Since I was introduced to the beautiful sport two decades ago, there has been a lot of memorable learning experiences that reach far beyond the technical and tactical aspects of the game. All the components of development and growth within learning any discipline is likewise prevalent in the success in football. The amount of discipline, persistence and strategic training involved in a players growth will ultimately determine the level of professionalism they acquire.
Many players might reach a high level of performance, through the exploitation of their raw talents and hard work, but there are many aspects of professionalism that surpasses simply “putting a round object in the back of a net.” Such characteristics include an ethical methodology to development and moral approach to competition. This calls into account all phases of a players education while excelling towards becoming proficient and progressive footballer. The mentalities instilled during their training, and the values attached to their approach will have a lasting effect on character whether it is on or off the field.
Success and failure in football like any sport or professional field will be determined by many factors. A players value system will be developed through the sport and equally, their value system will effect their development and performance.
Throughout my playing career as a youth, amateur, professional and international player, I have seen and personally experienced many instances where actions might question ones morals, values or professionalism. It is through these instances where ones principles might be promoted, instigated, or challenged and the decision to execute right from wrong is where we begin to shape who we are as people, as athletes and more importantly as professional role models.
From my diverse upbringing in the big city of New York, I have had the great opportunity to be exposed to many different cultures and all walks of life. Other peoples traditions, customs and ethnicities became learning experiences for me everywhere I looked. The mentalities and values of various people showed me that there is a vast perspective on everything, and nothing is left written in stone. Seeing, hearing and experiencing these points of view have helped shape who I am today and continue to form my own belief system. I feel very lucky to be able to absorb, understand and articulate some of the many outlooks I have encountered.
Living in Manila and playing in a different league in another country for the first time, is yet another learning ground for me and experiencing new mentalities can be invigoration and life changing. Most of all, such encounters promote reflection, reinforcement or change in a person’s future actions.
During the last season, we have been faced with many instances of violence. With the frustration level and stressors of the game rising, it did not surprise me such acts would occur. In fact throughout several matches that we have played, the boiling tensions between players on the field have escalated to explosive-near violent conditions. As professionals, we are ready for any turmoil that comes our way, whether it is insulting language, offensive actions, or even physical violence, but that does not mean there is a place for it in the sport. These instances really make you question the professionalism within players, especially when physical violence is extremely prevalent among teams and throughout the league.
Hard play, fouls and toughness will forever be a part of competition, but what will determine a players and a team’s professionalism will be how they distribute, exhibit, absorb this factors. I hope that the with the onset of the games popularity, we can all attain a holistic approach to developing the sport, where by not only technical and tactical abilities can grow, but we can also emphasize a genuine ethical and moral approach to the beautiful game.
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