Children have always been the best dreamers. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up and they’ll have a wonderfully ambitious response. Somewhere along the way, the dreamers face inevitable hardships and encounter individuals who are supposed to encourage them, build them up, and instill confidence but instead do the opposite.
Many children lose sight of their dreams and give up on them completely when this happens. That teacher who told them every day that they’re not smart enough to be the first in their family to graduate is single-handedly pushing them out of the education system. That coach constantly yelling in their face that they aren’t good enough is sucking the joy right out of the game they loved so much.
Coach Lucas may have had a successful soccer career that led to an even more successful coaching career, but he, too, was once that beaten-down dreamer.
He was often overlooked by both coaches and teachers and told that he would never be successful. He was doubted, benched, and even cut from teams. They told him his ambitions to play college soccer and go pro were illegitimate.
Thanks to a rebellious mindset, he developed a chip on his shoulder, driving him to prove all of his doubters wrong and motivating him to level up, both physically and mentally. He was smaller and slower than the other players, so he had no other option but to look inward and gain a competitive edge.
As he likes to put it, he went full “Rocky mode.” He began waking up even earlier before school and doing extra training. The once deemed ‘below-average’ player was now showing up early and staying late, doubling down on his own self-belief. He developed a strong, confident mentality and saw true transformation, his abilities and development suddenly thriving.
So it was not his strength, his speed, or his “natural” ability that allowed him to prevail. But it was his confidence, self-awareness, and self-belief that pushed him through all the pressures, struggles, and doubt.
As a 10-year old boy, he was cut from one of the best soccer clubs in the country. Nine years later, he knocked that old club out of a State Cup Semifinal with a game-winning assist.
Even with some success, Coach Lucas was still overlooked, receiving no college offers. After attending a College ID camp, he recalls a specific coach telling his father that he would never play college soccer.
Coach Lucas played at a local college and eventually walked on to a NCAA Division II school in Florida, Nova Southeastern University. The same coach that told him and his father that he would never play in college, offered him a full ride college scholarship three years later.
Despite all the doubters, he ended his career competing with MLS Champions, NCAA Champions, and U.S. National Team players.
“That 12-year-old boy had no business finishing his career at that level,” said Coach Lucas. “I know so many youngsters that are overlooked, and it’s my obligation to show them how to believe in themselves.”
Coach Lucas is a success story, but that isn’t the case for all children in sports facing doubt and struggles and pressure that come along with elite level sport. This is a fact that he knows all too well, and that’s exactly why he founded MSM Performance Academy.
MSM Performance Academy
The further up the ladder you go, the better you have to perform. And it was while he was coaching at the collegiate level that Coach Lucas realized that many of the top prospects were ill-prepared mentally to successfully perform at their level. Through this realization he came to another—the current youth development system is fundamentally flawed. Eager to make a change in youth sports, MSM was founded.
Coach Lucas was naturally able to establish the self-belief that turned his soccer career on its head, he ignored the negative opinions of others and chose not to believe them but to instead believe in himself. That belief, his vision, and his self-awareness are what led him to where he wanted to be, and he identified those as core beliefs and key principles to his teaching philosophy. These were just three of the many tools he wanted to pass onto youth athletes.
Today, MSM Performance Academy has positively impacted the lives of over 2,000 athletes across 15 different countries.
“It was clear I was helping players in an area that they weren’t getting help anywhere else, no one else focused on mindset and confidence” he said. “As time went on, I continued to acquire expertise in areas where there were the biggest gaps in youth development.”
At MSM Performance Academy, mental performance is the foundation of its training, and the lives of many children have been transformed. Now, MSM is responsible for many success stories, like the one of Skye.
Skye’s love for soccer had been her passion and her escape from the world. But when bullying and negative coaches took over, that passion was ripped away from her. The once confident and fearless player was now afraid to make a mistake, leading to even more mistakes on the field.
She was the best in practice, but in games she held herself back. Despite her physical talent, her mind was her biggest obstacle, and she was unable to play at her full potential. The game she once loved had become a source of fear and frustration, and Skye quit playing soccer until she joined MSM as her “last ditch effort.”
When she joined MSM, Coach Lucas recognized her struggles immediately. He worked with her one-on-one, building her confidence and teaching her how to develop a growth mindset. He encouraged her to embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth and showed her visualization techniques to calm her nerves. With the support of Coach Lucas and the community of MSM players, Skye’s self-doubt started to fade, and she was able to rediscover the joy in the game.
Thanks to MSM, Skye’s love for soccer was reignited, and she proved that with the right support and guidance, anyone can overcome their challenges and achieve their dreams. Within eight months of joining MSM, she went from quitting to earning a full ride college scholarship and renewing her love for the sport. Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the transformative impact of MSM Performance Academy.
MSM Performance Academy has produced an immense number of transformational stories, giving these young athletes a chance to chase their dreams.
Connor went from timid, hesitant, and overlooked by local coaches to being selected for the U.S. Youth National Team.
Sophia went from lack of self-confidence and lack of assertiveness to be selected for Mexico’s Youth National Team.
Alex was dropped by one of the best soccer programs in the U.S. only to be playing with professionals 10 months later.
Valeria struggled with self-belief, and with the help of MSM, she turned her game around to earn herself a professional contract by the age of 16.
This list goes on and on, but this is just the beginning for MSM Performance Academy.
The Jordan Year Challenge
This impact is set to reach new heights with the academy’s new Jordan Year 7 Day Challenge, an initiative that will make the services of MSM Performance Academy accessible to the masses. MSM plans to bring together the leading experts in sports and in mental health for a virtual summit. These experts will share their expertise with players, parents, and coaches alike. They will follow a structured curriculum that provides them with tools and strategies Coach Lucas has used to impact the lives of over 2,000 elite athletes over the past few years.
The Jordan Year Challenge will be available for all families for just $23, and the results will be truly life changing. The goal was to to create a mass movement that will battle against the suicide rate amongst athletes and change the landscape of youth sports.
In an effort to honor the lives of athletes like Katie Meyer, Arlana Miller, Morgan Rodgers, Tyler Hillinski, Sarah Shulze, Jayden Hill, Robert Martin, Lauren Bernett who have all taken their lives as young prestigious college athletes, the proceeds of the challenge will be donated to the foundations built in their names.
MSM Performance Academy, and now their Jordan Year Challenge, is successfully doing all that Coach Lucas set out to accomplish—fix the broken mindset in the world of sports.
About MSM Performance Academy
MSM Performance Academy, founded by Lucas Zeiler, and led by CEO Kal Maadi helps families guide their children to reach College and Professional levels in the best way possible; teaching them the fundamentals to maintain sound minds and bodies, while performing optimally, both physically and mentally. The goal for MSM is to offer mental and physical performance training and empower youth sports athletes, student-athletes and professional athletes to become leaders of themselves. Through The MSM Foundation, the academy teaches players how to reach optimal levels of mental and physical performance. For more information, please visit https://themsmfoundation.com/