If you follow me on social media, you probably don't need to read this considering you've seen it.. but I’ve had a handful of people ask me how I was going to train during the offseason with my transition between clubs. After my rookie season I moved back to Spartanburg to finish my degree at Wofford before heading back home to Raleigh for Christmas. I’ll get to this chapter of the #dreamchasing journey later, but while in Spartanburg during that offseason, I was hired as an assistant coach for the Wofford Men’s side. I was able to train daily with the squad which at that time still had a handful of players I played with during my time there. I would end up moving back to Charleston for my second season the second week in January and would train with other teammates already under contract and/or in Charleston for the next 3-4 weeks before preseason officially started. After my second season with the Battery, I stayed in Charleston during the offseason. There were a handful of guys in town who were still under contract so from December until February, we would play and train both indoors and outdoors. So, to finally get back to this offseason; I was coming home. After our season ended, I had roughly 3 weeks in Charleston before heading back to Raleigh. During those 3 weeks in Charleston, I trained at The Bar Fitness Club in Summerville. I was lucky enough to have a roommate who went to high school with the owner and therefore, got the VIP hook up on a professional facility just down the street. Coming back to Raleigh to train was where things would get interesting.
I’ve been in Raleigh for about 3 weeks now and have trained everyday. Best part about it, everyday’s different. I was lucky enough when I was younger to grow up a member of North Hills Club, family oriented pool, tennis, and athletic club. It was great during the summers as a kid but once I grew up, graduated, and went off to Wofford, I rarely was in Raleigh, and when I was, it typically was over the holidays, so there wasn't much use for an outdoor pool. But the fitness room/gym on the other hand had top notch equipment and was just a few minutes down the street from my neighborhood.
So… I’m in the gym everyday. Again, if you follow me on social media, you're probably rolling your eyes. The facilities at North Hills have everything a professional weight room has. From treadmills, to free weight bench/squat, assisted-free weights, machines, and one of my personal favorites, the yoga studio; which for me is an indoor speed/agility room with the weekly yoga session. If you've made it this far, I’ve got ya, so I’m going to explain something real quick… I grew up tiny. I was the smallest of all my friends. I was athletic, I was scrappy, but I was the smallest and definitely the weakest. I was 5’6 when I was 16, 6’1 when I graduated high school, 6’4 when I left Wofford and now sitting just shy of 6’6. We’ll get to it in #dreamchasing, but I was cut from numerous teams and used that adversity as motivation. I truly believe I got to where I am today because of every one that told me I couldn't or can’t. As soon as I heard that, I essentially wanted to thank them for doubting me, because I was just going to turn around and prove them wrong. Before coming down off my pedestal, there’s a BIG difference between a gym rat and a kid who had a dream, lives his dream everyday, and never wants to lose, therefore, in the gym every day during the offseason because his only priority is getting better!
So on top of going to the gym everyday, I was lucky enough to come across quality pick up and training. I was only back in Raleigh for 2-3 days before I got a text from a buddy of mine who has been playing professionally for the past handful of years here in Raleigh. He told me about how handfuls of his teammates at NCFC and some other pros from other clubs in the USL and NASL were in Raleigh for the offseason, and were going to try to meet up 2-3 times a week to train and play. I was all about it! Cool little side note, we have been playing at the complex where I grew up playing. Small world, but not really.
So right now I’m hoping I’ve painted a decent picture of what my days look like during the offseason. It’s pretty simple. I wake up, eat breakfast, walk my dog, and then either go train before going to the gym or I just go to the gym. On days where we don't train, my little kid comes out as I have to get some touches on the ball. This is where it gets fun. I’ve only been to 3 different fields as of now, but on days where we don't play pick up, I’ll go about my morning routine, go to the gym, and then drive to just about any field in Raleigh that has goals and that I can get on. I’ll usually spend an hour or two just getting touches; dribbling, juggling, passing shooting.
People are going to hate, they always have and they always will. We wish it was different but it’s inevitable. For me, I love everything about hate. I love when people hate on me. I love when people talk trash. I love when people say I can’t do something. I love when I’m underestimated. Don't get confused, I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing this for me and my family. So keep hatin’, because you're just throwing fuel on my fire.