Nic Hendrickson is a 22 years old right defender and a Fieldoo power user, coming from the USA. He is currently playing for Aris FC in the National Premier Soccer League.
Nic, describe yourself as footballer? How do you remember your beginnings? Why football at all?
As a footballer I am very driven and hard working. I believe that talent can only get you so far in the game and that you have to learn to understand the game and every aspect of it. Your mentality, discipline off the pitch and work ethic will get you further in life than all of the talent in the world could. So, needless to say, I am very driven and will do whatever necessary to be able to help, not only myself, but more importantly the people around me and the club I am playing for. When you say “Why football?” I think of all the reasons I could say why I chose it but, to be entirely honest, I couldn’t see my life without football and the passion and beauty of the game is what keeps me so unbelievably optimistic in life.
We managed to find out that you participated in track, basketball, baseball and powerlifting as well. So how did you manage to do all this sports at the same time? Why was football your favourite sport?
I was able to participate in all of these other athletics while still staying determined and dedicated to soccer by becoming very organized. I took part in all of these athletics and multiple student organizations, such as youth in government and boys’ state, and this all taught me the importance of doing everything when it’s needed to be done and to do it right. I think that participating in all of these activities and staying dedicated to soccer showed me that it was indeed my true passion in life and that organization was going to be a key component to any success I was going to have in soccer.
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You played football as a right defender for Finlandia University, so it is clear that you saw the importance of education as well. Can you tell us more about your study? How did you manage a sports career at the same time?
I think that education is a key to discipline in someones’ life. However, I do not think that it is a necessity to being disciplined. But, I think that in order to be successful in college athletics you have to stay disciplined and know what you want in life. I have been studying hard for the last 4 years to earn my degree and during this time I have had to manage time to be able to train 5-6 times a week while doing all of my schoolwork and maintaining the GPA I want to achieve. Discipline is a key component to becoming successful in any career path and football is no exception.
Where do you see yourself as a football player in a couple of years? Would you like to play in MLS, NASL, US clubs in general, or would you rather travel the world?
I see myself as being a successful footballer in the terms that I will be helping to contribute to the club I’m playing for in the best way possible. I have a passion for soccer and do not have a preference of where my career ends up. I have been trialing for clubs in the US and the atmosphere here is very different from what I’ve come to know about the rest of the footballing world. I would love to travel the world and I would love to play football in a different culture and get to experience the people of the world. I think playing with different people and different cultures is a great way to not only expand yourself as a footballer but as a person as well, and this greatly intrigues me.
What is the competition like in the USA, how good are the football players? How do you think one player can stand out from the rest?
I think that the talent level in the USA isn’t very far off from the rest of the world, with possibly a few countries as an exception, such as countries like Germany, Italy, France, Spain and England. The talent level in the USA is, in my opinion, comparable to that of countries like Scotland, Ireland, and the 2nd to 4th divisions in England. When trying to stand out amongst other Americans during my trials with NASL clubs I would say that they have been looking for the biggest and most athletically gifted individuals. I hope to find a club that is a good fit for me that values hard work and technical ability over the size of the individual and I think there are many clubs around the world that value that.
What is the transition from university football to professional football like if you compare it to Europe, where you play for a youth selection of a club and make it (or don’t make it) into the first team?
The main difference in playing soccer at a university in the USA and coming through a youth system in Europe would be the importance of academics in the university route. The road through university soccer is a longer one to get to the end destination, professional soccer, and it is possibly harder as well in many ways. But, with academics being stressed in the route I have traveled (the university route), if anything were to happen I would have my education to fall back on and when I am done with my playing career my education will help me to move into the coaching ranks as well.
In the USA American football is far more popular, but soccer seems to be gaining importance. What is the status of soccer and soccer players in USA? How important will be the World Cup in Brazil for example?
I would say that the status of soccer and soccer players in the USA is a growing status and one that is gaining a massive amount of respect very quickly. Over the past 4 years even, while I’ve been playing my college soccer, the status of soccer in America has grown and you can see that by how much more is being played on TV and how much our sports channels have advertised our National Team as well. I would say that American soccer has the potential to grow into one of the most successful sports in this nation and, with the amount of athleticism in this massive nation, we could very well become one of the better countries within the next decade. One of the key components would be to keep people like Klinsmann in charge of our national team and the young national team’s to help develop the future and you never know what could come of it.
Moving from the football to the internet … Why did you decide to join Fieldoo, the Football Career Network for players & agents? Who would you recommend it to?
I have found over the last year that social networking and sites like this for football is a great way to get your name out into the footballing world. I found Fieldoo through searching these sites and was instantly amazed by the professionalism that is on the site and started using it and have found it to be an amazing tool for making my CV look more professional, getting my name out into the footballing world and working on my highlight film as well. I highly recommend Fieldoo to all of my fellow footballers who have any ambition to move into the professional ranks and have done so over the past month as well. I have gotten many of my friends and fellow footballers on Fieldoo and every single one of them has been nothing short of satisfied with it.
What’s your biggest football success so far?
My biggest footballing successes would be: being named as the captain of my university soccer team for 3 of my 4 years of eligibility and being personally invited to 2 different trials with NASL clubs during the months of November, 2013 and February, 2014.
Last question: do you remember the funniest thing that ever happened to you on a football field?
The funniest thing that has ever happened to me in football happened to me in the last game of my collegiate career this past fall. I was playing right fullback as usual and in a matter of about 2-3 minutes I blocked 5 crosses … all with my face. Needless to say, by the time the 4th and 5th deflected off of my face everyone was laughing from both teams … including myself!
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