The Transition by Emily Pyne

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Here is the first in a series of exploratory pieces from another young player that has always shown great quality on the field, and as a result stands just one year away from entering her first choice College. Introducing GPS-NY GU18’s Emily Pyne.

(Photo: Melanie Pyne – IG: melanie_pyne10)

Starting at age 3, my parents enrolled me in a house soccer program (1) as many other parents in Buffalo, NY were doing. I ended up absolutely hating it, and I would throw fits every Saturday and Tuesday before practices or games. Luckily, my parents made me stick with the sport and I ended up being admittedly good at it. After leaving the house level and moving up to the travel league(2), it was pretty obvious (to my coaches and parents as well as myself) that at age 15 I belonged in a more intense league. This is when my parents found Global Premier Soccer, then called New York Premier Soccer.

We really weren’t sure what was so different about a “premier level team” (3) other than the fancy name, so showing up to tryouts had me worried. What if I wasn’t good enough? What if the girls on the team hated me? Thankfully I’ve never had a low self esteem, and I made friends quickly. I had always been a captain on my previous teams and truthfully I was expecting the same on my new team.

Tryouts went smoothly. I fit in with the tempo and intelligent playing style of the premier level. About a week later, I received an email offering me a spot on the team. My parents were just about as thrilled as I was. My worries about the transition came from not wanting to disappoint my current team, although I soon found that this was unavoidable. Some seemed happy for me, while others acted as though I was betraying them (at age 15!!!). My dad, who had also been my coach for the past 3 years, also expressed his disappointment at the fact that he wouldn’t get to coach me anymore. Thankfully, I found I wouldn’t have to move teams alone, as my best friend was moving to the same team. All of this blew over in about 2 weeks, and at the start of my first premier season I began to realize just how much of a change I was in for.

All of my coaches were from Europe, which gave them this unexplained credibility. We had practice uniforms, making it seem almost professional. We had to travel over 2 hours for one game, and we got to stay in hotels for tournaments in other states. It was all overwhelming in the best way. I also got selected as a captain on my new team which made everything a bit more familiar. It also helped that my team clicked almost instantly, we were always joking around and losing a game could never dampen our spirits.

Sure it was mostly fun, but at other times I was overwhelmed in the worst way. The amount of running our coaches made us do was downright hellish. Sometimes the drills were really hard to understand and if we didn’t do it right the first time we would have to do sprints. If numbers were low at practice, we would have to do sprints. If we were on a losing streak, we would have to do sprints. And especially if we weren’t performing up to the standard our coaches knew we could, we would have to do sprints. “Hey, you signed up for it,” is what they would tell us. And they were right.

Now, a month away from turning 18, I’m headed into my fourth and final year playing for Global Premier Soccer before heading off to play for my top choice of colleges. My coaches had a huge role in helping me understand what it would take to commit early to a college for the sport I love. My coaches and teammates have been my second family, and I can honestly say all the money and time my family and I have put into premier soccer has been 100% worth it.


(1) An introductory program for children. Most often their first involvement in the game.
(2) A step above (1) whereby players play in teams and compete against other teams in an organized league. 
(3) A team operating in a similar manner to (2) but that is differentiated by its higher quality coaching program including coaches, equipment, facilities, training schedule, opponents, competitions entered.
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