You may have seen or heard of grade 11 student Max S. because of his incredible football skills and strong performance at the HS Varsity CEESA tournament this past fall, or you may have heard him on The Bite as a podcast host. Here, Max shares his experiences with football from a young age until now, as well as offering some advice for other students that want to pursue football, as a hobby or on a professional level. 

What follows is Max’s story, in his own words:

“I’ve been playing since a young age, you know, my dad introduced me when I was about 4, so—I’ve played my whole life. I loved watching football when I was growing up–I watched Euro 2012 which really got me into it. It’s always been something that I make friends from, and like to do with my friends. Seventh grade CEESA was a great memory for me; it was my first CEESA and I traveled to Warsaw. I got to stay with two of my friends in a hosting house; it was really nice. I think we came in third place, and at the time I was not very good, but it was still a good memory for sure.

Max setting up a free kick at a tournament at AISB. (Photo by Bogdan Greavu)

I’ve been going through the college process right now, so I would say what’s most important is that you start taping and filming your games at a young age— you know Grade 8, Grade 9— and sending those clips to universities. If you want to go pro in Europe, then you just got to play with a club and it’s just luck. It’s hard to get recognised at a club level but you just have to hope it’ll happen.

Max (center) lining up a shot on goal. (Photo by Bogdan Greavu)

It’s definitely a lot more pressure now since the games are filmed. I would definitely say that I miss the freedom of playing football in the younger grades, because it’s a lot more based on how much fun you’re having and not like the pressure of actually, like, making a good output. Before, I used to use football to escape the stress or whatever was happening at school or at home and now it’s just an additional factor to that stress.

In a club team, it’s a lot harder, and there’s a lot less confidence because I don’t know how to communicate with the guys. Confidence is THE most important part of football, I mean, like you can tell from players in real life, you can tell from professionals. Confidence is the factor that decides if you’re gonna make it or not.”