Learn Soccer From the Pros: Julie Johnston
Our Learn Soccer from the Pros series continues with some quick tips from Julie Johnston of the Chicago Red Stars.
Johnston starred at Santa Clara University before being drafted by the Red Stars in 2014, and was also the captain of the United States U-20 team that won the Women's World Cup back in 2012.
You can follow her on Twitter @_JulieJohnston_.
1. You captained the United States U-20 team that won the 2012 Women's World Cup. What are the things that you've focused on in helping you be a great leader on and off the field?
Julie Johnston: I guess a lot of it is learning what each teammate needs in order to be at their best. I also think it’s important to show how much passion you have for the sport.
I’ve been focusing on becoming a better player for my teammates. The offseason is a great time to fine-tune your game.
2. Just how important is your preparation off the field (eating right, getting enough sleep, etc.) as a professional player?
Julie: Preparation is everything. When you prepare the right way, it all adds up in the end.
3. What do you feel is the most important skill that a youth defender should work on if they are wanting to take their game to the next level?
Julie: I think the most important skill a youth defender should work on is communication out of the back.
Learn the game and how you can help your team, as you can see more of the field from your position. It’s also important to be accurate with passing and good one-on-one, but I find good communication makes all of that easier.
4. What's the best piece of advice that you've received throughout your career?
Julie: The best thing anyone ever said was, “You’re good enough to be there. Trust yourself and push yourself.” I think that anytime you have a dream, there can be difficult times.
But I’ve had an amazing support system and sometimes it just takes a few words from a coach, my family, friends or boyfriend to make it all is worth it.
The best advice is from anyone who supports you and is willing to help you along your journey.