Like many of you, I was just a kid with a soccer ball and a dream. Now my dream has become a reality by having played collegiately in D1 for The University of Tulsa, in the MLS for the Philadelphia Union, in the third tier of Swedish football for Gefle IF, and now in the first tier of Swedish football (Allsvenskan) for Örebro SK.
I didn’t have any connections to make it to the pro level growing up and many players and friends at a young age told me constantly, “to make it pro, it’s all about who you know”. And since I didn’t know anyone, I made it my goal to meet as many people as possible who could potentially help me progress in my career. That meant treating everyone I met with respect, giving 100% effort on the field whether it was training or games, constantly asking questions to my youth coaches, and making it known that my goal was to play professionally. The biggest secret to making it to the pro level is this: hold on to all the positive connections you make. Keep in contact with them when you move from team to team, league to league, and level to level. You never know where they will end up, and they could eventually be in a position to directly make your dream of playing pro a reality.
Just by keeping in contact with old coaches, I was able to train between college seasons with many MLS clubs which would eventually leed to my first pro contract with the Philadelphia Union. Those clubs included Chivas USA, FC Dallas, Orlando City, Sporting KC, New York Red Bull’s, San Jose Earthquakes, Portland Timbers, and Houston Dynamo. I was lucky enough to train alongside the likes of Kaka, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Demarcus Beasley, Tim Melia, and Chris Wondolowski just to name a few.
The best way to earn opportunities is through enthusiasm, hard work, and just being a good person! Those principles helped me earn 57 D1 full scholarship offers including notable programs like UCLA, Stanford, Wake Forest, and my top pick, Tulsa; a 31st overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft; and a rewarding and blossoming professional career!
My Kickit Pro Trainer is on the way and I am looking forward to trying it out!
You can follow Jakes's Professional Football career on Instagram: @Jakemcg_1