Soheil Var’s Journey to Pro Football:
I recently had a chat with Soheil Var, pro baller in the UAE second division.
I thought it’d be interesting to go over some of the points we discussed that could help you reach your goal of becoming a pro footballer…
Check Out Our Podcast We Did AFTER (key word is after, don’t skim it) You Read the Article 🙂
Who is Soheil Var ?
Soheil Var is a 24-year-old professional footballer currently playing as a fullback/winger for Gulf United FC in the UAE Second Division.
Of Iranian descent, he was born in Vienna, Austria, and grew up in Ottawa, Canada.
For the last couple of years, he’s been documenting his journey to becoming a pro on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube with one major goal: to help aspiring footballers reach their goals.
He also used his social media presence as an emotional outlet for himself : like many footballers I’ve met along the years in my own career; he’s experienced the typical lows and highs that come along with professional sports.
Putting himself out there helped him tremendously on a journey that can sometimes feel very lonely.
Soheil has experienced his fair share of ups and downs throughout his journey, like many other professional footballers I’ve interviewed and met along the years of my own career up to this point.
Always keep learning:
I’ve followed him for the past couple of years and I really love what he’s doing.
We got the chance to chat about all things football and how our individual paths differ and relate in a unique way.
As footballers, we can always learn and help each other. We can all bring something different to the table from our journey’s and use it as a tool to learn from and most importantly, to help you on your journey!
Learning from people who are at the place you want to be should always be the goal.
If you want to become a pro, you must manifest it by behaving like one on and off the pitch.
Getting into the right routine and executing on the right habits on a daily basis will compound and help you reach your goals.
Here are 5 insights from Soheil Var’s Journey for aspiring pros :
1.Push out of your comfort zone
2.Perform daily habits consistently
3.Stay mentally strong and keep faith in yourself
4.Play, Play, Play : Don’t Rush the Process
5. Document Your Journey
Pro Tip 1- Push out of your comfort zone:
Soheil’s parents are Iranian, very traditional. Not really into football whatsoever : what they wanted was for their son to become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.
Although they didn’t like it : he went for his dream. And more importantly, he put his money where his mouth is.
This is what I always say, you can say all you want “I want to become this”, “I want to reach that”… But it’s only worth something if you push out of your comfort zone and take the necessary steps towards that goal.
I completely agree with what Soheil’s saying. I’ve been in the online footballing space for about 7 years now. I see that a lot of players say that they want to become a professional footballer. But, they don’t actually put the work in behind those words. And we can both agree, that action is the most important part to reaching the professional level!
Many young footballers ask me, “how do I convince my parents to allow me to chase my dream of becoming a pro?” And I give the same answer every time: “you should have a detailed plan of how you’re going to get there. If you provide them proof of how you will get there and how it will help you develop as a young person, most parents will support you. If they don’t support you on the journey financially (which is reasonable), you must show them that you’re going to work a job or create a side hustle and do whatever it takes to fuel your dream. If you show them that, I’m sure they’ll change their mind. Talk is cheap. Actions speak much louder than words.”
Soheil couldn’t speak English when he moved from Austria to Canada aged eight, but he made it work.
He then had trials all over Europe and was willing to travel the world for his dream before signing his first pro contract in the UAE.
My path to pro:
Personally, I also resonate with Soheil with this as an American coming to Europe in my early twenties, playing all over the place : including Germany, Scandinavia, Latvia and even going to Israel during the pandemic…
Countries where I couldn’t even speak their language, where I didn’t know anyone: but you make it work, you adapt, that’s the major key!
Sacrifice is a part of chasing a pro contract and comes with pushing out of your comfort zone.
The flip side of that is growth!
Traveling and pushing out of your comfort zone helps you grow as a player and more importantly as a person… Meeting different people, visiting new countries, opening up to new cultures and ways of thinking.
That’s why you should always remind yourself that chasing your dream will teach you a lot about yourself, about others and about life in general.
You’ll definitely become a more well-rounded person!
Pro Tip 2- Perform The Right Habits Consistently:
Soheil’s Day in the Life:
6am (minimum 7.5 hours sleep): Wake Up
-Hydration, mobility, quick snack
7am: Team Training
-From 7:45am to 9:30am five days per week
10 AM: Big Breakfast
Depending on how his body feels, he gets in an additional gym or footy session later in the day (mainly dribbling), especially when he feels his confidence drops.
He has 4 meals a day, including one protein smoothie. His go-to meal is salmon, sweet potatoes, rice, and veggies.
As you can see, Soheil understands the key to performance is preparation: getting quality sleep, eating meals aligned with your goals, positive self-talk, visualization exercises, extra touches on the ball …
AND most importantly, doing all these things consistently!
Be a Student of the Game:
Soheil’s biggest piece of advice for young footballers is to learn something new every day.
There is so much information out there about how to become a pro. You must make sure you’re getting that advice from a trusted source, and then most importantly, you must execute on that advice. If you constantly consume and never practice, you will never get better. It takes a nice balance of both.
Do your due diligence: watch videos from pro players who have done it, listen to podcasts, have honest conversations with coaches…
Implementing these good habits and almost obsessing over your improvement will set you apart from the rest.
That’s one of the main reasons why I started RicFit.
I want to be the mentor that I wish I had when I was young and chasing the dream of becoming a pro.
I want to inspire and educate footballers all over the world to chase their dreams.
Like we’ve spoken about many times before, habits compound. You need to find a daily routine that works for you.
I’m not saying you need to be 100% strict all the time.
I’m just saying that you need to be consistent at least 80-90% of the time.
Let’s take a simple example when we talk about nutrition.
Consistency Beats Intensity:
One plate of chicken, vegetables and rice won’t make you fit.
One burger and fries won’t make you fat.
I encourage you to go out with friends and family and enjoy meals at nice restaurants. There’s nothing better than sitting down with friends and family and enjoying a tasty meal.
Pro Tip 3- Stay Mentally Strong and Have Faith in Yourself:
Hard work beats talent
“I started playing football late so my talent wasn’t always on par with other players, but my work rate and discipline got me on track”- Soheil.
The reality is: every pro has mastered the fundamentals.
One of the most important things to become a pro is your work rate, and your ability to adapt to certain circumstances and situations.
This is a big reason why many young talents end up not playing in the professional ranks.
They were always told they’d reach the pro level and became complacent. They took their foot off the gas, and stopped doing the extras.
Meanwhile, the “less talented” guys kept working and bridged the gap. Once at the pro level, this mentality is what keeps you there.
Soheil’s trial with Gulf United FC:
“There were 100 players in the first trial, and they only took eight to the next round, and I made it through. Then every week for about five weeks they would cut players. It was an anxious time, but I kept making it through each round. Then one day they brought me into the office and offered me a professional contract,” Var added.
The point is: prepare to fail, fail to prepare.
You might get 99 NO’s, and the 100th trial might be a YES.
Your goal should be to prepare for any opportunity that may come your way and build confidence and faith in yourself by training smart and hard.
One of the most under-looked and most important parts of proper training is it helps you build confidence and belief in yourself.
When you know that you’ve done everything in your power and controlled what you can control to get to the next level, you will believe in yourself and most importantly, you will have no regrets.
Before signing his pro contract, Soheil bounced around a few amateur clubs in Germany, Austria, and Canada.
He had tons of trials not go his way…
Then he came to Dubai for a trial with Gulf United and signed his contract.
Change your perspective about failure:
See the trials as valuable experiences that’ll help you build confidence for the future.
If you’re interested, here’s how to perform well on your next trial:
Changing your perspective about failure is the key to future success..
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and repeatedly in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Pro Tip 4- Play as Much as You Can & Don’t Rush the Process:
This is especially true as a younger footballer: the most important thing for you is to play.
Sure, we all want to go up the ranks, but there’s no point going to a higher level if you’re going to warm the bench for an entire season.
Once you understand that playing time is the most important factor in your development, you’ll build more and more confidence overtime.
If that means playing in a lower league to get more experience, do it!
You’ll eventually get back up with more confidence and gradually push up the ranks, believe me!
As a matter of fact, if he could go back in time, Soheil would tell his 16-year-old self to choose a football club where coaches and staff see him as an integral part of their project so that he can play more frequently, get more attention, and ultimately accelerate his development.
Pro Tip 5- Document Your Journey:
Documenting your journey as an aspiring footballer can be incredibly beneficial. Taking the time to reflect and review your journey is a great way to gain valuable insights, learn from mistakes, and stay motivated.
It’s also a great way to track your progress and celebrate successes.
Journaling is one of the best ways to document your journey, but you can also use social media or photos and videos. Taking the time to document your journey will help keep you on track as you continue to strive for success.
Soheil’s family wasn’t thrilled with his decision to chase his dream of becoming a pro. He struggled mentally and physically, but he believes that documenting everything on social media and putting himself out there was therapy to him.
Like I’ve said many times before: if your family or friends don’t believe in your dreams and goal of becoming a pro, put your head down, work hard consistently over the years and prove them wrong!
Chasing a pro contract is a lonely journey which very few people can actually understand: documenting it can make it feel less lonely and allow to share all of your thoughts with an audience that loves you.
And just imagine when you retire…
Just imagine how sweet it’ll be to look over all the journaling, all the videos, all the ups and downs and use it as a platform to educate people to chase their dreams!
When you keep believing, and work hard to back up your words: you can achieve anything.
Some Last Words:
Football = Ups and downs
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”.
This is one of Soheil’s key mottos, and one I truly believe in too.
Football is full of highs and lows; mistakes and failures are a part of the process…
But you can always learn something from every situation.
By taking the time to understand why something isn’t working and finding ways to improve, you will become a better footballer.
“You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take”
If you want something badly, go for it! If you never try, you will never know if you could have achieved your dream!
I promise you; you don’t want to live with regret.
Failure and mistakes are what will build you, as long as you learn from your mistakes and use them to make you better.
Setbacks will come, it’s how you react and stay mentally resilient which will determine whether you reach your goals.
Have a WHY:
“When you have a why, the how is so much easier!”
Loads of footballers have thought about quitting multiple times… but having a big enough WHY and purpose will keep you going.
I really recommend sitting down in front of a blank piece of paper and thinking about the REAL, DEEP reason why you’re chasing the pro contract.
For some players, this could be retiring your parents, for others it could be proving someone wrong…
Whatever it is, when times get tough, remind yourself of that WHY to stay on track.
I even recommend a lot of my client’s to have that WHY right above their bed so they can look at it when they wake up and go to sleep, so they can remind themselves why they’re doing the hard work day in and day out.
Consistent, smart work coupled with a strong mentality will take you very far in this game.
Soheil’s journey is the reality of a footballer chasing his dreams’ trials and tribulations.
Think about it, there were 100 players at his first trial at Gulf United!
It’s not always going to be “fair.” You may think you’ve been looked past.
But, as Soheil has proven, if you put in the work, believe in yourself and you remain persistent, you will and can get there.
The reality is that football is very competitive, and getting a spot on a pro roster alone is a massive challenge.
I want to thank Soheil for taking the time to email back and forth with me, and I look forward to meeting up with him soon to put out some valuable content for you!
If you want to learn more tools and keys to become a professional footballer, try out the RicFit Academy App for a 7 Day Free Trial. I promise it’s the best resource on the market for aspiring pros.
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As always, hope you enjoyed this one and I hope it helps you on your journey!
We can always get some lessons from other pros’ journeys and I’m here to help you reach that next level by giving you all the information I can!
Have a great week and keep pushing!
Love and health,