Didn't make it to the NFL? Didn't want to go play in the Development League/Arena Ball? So you have made a decision that you wanted to play in Europe/Overseas and a team signs you to their team. (Congrats)
Personally speaking, you have just opened yourself up to a world of opportunities that many were afraid to do. Most people will say, "Oh you are lucky, you are going on a vacation (not true cause a vacation is something you do on a weekend or a week, but going overseas you can be gone for 5-8 months) or you going overseas where there isn't that much of competition (Don't think you are about to just dominate the whole league because sometimes it wont happen, don't be cocky just because you are an American, be HUMBLE). Well, these are all stories you heard, because it is not as easy as it looks.
My name is Gabriel Chambers and I've been playing overseas for about a year and a half now in Europe/Asia playing a season in Sopot Poland for Sopot Seahawks, Manila Philippines for Manila Wolves, and in Kragujevac Serbia for the Kragujevac Wild Boars. I've been involved in 2 championship games in 2015 and was name the Best Return in PLFA 1, and also won a Championship in Manila and was name MVP of the championship game. My record so far overseas is 19-1 its has been a run, but I'm still a young man that strive to become a better person on and off the field.
My experience overseas has made me look at things differently. Learning new culture, new language, meeting new friends and people that I will forever have a friendship with and etc has been a blessing for me, but being an Import help me become a better person. I want to give you some tips on being an Import and the things that will make your career be SUCCESSFUL. I know some of the ropes on what to do as an import or what not to do.
#1- You are an ImportIt's an interesting job, but doesn't mean that it's for everyone.There is more than just Football, Travel, and Adventure. Most of every teams looks to bring an import player in to help them WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP/TITLE, get other players better or to coach them up, and not to make the club/organization look bad.
A lot of teams look at your character and etc. Most successful imports are very humble and always willing to help others like myself. My goal is to train hard and help my players get better on and off the field. A lot of eyes will be on you, so you have to carry yourself as an professional on and off the field. A good mindset and being open minded will help you be successful in your career. You are going into a new environment, new atmosphere, and new experiences.
My opinion is you have to be willing to ADAPT and do you JOB to be a successful Import and to continue a journey overseas. My Goal as an Import is to make plays and put the team in the best position to win the game and to make sure we are getting better everyday whether in the weight room or on the field. It is very simple Do the JOB and BE A ROLE MODEL.
#2 Football will be your #1 PriorityYou are entering a market brand/investment where team pays money to bring you to the country to play. You are also getting another OPPORTUNITY to continue your dream, so give it your all because you can get sent home, if you not getting the job done or if the team is not happy with the results of everything.
You will be paid to do what you love and also experience a different culture. Football is your job and most team are very professional with everything, so you have to be careful on and off the field.
Follow all the team policies, be on time when you have team events, practices, or games. You will be the first to show up and the last to LEAVE!! You need to set the example for all players on the team. They will all look up to you and see how you carry yourself and follow suit. If you show up late for practice or games, they will feel that they can do the same. If a team brings you over to score, then you better make plays and score. If they bring you over to play Defense, then you better play defense and create turnovers. Whatever the team bought you there for, JUST DO IT.
#3 Coaching/Free Time
Boredom can strike at any time. Everyone else on your team will have a family, school, work, and etc outside of football. Remember you are overseas for Football only, so you will not have a daily job like your teammates, so find a hobby that will keep you active therefore you wont get lazy. My hobbies are playing the game system, walking around town, working out, watching game films etc.
#4 Take Care of Your BodyAs an athlete you have to take care of your body to prevent injuries and to stay in shape. Teams invest a lot of money to bring you overseas. Most teams pay for your insurance whenever you are injured. When an injury occurs most of the time there is treatment and come back in play. If it is a long term problem more than likely they will try to bring someone else in to replace you.
People have to remember that it is all business, so taking care of your body is very IMPORTANT. I realize that stretching is a very important to prevent injuries. I take care of my body by doing Mobility work, so I can try maintain my speed or get faster.