3000 views on our site

We want to take some time to acknowledge the frequent positive feedback we receive on the content of our site; in a very short period of time, we have registered over 3000 (why is the number 3000 so significant?) views. Thank you all and please keep interacting with us to make the content more targeted, informative and useful to all of us. In the end, it’s not about the numbers but rather about the impact (quality vs quantity) our content has on football families. Our goal will always be to contribute to the betterment of the sport in this country by sharing our coaching, refereeing, playing, but most important of all, parenting football experiences. We are grateful we have this digital space to do so. BTW, the next post will be a continuation of the Agent vs Scout post from last week. For now, cheers and thank you once again.

Also, if you have a few minutes to spare, go give these chums a listen. This week’s episode did not have a guest but we hear Chris Richards is their next guest. Good job Johan et al.

Días de reposo

Lastimarse siendo CUALQUIER tipo de atleta nunca es fácil. El estar lesionado en general, no importa a lo que dediques, es difícil, pero lesionarte como atleta profesional es incluso peor. Especialmente, si eres como yo, que te gusta hacer lo que viniste a hacer, te gusta sentirte productivo y, al final del día, quieres hacer tu trabajo. Imagínate que es como un programador de software que padece de artritis, ó como ser un piloto de línea aérea y tener mala visión. Para mí, esta lesión llegó en un momento absolutamente horrible, pero como dicen … siempre podría ser peor. Sufrí una fractura por estrés en mi pie izquierdo en mi segundo entrenamiento después de regresar de las vacaciones Decembrinas, y el último día del 2019. Aproximadamente una semana antes del campamento sub-20 al que me habían convocado que por cierto, me había costado mucho trabajo convencer al Porto de que me liberara. Originalmente, los médicos no sabían exactamente el grado de mi lesión, ya que la fractura era relativamente pequeña, pero después de obtener una radiografía, determinaron que en realidad estaba fracturado y que realmente necesitaría cirugía. Fue un gran golpe emocional para mí porque tenía muchas ganas de ir al campamento para mostrarme con el nuevo entrenador tal y como lo había hecho hace un par de meses. Sin embargo, soy una persona bastante positiva, así que lo quise ver así del lado positivo. Mi compañero de cuarto Búlgaro había sufrido casi exactamente la misma lesión que yo y lo habían dejado ir a casa durante dos semanas … así que eso era lo que esperaba también. 

Al final del día, resulta que debido a que mi fractura fue menor, tengo un menor tiempo de recuperación, por lo que volver a casa solo retrasaría mi recuperación por la cantidad de tiempo que estuve ahí. Obviamente, también es más fácil volver a casa porque me toma un poco de viaje volver a Dallas. De todos modos, la cirugía salió bien y ahora llevo 2 semanas y mi pie se está recuperando bien, pero ha sido difícil ver a mis compañeros entrenar y siempre te da una nuevo aprecio por el juego que amas. A veces no te das cuenta de cuánto realmente amas algo hasta que lo pierdes, incluso por tan solo un momento. Mi familia, más que nada, me ha ayudado a mantener una actitud positiva porque ha sido duro mentalmente, y algunos de mis mejores amigos también han estado allí para ayudarme, animándome. En general, las lesiones son parte del juego. Este no fue la primera, y aunque me gustaría que fuera, probablemente tampoco será la última. Para cualquier persona en una situación como la mía, lo mejor que se puede hacer es aceptar la situación en la que se encuentra actualmente y aprovecharla al máximo. Fortalece otras partes de ti mismo y mantente positivo durante el proceso. Mantén la cabeza baja y el tiempo comenzará a pasar volando. Todo tiene su motivo de ser. 

UEFA Youth League and more

Well, the result was a loss in PKs after a hard fought match…not desired but in the end, there has to be a winner (even the keeper got to take a PK)…pretty cool run regardless. Unfortunately, the team won’t get to defend the UEFA Youth League title but I’m glad you were able to play in important matches. I know you are sad for being unable to help out but sometimes disappointment is part of your development. Things always happen for a reason.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Now the focus shifts to the second half of the season… I’ll leave you some material below to cheer you up. Remember there’s isn’t a single activity in life that defines us. Find what makes your journey joyous and stick to it.

Meanwhile Jogo says hello from wherever he’s at this week. That little dude is having all the fun in the world.

UEFA Youth League: Porto U-19s vs Salzburg U19s

Here we go again Johan. Different year but the same objective: win and advance to the round of 16 to defend the title from last year. Not an easy task but not an impossible one either. To be honest, it is a privilege to just be able to watch these games..the intensity, the atmosphere, the purity of play…I can’t imagine how fun it is to play them.

It’s unfortunate that you won’t be able to part take of this one due to not being 100% quite yet; however, your recovery has been going amazingly well and you are progressing faster than expected. You have always liked to beat the odds. It’s extremely encouraging that you are practicing again with the team and regaining your top form. Bueeena

Johan practicing finishing with team: 02.03.20

We love the intensity that you show in the video below. You now belong to a great club. Enjoy each day. In the end, it’s about forming those habits and discovering what you are capable of. Keep up the good work rate and hurry back; the team really needs you. Remember, there are three things you can control: preparation, attitude, and aggressiveness/effort. As for tomorrow, let’s use all three to support the team at Olival. #DragōesJuntos #TheGomezway

Johan training 11 vs 11, Porto Portugal (02.11.20)

Agent or Scout? part #1

This post is more informational than anecdotal; remember that one of the objectives of this site is to share our experiences hoping that you find them useful in the pursuit of your soccer (aka football) goals. That said, if you find any content presented herein or any of our other social media platforms useful, we always welcome a shout-out. We are better together and supporting each other, we can get “there” faster; wherever “there” may be. We see absolutely NO reason why other families should stumble upon the same challenges the Gomez’s did. We genuinely feel that if we ever aspire to grow the sport in this country (and within CONCACAF) to a world class level, change starts with us together (and not exclusively for the benefit of our own children). It is indeed a competitive world of sports where the slightest advantage over somebody else can be the difference maker; however, communication is fundamental and information sharing is free and after all, an excellent first step in becoming more educated in different aspects of the game. Informed parents tend to make better decisions; thus, below is our small contribution to that end.

Today, we’ll be writing about agents and scouts as it relates to the first time a player/family interacts with them. See, in numerous occasions, football families have approached us with a gamut of questions regarding the roles of agents and/or scouts to increase their football player’s chances of professional success. There’s so much to share in that regard, especially as those two terms are often misused interchangeably. So, let’s start off by trying to describe each one in some level of detail based on our experience. Note: differentiating them may take the bulk of this post and that’s why this is only part #1 of several to come. Here we go…

Wikipedia defines an agent as “...a legal representative for professional sports figures such as athletes and coaches. They procure and negotiate employment and endorsement contracts for the athlete or coach whom they represent“. Let’s start by saying that football agents make a living off of placing players (under contract) at professional clubs. With a growing number of US based players seeking professionalism, domestically or internationally, the agents’ main objective (at least initially) is to convert as many amateurs into professional players in the shortest possible time. Ultimately, a football agent could be the person with the right connections at various clubs who can open the initial door for a player (sometimes the hardest to crack).

In our US youth (younger than 18 years of age) football setup, a football agent, interested in representing a player professionally, often has the ability to first assist amateur players (and their families) by providing FREE advice/guidance without compromising the players’ amateur status (more on this topic later). As the player-agent relationship gradually grows, the agent will try to convert the player to a professional status as that conversion inevitably will translate into a source of income (one-time or continuous). Therefore, agents view players as personal investments and thus their motivation to pass out FREE advice initially is part of establishing rapport and credibility. Beware, most agents are eloquent, articulate and well-trained in the form of praising players; however, not all are competent and/or honest to reveal your player’s improvement areas.

Agents may have different potential professional paths for your player; thus, leverage the free advice/guidance from as many agents as possible, without signing any legal paperwork or becoming a professional (paid) player. Why is not signing any legal paperwork important? In the US, once a youth player “signs any type of legal paperwork with/for an agent/agency”, the player likely loses NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA eligibility (the ability to play football in most college/universities as an amateur) and potentially leaves significant football scholarship money on the table. College is expensive so make the decision about signing carefully!!!

In general, agents come from different backgrounds, some of the most successful ones have no knowledge of the game via their own playing careers, others mostly watch the beautiful game at the youth level, others are active participants of online youth football forums which they use to validate their own player assessments/opinions, others are businessmen/lawyers who entered the profession for the lucrativeness and yet others are a hybrid of the above. Incidentally, their expertise is usually adequate to assess your player’s chances for a trial at a particular club of their choice. Unfortunately, most agents are only able to provide a very black/white evaluation of your player; therefore, do not ever expect a thorough (ex. physical, tactical, technical, emotional, etc.) assessment of your player as that’s not what agents do best and their potential high player/agent ratio may hinder having the time to perform such evaluation (more on this player/agent ratio in a future post). Also, their knowledge of the game is centered around youth and focused on very specific geographical markets.

An example of this is the attractiveness of the German market for US youth players. Aside from that European market, very few agents have the necessary connections (relationships), desire, cultural knowledge about other European football markets. Similarly, agents don’t really *discover* players; nowadays with social media (ex. YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, player forums, player databases, etc.), players are so hyped by fans that agents have become excellent online talent “hunters”. Thus, agents end up competing with each other to first engage the player (and their family) and ultimately route players from team A to team B. Once they succeed in placing the player, it’s natural for that relationship to deteriorate a bit as the primary goal for family and player has been achieved. Let’s be clear, football talent identification is not an exact science either; the little discovery agents do perform is indeed difficult if one considers the massive pool of players. My advice to parents is that if you need a genuine talent evaluation of your player (ex. opportunity areas), find yourself a scout who in general is better equipped to provide unbiased assessment and is trained to evaluate your player in different aspects of the game.

Conversely, Wikipedia defines a football scout as a person who “…attends football matches on behalf of clubs to collect intelligence”. Agents usually work for themselves, their agency or have an immediate ve$ted intere$t in recruiting players/families; scouts usually work for somebody else (ex. a club) allowing them to be more thorough and genuine in their player evaluations. Scouts tend to attend the games physically while agents do a lot of their work virtually. Scouts report their technical findings back to their club (employer) along with a recommendation. The club’s technical staff then decides whether there’s enough interest to continue monitoring the player in upcoming competitions. If the player continues to excel, the club may decide to invite such player for a trial. Otherwise, the player may go into the team’s database. If the player is invited to a trial, the player will be further evaluated thoroughly (ex. physically, technically, emotionally, tactically) relative to current club players both individually and collectively with the team. In general, scouts come from different backgrounds but unlike agents, the majority of scouts either played or coached the game at a high level. That said, scouts are not necessarily trained in the art of public relations; they can talk “football” forever but their interaction with parents sometimes can be awkward. For example, we wouldn’t expect agents to know the laws of the game; scouts, on the other hand, can probably recite them all.

As you can see from above, we have had more experience interacting with agents than scouts. In future posts, we are going to scrutinize the most common questions posed to us and provide an opinion on how we tackled specific nuances ourselves with the boys. Remember that the use of an agent or scout does NOT necessarily turn your footballer into a professional player. However, once your player decides to turn professional, then, the selection of an agent/scout depends on a lot of factors which are good to break down in future posts. Some are listed below.

Caveat: each player/family situation is unique so what may have worked (or not) for us may not for you or vice-versa. Some factors to consider while selecting an agent/scout are player’s playing/academic aspirations/expectations, club situation (depth chart), multiple nationalities, multiple players in the family, family connections, agent/scout reputation, family ties, agent/scout network, family finances, etc. Each player’s journey is different. Above all, select an agent/scout who really cares about your player as shown by their actions and not just their eloquent words.

Done at last…in other news

It is never easy to say good-bye (Instagram icon above) to longtime friends and teammates under any circumstances, but in the end, one must move on to pursue different opportunities when the current setup is no longer a viable option. We are not aspiring to be pioneers, insurgents, or anything of that sort but we know many families are currently on the same boat. For those of you right in the middle of it, know that there are options, but the risk/reward ratio is high. Odds are meant to be beaten; we are ALL in now. Also, know that we are in it together…and in the end, no matter what happens, the friendships will endure all adversities.

Jogo alongside a natural leader on and off the field. Pure class (01.11.20)

As Jogo begins his transition from an important stage of his football career to a new chapter of his life, Johan sets foot again on a soccer field for a light jogging and passing session. Baby steps they say; it was an excellent day today indeed. We are grateful. God’s timing is always perfect.

Johan grinding at Olival 01.20.20

In other news, Johan and his ex-teammates started a new project (click on the YouTube icon below). If you find the content useful, funny, witty, or silly, give them a like or subscribe to the channel. It’s entertaining but what can I say? I am a bit biased.

In other news, the third Jogo scored this beauty of a goal in a tournament this past weekend. We keep working because it is the #theGomezway

Joana with the game winner, Mckinney, TX (02.01.20)