Courtesy of Christian Manisck

Tales of an aspiring professional, Vol 4

Christian Manisck, a member of the Dynamo Academy's U-16 team, is training with Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense for a month before returning to Houston. His experience could lead to future collaborations between the clubs, and Manisck will be blogging at HoustonDynamo.com throughout.

Day 15

Today was the day of my ultrasound. I woke up early in the morning to do my test and was back in the training center in time for lunch. I would not get my test results until the following day.

The afternoon training center was physical, so I continued treatment on my leg to get back as soon as possible. Even with these setbacks, this experience has been an amazing one, and the doctors at the club have been really helpful with my injury. There are some different rehab treatments I did, including electric therapy on my leg, ultrasound waves, strength training, and of course icing. There has been some improvement, so I should be back soon.

Day 16

Today I woke up to good news: there was nothing too bad with my leg, so with continued treatment I would be back by Thursday. After receiving that info, I went to morning and afternoon rehab sessions. We did the same things as before, but with some variations.

In the afternoon I did the same and the next day would most likely be my last day doing rehab and I'd be back on the field in no time. What a relief!

Day 17

In the morning I went to do rehab again. An interesting thing I noticed during my time injured was that I was always expected to show up to training as any other player, except for when I was released to go to rehab. If I were a signed player, and I did not show up to training, the disciplinary action would be a fine. This is actually the first disciplinary step they take whenever there is a transgression, the last recourse being breaking contract and the release of the player.

When I realized this was the way discipline was handed out at the club, I also realized another difference between American soccer and not only Brazilian soccer, but soccer from almost every other country around the world: America is the only country in the world that does not pay its professional youth soccer athletes. Even at a young age, even though their title is "amateur soccer player," players in Brazil are paid like professional athletes. I have been asked many times if I get paid in America, and even how much I get paid.

My answer is, of course, 'No, I don't have a salary,' and the responses vary. Some boys ask questions such as, 'So you play for love of the sport then?' or, 'Man, if i didn't have a salary, I sure would not be playing soccer for a living.' In America, a youth player is lucky if he does not pay anything to his coaches or club, and perhaps that is the difference between soccer in America and the rest of the world. Instead, the U.S. is the only country on the planet that offers full scholarships to play a collegiate sport. That's just how the system is organized.

Day 18

This morning would be my last session of treatment. After that, with an anti-inflammatory shot and a session of strength training, I would be able to practice.

Usually before major games such as the one we have this weekend, we do full-field scrimmages to fix problems in real game situations. There are many different scenarios that our coach simulates, including counterattacks, goal kicks, clearances, corner kicks, and other game situations. After that, we play a scrimmage but without the situations, of course taking into consideration what we just worked on.

In the afternoon there was no training, but in the evening we had a team meeting since this was the start of the second part of the season.

Day 19

Today was gameday for the boys, and even though I was not able to accompany them on the field, I still followed to see how games were for a Brazilian team.

I had an early start in the gym with other injured players, as well as players who were not called up for the weekend's games. At the same time the U-15s had their game, and the U-17s had breakfast and their usual pre-game talk. This was an important game against Parana Clube, the third largest club in Parana behind CAP and Coritiba. The first half was scoreless, and in the locker room, the coach asked the team to play quicker. Our only chances had come from quick play since Parana was defending behind the halfway line. The plan worked, and the game ended up 2-0 to our favor. We now have the next few days to rest and will start up again on Monday morning.

I only have a few days left here, and I just hope that I am not the only one who gets to experience the soccer down here. Hopefully I am the first of many Dynamo Academy players to come down here, and maybe even we can get the whole team to come and play some friendlies. I'm sure we would be more than welcome, just like I have been.