How to Succeed Playing in Europe – A Profile of Theo Corbeanu

I first worked with Theo in 2011. He attended our very first International Player ID Camp with Wolves FC in 2012 and later went on  to play for 1v1 Soccer in the SAAC league.  He played with Toronto FC academy before moving to England and signing with Wolves in 2018. He is part of their U18 academy squad and was called up to their 1st team squad for their  pre-season trip to China.

Learn more about Theo’s journey from a youth player in Hamilton, Ontario to playing for an EPL club that is currently 5th in the EPL  here 

1) What were some of the challenges you faced trying to realize your goal of playing football in Europe?

The hardest challenge for me was leaving everything I had behind in Canada. Leaving my family was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, but you can’t achieve success without sacrificing. I found the first few months very tough, as I made my move to Wolves at 16 years old. Nonetheless, my host family accommodated me very well and welcomed me as if I was one of their own. It got a lot easier as time went on. I never thought that I would be able to settle in so quickly, but this is what a footballing environment can do. Since I have so many teammates coming from different countries abroad, I was able to relate to them in many ways as they were in the same position as me. After just one year, I have made some life-long friends at the club.

 

2) If you had to advise young players from North America how to succeed in Europe what would your advice be?

If I could advise young players from North America how to succeed in Europe, it would be to believe in their ability and to never doubt themselves. Everyone has this perception that the standard of European football is miles ahead because there are better individuals. I have seen many players that were better than me when I grew up but they fell off when they were 15/16 years old simply because they weren’t dedicated enough to the game. Therefore, a good attitude is the key to everything in life, not just in football. Maintaining a positive attitude saying “I will never give up and will get up as many times as I have to in order to succeed” is the attitude of the top players. Everyone has an equal chance in making it out there, no matter where they are from. As a result, I think a player’s attitude and willingness to improve at all times is what will give him the edge. Coming from a foreign country like Canada to a place like England or anywhere in Europe is special in itself as it gives you the pride in dreaming that you could one day be the first to do it in Europe.

3) How many hours do you currently train/week and what is the breakdown ie % of hours spent on technical development, tactical development, physical and mental training?

I usually train for 5 hours everyday. My typical day in a week consists of a 2 hour team training session followed by a 1 hour gym session (working on upper/lower body and core), 1 hour individual analysis session and a 1 hour individual technical session after I finish my education. In my individual training session, I will normally work on my 1v1 attacking and finishing.

4) Did you spent any hours practicing on your own growing up? If so, how many?

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time training on my own. I remember I would spend 1-2 hours practicing on my technical skills outside of my team trainings. As soon as I finished school at 3:00, I would go home straight to my basement where I developed my ability to control the ball in tight areas. I didn’t do this extra training because I felt that I needed to get better, but it was solely for my love of the game. I did this because I enjoyed football so much as a kid. It was my life, still is and forever will be.

5) What support do you think young players from North America require in order to succeed in Europe?

I would say the main support for young North American kids would be that those who are involved with their football make it as enjoyable as possible for them. Before getting into the discussion about proper facilities, coaching and competitive opposition… the most important thing for a young up and coming footballer is his love for the game. Some of the best players to ever play the game made it out from nothing, with no conditions whatsoever. All they had was a ball, but their love for the game drove them to become who they became. This is why it is essential to get kids in North America playing at as young of an age as possible.

6) Any other thoughts you would like to share with young players?

I’d like to add that anyone can make it. It doesn’t matter whether you are from. Whether you are from Canada or Brazil, everybody has an equal chance… it all comes down to how bad you want it. Attitude is everything!!!

 

How to Help your Child pursue a Pathway to Play Professional Football in Europe