It’s the dream of every young athlete to get some one-on-one training time with the biggest stars of the sport you play. If you play soccer, your smartphone makes that a reality. The Fivestar Soccer Training app launched today for the iPhone. The app provides instructional videos, games, and interactive simulations featuring two of the biggest names in soccer: Alex Morgan and Wayne Rooney. The app is free to download, and comes loaded with a batch of free workouts, challenges, and tips. Additional workouts can be purchased for $5.99 or the full program for $19.99.
Morgan and Rooney guide you through drills and skills, helping you improve your game — both physically and mentally.
Earlier this week, Morgan spoke to Sports Illustrated Kids about the Fivestar Soccer Training app, the drills she thinks young footballers should focus on, and how she trained as a kid athlete.
What made you want to be a part of this app?
It's exactly what I would have loved to have when I was a young player. It gives players the opportunity to go out on the soccer field by themselves and replicate drills that are being done at the professional level. So I was really excited right away. I wanted to be a part of showing young players what I did to get to this level and what kind of hard work they have to put it if they want to get to the professional level.
How much involvement did you have in the programs and the videos and what skills would be highlighted?
I feel like I was pretty involved in the whole process and the process of creating the drills. There’s even a bonus of a wall drill, and that is exactly what I did when I was younger. If I didn’t have a soccer field, if I couldn’t find an open soccer field, I would go to any sort of wall, whether it was by a tennis court of whatever, and I would just juggle the ball against the wall, pass it against the wall, go around cones. I actually created the wall drill on the Fivestar app, and there are a lot of other drills and techniques on the app that I was a big part of in helping create. There are a lot of drills I did when I was younger and that I still do today.
Besides the wall drill, what else should someone who’s just starting soccer focus on?
I think that having a good first touch is definitely important. I grew up playing all different sports, so I didn’t grow up having the best touch. But I would go out and do a lot of shooting, so I feel very comfortable in and around the box and getting myself in good position for scoring opportunities. But I would say what’s important for young athletes is doing the drills like dribbling around cones, passing in a square, that you dribble forward around the cones and end with a shot. Something where it makes you feel comfortable with the ball.
You mentioned that this app is good to help you go out and train when you’re by yourself. Why is that important?
When I was a youth player, we trained 2-3 times a week and for me that wasn’t enough. So I would go out with my dad and make up drills and I would make up shooting exercises to get a little extra work in, to get a few extra touches on the ball, whether it’s 20 minutes or an hour, anything helps. So this is the best option for going out and getting some extra work done by yourself or with a partner. And I think it’s really great how not only can the young athletes watch me on the app and then simulate on their own, they can also track their progress, they can share results with their friends, and on some of the drills they can have mom or dad or a friend record them doing a certain drill and then watch side by side to see their technique against mine.
When you were a kid playing and learning soccer, what was the best piece of advice you got?
It’s kind of funny to say out loud, but it’s just something so simple my dad used to say to me, and it would just help give me a little extra confidence. Just that, no matter what, I’m number one, I’m the best, I can be anything I want to be. And I think that really helped me feel like, OK, even though I’m not at that point right now, I can be. I can be whatever I want to be. In that way, he just said that to me over and over and I think it motivated me in the right way where I wasn’t cocky about it, but I had the right amount of confidence. And that’s what I try to show young girls today, that confidence is so important and you have to believe in yourself because sports are such a mental game as much as a physical game and confidence is one of the keys of soccer.
How does this app help instill that kind of self-confidence in young players?
With this app, young players can see their skills improving, whether that’s through videoing themselves in certain drills or tracking their progress. It shows that they can improve, that they are improving, that they are getting that much closer to where I am, to where professional footballers are right now. It kind of gives them that little bit of confidence and motivation, that when you do practice over and over and you do work hard and you track your progress, you have that little bit of extra confidence because you can actually see on your phone the progress that you’re making.
What advice would you give kids about dealing with pressure and expectation?
Everyone’s going to deal with pressure at a certain point in their life, if not throughout their entire life. But I think it’s important to have fun with that pressure, to know that only you can determine what success is and what failure is. And if you don’t see failure as an option, then you’ll always succeed. If you have realistic goals and expectations for yourself, then you can see yourself succeed, you can see yourself reaching those goals. But if you see failure as an option, you’re never going to… I don’t think it should even be a part of anyone’s vocabulary, especially a young athlete because it’s always up to that athlete.
Visit the Fivestar Training website for more information on the Fivestar Soccer Training app.
Photos courtesy Fivestar Training