What does a star soccer player have that gives him the edge? This is a commonly asked question with no definite answer. There is no magic formula, but there are qualities that every player must have.
Top 5 Characteristics a soccer player should have
1. Technical Skill. This can be split into 3 main categories that must be mastered, to become a top footballer.
Ball mastery and Ball control: Collection of, control and manipulation of the ball with both feet, legs, chest and head.
Dribbling and Running with the Ball: With the ball under full control, you need to be able to move in different directions at varying speeds.
Body Movement and Body Shape: Balance and Coordination are very important. Efficiently moving your body, with or without the ball, can maximise your impact as a player.
2. Game Intelligence. ‘Tactical awareness’, ‘great vision’, and ‘footballing brain’ are some of the expressions people use to explain the term, ‘Game Intelligence’. It is not something you can teach a player. It is measured simply by evaluating the speed at which a player makes decisions during play on the pitch.
Spatial Awareness: Quickly visualising and understanding what is happening on the football pitch at any time during play.
Risk Assessment: Assessing the play and making the right decisions that will have a positive impact on the play for your team.
3. Mindset. This is a key ingredient in a footballer’s make-up and will determine on which level you play. The higher up on the football ladder you progress, the more important your mindset becomes. You will need Passion and drive, mental toughness, Leadership, Coachability, Self Motivation and Responsibility.
4. Team Player. Football is a team sport. You win together and you lose together. Teams generally perform better as a collective, therefore it is important for a player to operate to the best of their ability within the team environment. An individual that does something special in a game raises the level of the teams’ play. The effort put in will rub off on the whole team.
5. Physique. Athletic ability can often set a player apart from others. Areas to focus on are agility, balance, coordination, power and strength, speed and stamina.
Even if you do have all these attributes in your favour, it will still take many years of fine tuning and practise to become a Top Level Football Player.