Sean Johnson has quite the story! See what he had to say about why he plays soccer, what the fans mean to him, and what interesting hobbies he has away from the pitch.
Watch more of Sean’s story at www.celebratingsoccer.com!
I played a ton of sports growing up but over time I just developed a passion for soccer. It's kind of where my heart was. I loved playing basketball, and karate was my thing from ages 5-10 but once I realized the love that I had for soccer every time I stepped on the field, it was a no brainer for me. It's funny, I actually got kicked off my basketball team in high school because I went to a soccer tournament and it was a college showcase so I had to go if I wanted to play collegiate soccer. I thought it would be all good and l thought my coach was kidding when he said l wouldn't be on the team anymore when I came back and as soon as I came on the court he told me to go clean out my locker. So the decision was kind of made for me. At that point, it was an easy decision to make because it wasn't a possibility to play basketball. I saw him randomly maybe 10+ years later and we had a little chat. No hard feelings - he's a good guy!
What's the best piece of advice you have received in your soccer career?
There is lots of advice that you get as a soccer player both on and off the field. On the field, it's really to never give up the hunger and every day just control what you can control. Everything else - coaches and organizations make decisions - but you control what you put into it and give 100% effort. Help others and make sure the way that you carry yourself and your routine, just making sure your dedicated 100%. Off the field, just being smart and making sure you're planning for the future and not just living in the moment. It's really easy to get caught up in the professional atmosphere and mindset, and you lose track that there's a life to live not just for yourself, but for your family and your future family as well.
How do you continually improve yourself as a soccer player?
Regardless of whether you want to watch a match back or not - maybe if it was a rough match - I think it's important to do it. It keeps you honest. I think the most important thing is accountability and it starts with yourself, if you can look back and see what you need to improve on. I always like to look at film to see the good and bad things that I did so I can just keep building and getting better.
How does the passion from the fans motivate you?
The fans really drive us. Playing in New York City, it's unbelievable the sports fans and our team's fans that rally behind us. It's incredible to see their support. There are moments in the game when we're tied or 0-0 or it’s 1-0, and the extra bit of noise from the crowd really does help us. We call them the 12th man, there are 11 players on the field and the fans are the 12th man because they really are a part of the team and the atmosphere. In the same breath, playing away, you kind of enjoy the atmosphere of good fans, if they're heckling and loud, you embrace it.
What do you do in your free time?
I love fishing. I love getting out on the water - that's my relaxing space. I love driving my car. If I have time in the off season, I'll go and get on the race track for a little bit and just learn as much as I can. Basically anything I enjoy doing just to get my mind off of soccer for a bit. It's important to have a little bit of an escape just because you have to put so much into the mental aspect of it with the focus for the games.