Luke Griffiths began small group training at ESI and has been an ESI player since 2018. He was accepted to FC Malaga City Academy and will join the academy in August 2020. The Academy is located in Spain and provides the opportunity for players to live like professional players and to develop under some of the finest coaches in Europe.

Player Corner: Luke Griffiths

Luke Griffiths, 04, has been with ESI since 2018. Now he’s taking the next step to join FC Malaga City Academy in Almunecar, Spain. Making the selection wasn’t an easy process, especially when selling and promoting your soccer talents to program miles away. But with technology and a strong family support system, his resume and videos garnered interest from FC Malaga City. 

“It’s extremely difficult it get noticed, but with the platforms we have available to submit videos it has become easier,” Luke says. “As much as coaches want to see players in person it is becoming more common for players to be seen and made offers from videos alone.”

Luke was notified via phone call and then received an official offer letter. “I was super excited and ready to hop on a plane right then!” he said. “This has always been my dream.”

He will have 10 months to make his impact in Spain and believes he has the skills to immediately do just that. Training will begin September 1 and he’ll stay through May 2021. He will get Winter and Summer breaks. Before he goes, Luke is doing everything he can to prepare.

“I focused mostly on my mindset,” he says. “It might not be a physical skill, but it is indeed the most important.” He feels prepared for the mental challenges ahead thanks to ESI. 

“ESI prepared me in the way that you have to earn to be where you want to be. There are no freebies in high-level soccer.”

Luke believes that ESI equipped him with the collective tools that will make him competitive with his new teammates, but he also knows which skills he can improve upon. “Everything,” he says. “I say this because there is always room for the potential to get better in every way.”

The Malaga City program promises a strict regimen. “I've gotten a little glimpse, he said. “Training or school most days and then Spanish classes throughout the week. About every five days we’ll play a match. My classes will be aligned with the schedule I have for the day, so if we play a game in the morning school will be in the afternoon.”

He also looks forward to becoming fluent in Spanish and enjoying his leisure time in a new country. “[There will be] a lot of beach time from what I’ve heard since Almunecar is on the water, and also trips to cities occasionally to go sightseeing.”

Teammates at home and abroad

Despite being across the Atlantic from his family and friends, Luke won’t be completely alone. Beau Ricard, another ESI player, has also been accepted to FC Malaga City’s program. 

“I think it’s awesome because not only will I know somebody to start with there and share these experiences, but I’m very happy for Beau because he’s an exceptional player, and I'm glad to see someone else from ESI pursuing their path in Europe.”

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