I didn’t always want to be a professional soccer player. The truth of the matter is, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be until I sat down at the kitchen table with my club coach and my mom and he laid out the possibilities for me. Once I knew that professional soccer was an option, my next thought was: How do I get there? It was an exciting yet somewhat scary time because now I knew the possibilities, I just wasn’t sure how to make it a reality. I spent 3-4 nights per week on the soccer field training with my teammates but once I realized my professional ambitions, I wanted to do more. But what? I knew I wasn’t great with my feet, but I didn’t know what else to do besides play small-sided games with my teammates before practice. I wanted to improve my quickness, but I didn’t really know how to do that other than throw some cones on the ground and do footwork drills.
Don’t get me wrong, I had help when I was growing up. Philip Poole has been a great mentor since I first started at South Charlotte Soccer Association (yes, I’m old). Bobby Rosario helped me realize my passion for soccer and desire to become a professional. Aidan Heaney aided in my development from a young, raw 18- year-old goalkeeper into something resembling a professional-ready prospect by the end of my college years. There were plenty of people along the way who guided me in the direction necessary to fulfill an 8-year professional career and for that I will be forever grateful. So now it’s my turn.
Maximum Soccer was a concept developed with the expressed desire to further develop talent beyond the traditional methods of youth soccer clubs. There are hundreds of thousands of youth players across the country who regularly spend time with their local clubs training and learning the game. Unfortunately, in many cases, not every player gets the individual attention they need in each training session. We aren’t here to point fingers or blame youth soccer clubs; we are simply here to help. Our goal is to be an additional developmental pathway for all soccer players beyond the normal soccer practice. Maximum Soccer’s aim is to give players the repetitions and touches necessary to really master their craft which will ultimately help their development both in practice and games.
The TOCA machine we use to enhance our training sessions was developed by former U.S. Men’s National team player and MLS star Eddie Lewis. He developed the machine when he realized a need in his own training regimen for more consistent touches as well as a need to vary his training. The result was a machine that offered him various speeds and flight patterns that mimicked game like scenarios. I use the machine to help me with different aspects of my training; various professionals at every level of the game do the same, so we figured why shouldn’t our youth soccer players use it as well?
No matter what level of the game you’re at, we want to help you develop not only your technical abilities but also a love for the game. Training in an enjoyable environment where you can compete and push yourself is something that all athletes should love. I enjoy stepping into the facility with my teammates and pushing each other or even throwing the music on and running a session on my own. I want to instill that same joy in as many players as possible by showing them the possibilities that are out there by simply doing a little extra work!