50 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE PLAYING COLLEGE SOCCER
I (Mitch Rosendall) grew up playing youth soccer in Grand Rapids, MI. Some of you may remember GRASA, AC Storm, Grand Valley Premier, and Alliance FC. Once I got into high school at Forest Hills Eastern my mother began driving me to Detroit to play 2-3 times a week during the spring season. I was on Vardar for a couple of seasons before joining Michigan Wolves (now Crew SC Academy Wolves) and carpooling with the other local Grand Rapids guys who were playing on the east side. From my Crew SC Academy Wolves team, the majority went on to play college soccer at big-time collegiate programs (Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Duke, Western Michigan, Detroit Mercy, Butler, Northwestern University, Georgetown University, Stanford, Saginaw Valley, Harvard), and a couple went straight to playing professional ball overseas.
I ended up accepting a scholarship at Western Michigan University to play but after the season I transferred back to the hometown to play at Aquinas College. I had the most fun of my football career playing center midfield at Aquinas. We won the WHAC title and later lost to Rio Grande in our National tournament matchup my first season. We had a very talented team that year and I believe we’d compete with the likes of some good Division 1 schools. After losing that game, I took a few weeks off from football to get my mind fresh and recover from the season. I remember picking up an injury though, from getting stuck in on a tackle. I felt something was a little off with my knee, yet I neglected to go to see our trainer because I figured I’d be healthy just by taking some time off. Well, I ended up tearing my ACL (no contact) in the offseason by simply trying to turn out of light pressure.
I’m sharing my background of the game so readers know I’m not only an Arsenal and Barcelona aficionado. My parents didn’t play football, yet they are the reason I’m the man and player I am today. I’m positive my brother’s Brent (Louisville, Michigan State) and Lucas (Michigan) would agree that my father pushed us unlike other dads and my mother dedicated hours of her time driving and caring for us to be our best. Us players should take more time thanking our parents for all they do for us.
Since I absolutely enjoy spreading the love and knowledge of the beautiful game of football I’d like to share a few pointers to those heading off to play college ball in the next month or so.
- Don't be late. Ever. The whole team will pay for it.
- Intensity. Bring it more than you ever have
- Write down your goals.
- Take your classes seriously.
- Come into camp in the best shape of your life. It’s going to be hard!
- Some people will never see your potential; don’t let it stop you from trying.
- Foam rolling 101: Bring your foam roller everywhere and make it an everyday routine like brushing your teeth.
- Eat more and take care of yourself. With hours of practice and games, your body needs more fuel. Listen to it.
- There is more to life than missing a party.
- Respect your seniors and "Play for them". You’ ll be there one day.
- Wear your College or Universities apparel, not your favorite teams.
- Always drink water when your coach gives you a water break, whether you're thirsty or not.
- Your bumps, bruises, and scars are something to be proud of, not hide.
- Bring an external charger (Mophie) on the bus. The outlets rarely work.
- Keep your locker clean.
- Never blame yourself for losing in penalty kicks. It should never have been tied in the first place.
- On sale Dri-Fit tees. Take advantage of deals like this.
- Drink chocolate milk.
- GET STUCK IN!
- If they try to bring you down, say goodbye, peace.
- Keep your composure.
- Be nice to your parents after your game; no matter how angry you are that you lost.
- Take your classes seriously.
- Eat the whole pizza pie. You'll run it off later.
- Stop venting your problems out loud. Your coaches and teammates won't appreciate the negativity.
- Going out on the weekends is all fun and games until you’re up at 6 am on a Monday for conditioning.
- You can be great without being a starter.
- Don’t be afraid to push your teammates
- TALK when you’re on the pitch
- Take advantage of every single Athletic Department and University/ College offering that makes me more accomplished and more functional for life after college
- Learn to apologize. Maybe that free-kick wasn’t your fault, but making somebody else feel like it was their fault is only hurting the team.
- If he or she can’t understand your busy schedule, they probably never will.
- It’s one bad practice. Don’t let it carry over into your next one. Overcome.
- Embrace Panera. It will seem like a Thanksgiving meal compared to the Subway sandwich you get every time you travel.
- Be kind, it’s gangster. You were there at one point, and it sucks just as much for them, as it did for you.
- Your parents know when you’re hurting well before you'll admit it to yourself.
- Get in the ice bath. It’s cold YES, but it feels so good and helps with recovery.
- It’s very important to have an academic plan, do internships, and travel during the summer.
- Act with class, always. Your coach has eyes and ears everywhere and you’re a representation of your team.
- Character is critical throughout the recruiting process and your first year.
- Talk with respect to your coach, teammates, and referees. Being rude won’t get you anywhere.
- Flush mistakes or they will weigh you down like a backpack.
- Focus on attitude and effort even when the game isn’t going your way.
- Don’t get annoyed by a teammate who follows you around. Imitation is a form of flattery.
- You can still be a good teammate without needing to be best friends with somebody.
- Don’t hesitate to tell a teammate something you admire about them. You never know what it could mean to them.
- Failing to plan is planning to fail
- Get good at putting on your socks/shin guards/cleats really fast. You’ll probably be rushing every time you do.
- Even if you're the fittest person on your team, conditioning isn't "stupid". It's about your team going through something together.
50. Have fun - it only lasts 4 years