If you have a child who is passionate about soccer or you’re a soccer scout or an online sports betting fan with a passion for ‘the beautiful game,’ you may wonder what the signs are that a young player has promise. In this piece, we’ll unpack the known – and lesser-known – talents needed for a soccer player to become a star in the world of professional soccer. Note, these aren’t soccer betting tips but may help you spot a talented player before others do!
Characteristics of a great player
A truly great soccer player isn’t just great when they’re kicking a ball. There are many techniques used both off and on the field that are linked to being great at the game.
Off the field
Success in soccer starts long before kickoff. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when assessing a player before they get anywhere near a soccer field.
Has the right type of body
It’s no secret that your physical characteristics will make you better at certain things and this includes different kinds of sports. To compete in the NBA, height is a major advantage. NFL players are known for their broad shoulders and stocky legs. Long-distance runners are slender and lightweight with strong legs.
To succeed on the field, the ideal body type for a soccer player exists somewhere between an NBA and NFL player and a marathon runner. This is because different physical attributes give them certain advantages. For example, extra height will allow them to beat other players to headers easily. More muscle will be beneficial when fighting for a ball. Long, strong legs will help them keep up on the field over the course of an entire soccer game. If someone has all of these physical characteristics, their body is likely to be well-suited for playing soccer.
Committed to maintaining a fit and healthy physique
Soccer is a physically demanding game, with players needing a high level of stamina to last the full duration of a game while performing at a high level. This is why the best players are committed to training and ensuring they are at peak fitness levels at all times.
Takes the time to develop their soccer skills
A young player may be talented on the field, but if they don’t take the time to practice and develop their soccer skills, they are likely to be surpassed by someone who puts in the time and effort to train and learn.
Develops their mindset
No matter how good a soccer player is, if they have a weak mindset that buckles under pressure or struggle to motivate themselves to perform, they are not going to excel on the field. A player must be able to push through tough situations and have the confidence to lead while also being humble enough to accept feedback from others.
On the field
Assuming someone shows promise before they get on the field, what should you look for once they are in a game? Here are some of the key abilities and talents to look out for.
Is fast and strong
Speed and strength are two of the most important abilities a soccer player should have. A fast player can switch from offense to defense quickly as the game shifts, making them a force to be reckoned with on the field. A fast player can also sprint past their opponents when needed or rush into gaps to make it easier for their teammates to pass. Strength is equally important, even if it’s not in the same way as in football or boxing. In soccer, strength will help a player retain the ball when other players challenge them for it or will help them beat another player when they challenge them for the ball.
Is always on
A player who is “always on” is always focused and aware of what is going on in the game. They don’t get easily distracted, giving them opportunities that other players may miss. They are also highly motivated, which can help raise team morale.
Has good agility, coordination and control of the ball
In many ball sports, people use the phrase “being one with the ball” and this applies equally to soccer. If someone has the natural and trained ability to control the ball so well that it seems like they and the ball are a single unit – whether this applies to skills like dribbling or putting it in the back of the net – they’re likely to be a devastating force on the field.
Has soccer intelligence
Some soccer players seem to have eyes in the back of their heads or can see into the future when you consider how quickly they can make decisions. These players don’t have superpowers but have simply honed their soccer intelligence which is a player’s ability to identify their options before they receive a ball. For instance, good soccer intelligence includes the ability to visualize the entire field to know where your opponents and teammates are. This allows players to make good decisions quickly. They also understand the risks of making certain plays, such as whether a pass or goal will succeed or fail.
Can score goals or defend consistently
The final sign that someone has a lot of promise is their ability to perform consistently on the field. No matter the skill of their opposition or the state of the game, these players are able to keep their cool and stick to the rules required by their specific position in the team for the duration of the game.
Some of the great players who have these skills
There aren’t many players who have these skills, let alone a complete skill set. Here are a few of the soccer greats considered to be the best all-round players:
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Diego Maradona
- Lionel Messi
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