Earlier this year, EF Academy NY received a visit from two Major League Soccer players on the NYCFC (New York City Football Club) team. The team plays in Yankee Stadium, just twenty minutes from campus in the Bronx, NY. Midfielder Mix Diskerud and Goalkeeper Eirik Johansen came to EF to work with the soccer players on their skills and talk about what life is like as a professional athlete.
The event began with a panel about the lives of professional athletes. Mr. Johansen comes from a family of athletes who encouraged him to play football growing up. He moved from Norway to the UK to finish high school and work on his football skills. Mr. Diskerud spoke about the fame that comes along with being a professional athlete. It can be difficult at times to keep up with all of the demands, but in general he enjoys the fame. You have to give everything you have and make every decision knowing you are a role model for others. These decisions will impact others. He recommended the students stay focused and set goals for themselves. Becoming a professional athlete is very difficult to do, but the two players succeeded through hard work and focus. The two players stayed and answered questions for nearly an hour during the panel. Mr. Johansen is described as “down to earth and fun.”
Following the panel, interested students participated in drills and contests on the soccer field. The students had to play goalie and block penalty kicks from the two players. The also participated in several drills and broke up into groups with the two players to practice defense and attack.
Senior Mina Grefsted of Norway commented, “It was really fun to meet Mix. He played for two of my favorite teams in Norway and I have seen him play on TV many times. I love watching soccer in Norway so it was so cool to meet him in person.” Other students who were not familiar with the two players did research before the visit to learn about the players and were impressed with what they saw. For the winners of the competition, Mr. Johansen and Mr. Diskerud gave away a pair of signed cleats.
The New York City Football Club is one of the newest MLS teams, and plays just 30 minutes from campus. NYCFC is currently in second place in the standings as the 2016 season comes to a close this month. The club looks to make a playoff run later this month, and currently qualifies for a second seed.