Learn Soccer from the Pros: Sarah Killion
Our Learn Soccer from the Pros series continues with an interview with Sarah Killion of Sky Blue FC.
Killion was selected second overall by Sky Blue FC in the 2015 NWSL College Draft, and was a member of the 2013 UCLA team that captured the NCAA College Cup for the first time in school history.
The midfielder also has experience playing at the international level.
She was a starter for the U.S. U-20 Women's National Team that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, and after being chosen for the U.S. U-23 national team that won the 2013 Four Nations Tournament, she got her first call-up with the U.S. Women's National Team in 2014.
You can follow her on Twitter at @skillion16.
1. What has been the biggest challenge in making the transition from the college level to the professional level?
Sarah: The speed of play is at a whole different level. You have to be on your toes all the time and no matter whether you're by the ball or not by the ball, you need to know what to do with the ball the next time you have it.
The physical impact comes into play as well when you're getting bumped with the ball and off the ball.
2. Some players underestimate the importance of off-the-field preparation (what you eat, how much sleep you get, etc.). Just how crucial is that in developing yourself as a player?
Sarah: It's extremely crucial. When I entered college, I ate very poorly. I've always gotten good sleep, but I've had to make the transition into eating healthier, and fitness-wise, I'm able to keep up so much better during the long 90 minute games.
When you properly prepare off the field, you're able to focus more on your play rather than how your body is actually feeling.
3. A lot of young players have a hard time communicating on the field. What are some good tips that you’ve learned over the years in terms of being vocal with teammates during a game?
Sarah: I think that during a game, it's important to be positive. No matter if you're giving someone a bit of criticism or if you're giving them a heads-up or complimenting them on a good play, it's key to always come off positive. It goes a long way, especially in the women's game.
4. What are some things that you like to do to get mentally prepared for a game?
Sarah: On game days, I just try to relax and get my mind off of the game. I'll do some light reading and call my family, but when it comes game time and we're driving to the field, it's all focus.
5. What is the best piece of advice that you’ve received throughout your career?
Sarah: The best piece of advice that I've received is to take what you do well, perfect it, and then perform that to the best of your ability. I knew I wasn't the most athletic or quick player, and my strength was my technical and tactical ability. So, I decided to really work on that aspect of my game and improve areas like my touch passing.
Perfect what you do well, and be the best player in the world in that aspect of your game.