Becoming a Pro Soccer Player

Becoming a Pro Soccer Player
Photograph by Matt Hawthorne

NAME: Brek Shea |  AGE: 22 |  HOME: College Station |  QUALIFICATIONS: Selected by FC Dallas as the second pick in the 2008 draft / Led the team in goals (11) and shots (75) in 2011 / Earned a spot on the All-Star team last year and was a finalist for the league’s MVP award / Named the 2011 Young Male Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Soccer Federation

● During my freshman year of high school, I played football and soccer 
because they were at different times 
of the year. Then I told my football coach, 
“I just want to play soccer from now on,” and he told me that I would never get a 
college scholarship playing soccer. 
I think I made the right decision.

● I went to the IMG Bollettieri 
Tennis Academy when I turned fifteen. That’s where the U.S. soccer program based its U-17 national team. At 
the time, the only thing I thought 
about was that I was going to get free cleats. But you know what? I still 
get excited about free cleats.

● When I joined the national team, 
I didn’t know anybody, so Clint Dempsey took me to dinner. We’re both from small towns in Texas and had similar situations growing up. He did it the right way, 
so hopefully I can follow his lead and 
accomplish half of what he has done.

● I want to be a little different, both on 
and off the field, so I don’t want a haircut like everyone else. I do the faux-hawk a lot. It’s like a mohawk, but with a mullet.

● I play my best when I’m not 
thinking. I’ll score a goal, but I won’t 
remember how I did it. Then, when 
I go back and watch the film, I’m like, 
“Oh yeah. That was pretty cool.”

● I’ve noticed lately that people 
recognize me more often, especially 
in Dallas. Fans will say, “Hey, what’s 
up, Brek?” or ask to take a picture. 
Dallas is a hard market because you have the Mavericks, the Cowboys, and the Rangers, but interest in soccer is definitely growing.

● There’s a different feeling 
when you suit up for the 
national team. I don’t want 
to let my country down.

● I trained in England for a month 
last year with Arsenal, one of the 
best-known teams in the world. 
The standard is so much higher over there. If we get five chances in a game, we might be lucky to score once. 
If they get five chances, they’re 
going to score four out of the five.

● At the professional level, the players are obviously trained, trained, and trained. Your body knows what to do—
you just have to let it do it.

● I love being in Dallas, but when the 
time is right, I want to go after my 
dream of playing in Europe. I think 
that will help me get better—and help 
me achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a key player on our national team.

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