Many of the world’s top soccer players, or any athlete around the world, are undoubtedly talented, and we often say they were “born” to play, or born with such talents. While that may have some effect on the way these men and women perform, it’s definitely not the full story.
If you take a trip down memory lane with many of these athletes, and talk to the men and women who surrounded them as children and youth still learning the game, they’ll tell you about how they lived the game. It wasn’t just an after school activity, or something they did at practice. One of the world’s top soccer players (and arguably the best if you’re not a Leo Messi fan), Cristiano Ronaldo, recently admitted that he would sneak out of his dorm at Sporting CP to continue practicing and training. The Real Madrid star wrote in The Players’ Tribune that,
“I started sneaking out of the dormitory at night to go work out. I got bigger and faster. And then I would walk onto the field — and the people who used to whisper, ‘Yeah, but he’s so skinny?’ Now they would be looking at me like it was the end of the world.
When I was 15, I turned to some of my teammates during training. I remember it so clearly. I said to them, ‘I’ll be the best in the world one day.’
They were kind of laughing about it. I wasn’t even on Sporting’s first team yet, but I had that belief. I really meant it.”
Ronaldo isn’t the only player who understood that you have to give your all to get to the top, and that practice makes perfect, or at least helps you get close to it. Ronaldo was already part of Sporting’s academy, but for those who aren’t, can you train to be a star on a budget? Of course. Sports Retriever spoke with a former soccer player who spent countless of hours training at home to find out which are the most important exercises for at home training, and how to do it on a budget.
Let’s start with the obvious, every soccer player needs at least one ball at home, and to make sure it’s the right size and made of good materials. Some coaches ask their players to go home and juggle X number of times a day.
There are plenty of companies advertising their ball, but they’re not all created equal. There are a few that are recommended: Adidas’ MLS Top Glider Soccer Ball (priced at $10.00 – $39.99 ) and Champion’s League Finale Top Training Soccer Ball (which starts as low as $20, but can be as high as $100) are the company’s more pocket-friendly options. Still looking for something that may be cheaper but still does the job? Puma’s FluoCat Training Soccer Ball is priced at $18.00.
The ball will likely be the most expensive piece of equipment you have to buy for your training, so you may want to take that into consideration when choosing which one.
Other than the ball itself, there are three other pieces of equipment that are recommended: an agility ladder, cones and, of course, a goal.
All three of these products are easy to find and can be purchased on a budget. The ladders start for as low as $8.99 on Amazon, depending on the number of rungs on the ladder. As for cones, you can buy a set of six, colorful (easier to spot) cones for just $6.30, a price low enough that you can purchase several packs.
As for the goal, the prices vary based on size. You can purchase smaller goals for younger players who are just starting out for $20, but if you’re more advance, you may have to cough up a little more, closer to $30.
Training at home can cost as little as $54, so what are you waiting for? We’re waiting for the next Ronaldo.