I am 21 and I have just been cut from the U.S. U-21 team by a coach who told me straight out that I wasn’t national team material. My dream is to play for the U.S., and if I can’t even make the JV, what’s the point? So I am seriously considering finishing up my time with my team at Rutgers, getting my degree and calling it a career. I always thought it would be cool to be an FBI agent. Maybe I can do that. I am as adrift as a piece of flotsam in the Atlantic.
And that’s when my father, Steve, my first coach and my biggest supporter in the early years of my career, suggests I reach out to a highly regarded trainer in our area, an Australian named James Galanis.
“Maybe. I will think about it,” I say.
I do think about it. I just don’t call. I wait a week, then another . . .and a third. Finally, I dial this James Galanis’s number. He suggests I come down to his field so he can have a look at me. We settle on a date, a Thursday night in December, and I pull up to a deserted, dimly lit pitch in Lumberton, N.J.
Check out the book excerpt courtesy of Sports Illustrated: