Philip Lund of Total Football Soccer Agency just recently signed a contract with the Seattle Sounders. I asked him to share some information on the process and his experience for my blog. Philip was gracious to share the story of the last year of his life coming back from a very tough injury to a contract in the MLS… so glad I could take a part in it.
Well done, Philip! Keep working hard and this is only the beginning for you.
Believe, courage, sweat and tears
Hard work does pay off!
7-8 months ago I found myself in injury hell. For a long period of time I did not seem to get near my recovery. I tried a bunch of different treatments and methods but nothing seemed to help. After no successful treatment, I began considering new paths to follow if I did not get on the field again. This was my worst case scenario! I did not want this to become a reality!
There were some hard months following for me, and my family and girlfriend had a hard time seeing my smile slowly fade. Then there was my frustration that needed to be released. Unfortunately, my family and my girlfriend were the target of my frustration. The thought of not being able to do what I had been dreaming of since I was a little boy was almost too much to bear.
“I can’t waist my talent.” That was my thought every day! The will to show my family and myself that you can do what you set your mind to is what kept me going. Finally, I met Klavs from Protreatment. His treatment was exactly what I needed, and I slowly felt that I was not too far from a comeback! His methods and techniques worked from day one. He gave me some confident that he could get to the bottom of my problems. I started seeing Klavs regularly for some treatment, and I could feel my optimism slowly but surely returning again. So I started considering my future in soccer with advice from my family. What do I really want to do? And it was clear for me that I wanted the next stop to be the USA. My brothers and I started investigating the options on the internet. We found some tryouts!
The Infosport Combine in Sarasota! My object was to get ready for this combine starting January the 8th 2013 and lasting for three days. At this time we had just entered December and I had not been running or playing any soccer for six months. So I knew that the time was my worst enemy. I stopped my education and started to focus a 100 percent on getting ready for the combine. “You can’t take the talent away from someone talented,” I began saying to myself and I knew that I had the talent. For me the main focus was to steer away from any injuries. If I could stay away from any injuries I knew I could go and show the coaches how to play soccer! I was very confident that I would kick some butt!
My twin brother was so incredible to sign up for the same combine so he could support me so far away from home! That meant a lot to me. I knew I had a loyal person to lean on. My big brother arranged for me to practice with his team a couple of times during the week. Just so I could get some feeling with the ball again. In the mean time I was steady taking the trip to Sjælland to get my treatments at Protreatment. In this period I started to get in touch with an American agent through a friend that has established himself in The United States. This agent would later turn out to be a good friend.
Training, training, and some more training! With the right amount of training I began to see fast improvement. I know my body well, so I knew what I had to do to get fit and what to stay away from to avoid injuries. The time had arrived!! My twin brother, Mitchell, and I were about to start an adventure. We had ordered our plane tickets so that we had a couple of days to adjust to the weather and the time. We didn’t want our combine to be influenced by jet-lag and the warm weather. We came from some pretty cold weather in Denmark.We met up with our agent, Itamar Keinan, for the first time to get an impression of him and of course the other way around. The combine started the next day!
The next three days turned out to be just as hard as I had imagined. I was still not a 100 percent due to my injuries and I could feel that my body was tired. I had not touched a ball for real in six months, but we managed to make an impression. I was chosen by my coach, Brian Haynes, to play the final game against the national U-17 team, even though Brian knew where I had come from with injuries. Now I really needed to bring my A game!!
The Seattle Sounders adventure begins! After the game, Ezra Hendrickson approached me and we had a good talk. He told me that he had talked to Itamar Keinan and he sees some potential in me! YES! This could be the chance I had been waiting for. To play at the top level in MLS would be a dream coming true. The days went by and Mitchell and I were getting ready to head home to cold Denmark. Suddenly the phone rings, and it is Itamar. He lets me know that Seattle Sounders is a possibility, but nothing is certain yet. We had just arrived in New York when I suddenly hear my phone ring and vibrate like crazy. It is Itamar! He want to let me know that Seattle Sounders want to buy me a ticket so I can come join their team as quickly as possible! They want me to be there for the preseason start. Mitchell and I are now discussing whether I should go now or wait and take a flight in Denmark. Mitchell is like “DO IT, do it, it doesn’t get bigger” I knew he was right, but in my head I was prepared to head home first, so I could collect my thoughts before I again had to hit the road. So we decided to fly to Denmark.
A week after returning to Denmark I now find myself standing in Seattle. I am far from the only new player in the preseason roster. The training sessions begin, and I can remember being very nervous. Something that is actually new to me. So my training was restrained by nerves. I figured it had something to do with being so far away from home and in the “safe” surroundings in Denmark. Here I had to deliver for one of the best teams in MLS instantly. I had never seen a so professional set up before, and never had I played with players this good. Because of the hard training and the eager to show what I was able to do, I bumped into some injuries again. I didn’t feel like I had the best start. People were slowly being eliminated, but I was not one of them! I was invited to join the team for a camp in Arizona. They spared me a bit the first couple of days due to my injury. Fortunate for me Seattle Sounders had very qualified trainers to take care of me and give me some treatment.
I then began to start training again, and I felt that I hit a good period, maybe because of the adrenalin. The last day of the camp we play against Portland Timbers, and it looks like I will be starting with another new player to the team, Djimi Traore, former FC Liverpool player and CHL winner. Out of nowhere I become sick and that keeps me out for a week.
I am drained for power and I have lost 4-5 Kg. I am so exhausted.
The tryout continued, and I once again was invited to a camp in Arizona. This time it was in a different place than the previous camp where I got sick. More players had been eliminated and we were now only three remaining. I was still here! So I came to that conclusion that the coaches liked what I brought to the team. Even though I wasn’t satisfied with my tryout so far, they saw something in me! I guess I am too hard on myself! We had a few more matches we needed to play, so I was waiting for my chance and I would grab it. My debut came, and after 25 minutes on the field I scored my first goal for The Sounders. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We arrived in Seattle again and one more player was eliminated, so that we were two players remaining.
Rumors were that Obafemi Martins would be signed, so we knew that it meant that there was only room for one more.
At the airport on our way home to Seattle from Arizona I had a conversation with Sigi and Brian. They were pleased with what they saw, but they wanted me to stay clear of any injuries for a couple of weeks. 2-3 weeks went by and I had now been resident in Seattle for seven weeks. SEVEN weeks! That’s not normal for a normal tryout I thought to myself. And some of the players was starting to notice it, so they began teasing me a little bit for fun. More players had left by now and it started to look a little bit clearer but I had yet to get the final answer.
I therefore decided to keep my focus on the field and in the training. I was beginning to get in a better shape and my touches were returning as before I was injured. I had been clear for injuries in three weeks, and wow that was a great feeling. For the first time in 8 months I don’t feel any pain. That was a huge victory for me.
The day I had been waiting came and I was offered a four year long deal with Seattle Sounders. I was so happy and proud when I walked back to the hotel from the meeting. I had to pinch myself to be sure that this was for real. 3 months back I couldn’t even run and now here I am today. I had a offer from THE Seattle Sounders. It was unbelievable. Itamar had been in contact with the club during my stay and knew what it was coming to, but I needed to see the contract with my own eyes to be sure that it was for real. A couple of weeks before I had been visiting Centurylink Field to see The Sounders play at home in front of 50,000 spectators. The whole atmosphere was amazing and I look so much forward to my time in front of the home crowd. To play in front of these fans is a dream coming true. I haven’t seen anything like The Sounders fans, and I can’t wait for them to yell out my name. Philip Luuuuund!
Looking back at the hard times, it has definitely been worth it all. Hard work does pay off, I am saying to myself although my adventure is far from over. I have a lot to proof and show, and I am just getting started! I can hardly believe that three months ago I wasn’t able to play soccer and now I find myself in this adventure!
A big thanks to my family and girlfriend for the unconditional love and support. Without them I wouldn’t have triumphed. You have made my challenges more enjoyable and for that I am ever grateful!