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How to: Become a Professional Footballer with Aubrey Bledsoe

Hey TKI nation!

My name is Aubrey Bledsoe, I was a goalkeeper for Wake Forest University from 2010-2014. I chose to forgo the NWSL draft to play overseas in Norway last fall and am now back in the U.S. playing professionally for Sky Blue FC! As we kicked off preseason this morning I was reflecting on my journey thus far. It's been a dream of mine to play professional soccer in the U.S. and now it's a reality! So how did I get here?! 

Here are some of the things I've learned along the way that have gotten me to where I am today:

1. There are no shortcuts.
It takes A LOT of hard work to be successful. Sure, some people have more natural athleticism than others, but you can only ride that for so long. You have to commit to giving 100% in every training and then do extra on top of that. 

2. Seek out mentors in your life.
It's important to surround yourself with people you can learn from, both on the field and off. Building character is just as important as physical training.

3. Embrace your weaknesses and make them strengths.
I tried covering up my weaknesses but everything is exposed at the professional level. The sooner you acknowledge the areas which need improvement, the quicker you can turn them into strengths. Start working on your left foot now!

4. Have a vision for your life.
Spell out your dreams and go after them! Know where you want to go, then figure out how to get there.

5. Train smarter, not necessarily harder.
Just because you are on the soccer field doesn't mean you're getting better. It takes mental focus and purposeful training to improve. Quality is much more important than quantity! 

6. Be a student of the game. 
Be open to receiving feedback and expanding your knowledge base. Coachability goes a long way, there's always more to learn. Watch video of yourself and your favorite teams.

7. Don't forget to have fun and pursue other passions as well!

I've had the pleasure of training with Jill Loyden and TKI for the past 2 weeks in preparation for preseason. There's no doubt that TKI is developing some future professional goalkeepers and even better people! Keep working hard!