Inside The Mind of A Center Midfielder

The moment you’re in the locker room as a center midfielder just hits differently. You have many roles and responsibilities on and off the field. You call the shots. Score the goals. Defend. Organize. Communicate. Make textbook passes. See the game before and as it unfolds. Set the tone. Keep the team mentally focused. Every aspect of the game runs through you.  

Many center midfielders have specific routines around game day. Maybe it’s a certain pre-game snack. The way you specifically lace up your boots. A special handshake you have with each player.  The pregame song you picked out for the playlist. Or the phrase you say to get the team’s heads in the game and ready for battle.  You have to bring it…because you’re “THE GENERAL”.

All center middies have to have their head on a swivel. Constantly shifting from offense to defense and vice versa. Simplicity will go far as a center midfielder. Communication and intuition are the other two qualities that will set you apart. Along with being an absolute bruiser. You can try to dance your way over the ball or around your opponent; but you’re designed to win 50/50s, to stop the ball before it gets to your defensive backs, or to progress the ball to goal with a quality assist or shot from the 18.  You are the creator of the play. The quarterback of the team. Isn’t it wonderful? 

I’ve played forward, had my go at winger, and in my early years, spent some time in goal. Nothing, I mean NOTHING compares to center mid.  You’re in the game at every moment. Your mental preparation is key. You must dive deep into your mind and body to leave it all on the field every timeJulie Ertz, from the USNWT, is described as a wrecking ball.  It just goes to show how strong mentally and physically you must be in this position! 

Here are a few ways to increase focus in order to bring your ‘A’ game, every game:


Have a routine. Including day/night before the game, locker room, warm up, halftime. Keeping a routine helps your mind stay locked in and focused.

Visualize/Meditate. Spend some time the night before and game day to imagine the exact passes from center midfield, organizing defensively, and scoring. Keep replaying your game day objectives in your mind.

Music. Have a hand in creating your warm up playlist or make sure you have your own playlist ready on your phone. Pick music that motivates you and puts you in the zone.

Fuel your body properly. Make healthy choices in your meals day before and day of game. I’m a fan of a pregame PB&J (half before warm up and half at halftime). Fueling your body for the game is key. Here are some delicious breakfast suggestions for socceristas!

What are your go-tos to keep yourself focused and prepared for game day? Whatever it is, it will be unique to you. Find what lights you up. Create a routine. Go out there and leave it all on the field.



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