As both a high-level soccer player and soccer coach, I’ve encountered a wide range of personalities on the field.
For example, some of my college teammates were outgoing and energetic, always dancing and singing during pregame. Then, other players (myself included) were a bit more serious, intense, and reserved.
So which personality traits are the most important for soccer players?
The best soccer players are hardworking, resilient, and focused, and have important qualities that lead them to continuously improve.
There are many important traits that soccer players need to be successful, and all of the traits can be developed over time.
Understanding important personality traits and interests for soccer players is crucial for developing as a well-rounded player and reaching your goals.
What are the personality requirements of a soccer player?
One of the important personality qualities that youth soccer coach Bobby Howe points out is adaptability. Soccer is fast-paced, and the circumstances during a game are constantly changing. Top players are able to quickly adapt to the ever-changing game.
Elite soccer players are competitive. They are driven to win as a team, but they are also driven to win individual battles on the field. Competitive players are willing to go all out for their sport, doing whatever it takes to succeed.
But being competitive is not just about winning, it’s also about a drive to constantly improve.
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”quote by Tim Notke
That certainly holds true for soccer players. Talent often puts youth players ahead, but over time a lack of hard work will catch up.
Even the best players must continuously work hard to improve their skills and tactical understanding of the game.
The mental ability underlies all physical performance. Athletes must believe in their abilities to succeed. Throughout their soccer careers, players will face criticism, mistakes, and other difficult situations. Confidence is what will help them move past these issues and grow as a player.
Soccer is mentally and physically draining. Players must be mentally tough to overcome the adversity they will face in games, at training, and off the field. Mentally tough players can push past difficult games or personal challenges to perform and improve.
Soccer players must be disciplined. Discipline is essential for adhering to a practice schedule and proper nutritional plan. Top athletes rely on discipline to stay consistent and reach their goals.
It goes along with being mentally tough, but soccer players need to be able to overcome challenges. Losses, mistakes, and even injuries are opportunities for growth. Instead of letting obstacles knock you down, you must be able to use them to get stronger.
Willingness to Learn
At first, soccer may seem pretty simple but as you climb into higher levels of soccer the intricacy of the game unfolds. Great players are great learners.
They are eager to continue to develop and improve. Soccer players must be open and willing to learn about the game and different tactical and technical strategies at all times.
In addition to individual strengths and personality traits, the best players are the best teammates. Teamwork and collaboration are not about simply “liking” other players.
Collaboration involves encouraging others, hearing them out, communicating effectively, and working together to pursue a common goal.
What are your strengths as a soccer player?
Soccer players have many important strengths, including physical and mental strengths. Players must have excellent technique including ball mastery and control.
They must also be physically fit, with enough endurance and strength. However, the biggest strengths of a soccer player are mental.
High-level soccer players demonstrate excellent mental strengths. They are passionate about their sport and hungry for success. They display mental toughness in times of adversity and are able to self-motivate to put in the extra training.
Through soccer, players develop crucial leadership skills, and the ability to work well with others. Top players are coachable, always willing to learn, but they also take responsibility for their development.
Being a soccer player means being part of a team. The success of the team requires the full dedication of each player. In soccer, you quickly learn that you must commit to the team.
You have to improve your own skills, but you also need to help those around you. Being a team player is one of the greatest strengths that soccer players develop.
What interests should a soccer player have?
Soccer players have a wide variety of interests. Some players are athletes in other sports, while others may love writing, musical instruments, or art. Hobbies vary among soccer players, but to make it far in soccer here are some important interests:
While soccer is a form of exercise, elite soccer players must spend significant time exercising off the ball. Soccer players have to do additional running, weight lifting, recovery training, and more outside of soccer.
Soccer players who hate working out will struggle at higher levels, especially college soccer in the United States.
Soccer players have to enjoy exercising, but they also should specifically enjoy running. Running is a key component of the game and commonly used to boost endurance or promote recovery.
While coaching boys and girls youth teams, I was shocked to hear how few kids watch soccer. I hate to admit it, but I did not watch much soccer as a child either. Many kids in the U.S. simply aren’t exposed to soccer games like they are to football and basketball games.
As a soccer player, you must be a student of the game. Studying the game involves more than just playing, it requires that you watch. You should watch your own games (on film), people your own age, players at the next level up, and professional players.
By watching, you learn how to see the game differently and can improve your understanding of it. Watching yourself and players at a similar level allows you to see areas where you can improve or make different decisions.
More experienced players and professionals can show you another side of the game, like more complicated tactical choices and technical execution.
Fortunately, there are many opportunities for players to watch soccer locally or on TV including:
- D1, D2, and D3 college games
- MLS games
- NWSL games (professional women’s soccer league in the US)
- Champions League (mens’ and women’s)
- The US Women’s National Team friendlies and competition games
- The Men’s National Team friendlies and competition games
- The 2021 Olympics (and future summer Olympics)
- The next World Cups
- The English Premier League
- La Liga in Spain
- The Bundesliga in Germany
- And many more!
Soccer players have a wide variety of personalities and interests. Some players may be outgoing while others may be introverted. Some players love art and others prefer video games.
There is no denying the many unique personality traits of soccer players, but there are some universal traits and interests that are present in most of the top players.
When you understand the importance of being competitive, disciplined, hardworking, etc, then you can focus on cultivating these skills to improve your game.