the next thing I know I’m waking up in a hospital bed with breathing tubes. It wasn’t until 2 weeks later that I realized the significance of my injuries. It took that long to sink in. From that moment I decided that I wasn’t going to let this car accident define my career and I would push myself every single day to my limit until I was back on the field again. I used the 2010 World Cup as motivation and actually tricked myself into thinking I could make it. It wasn’t until March 2011 where I was able to play in my first professional soccer game. Throughout those 2 years I had experienced many tears, more downs than ups, and pain but never doubted myself. I knew that with all the hard work it would eventually pay off. It did. Scoring 2 goals in my first game in 2 years was just the start for me as a new career. I knew I could get back to Europe and sure enough I was able to play a Ligue 1 game against Rennes. I’ve struggled since, but at the end of the day I’m still continuing to get better and I still believe.