What you can learn from a professional athlete

My name is Dominique “Domi” Richardson and I play professional soccer in the National Women’s Soccer League. I grew up in Fullerton, CA where I played 4 years of varsity soccer and basketball at Fullerton High School. Throughout that time I played for a couple club teams around the Southern California area before I went on to play Division 1 soccer at the University of Missouri. After being a four year starter there, I went on to play professionally in the NWSL. My past two seasons as a pro have been spent as a member of the Houston Dash and the FC Kansas City Blues. 

When I was coming home back home to Orange County during offseason, I was looking for more than just a place to train; I was looking for a gym and a trainer that would push me and challenge me to get stronger, more fit, faster and to ultimately reach the goals I had in mind for the upcoming season. These past few months of training with Stephen and Jared have done exactly that. I have done a variety of training to get my health and body up to where it needs to be in order to perform well during the six months of season. 

Being at the professional level of any sport has high demands for what you need to put your body through in order to perform well which is where a high level of training and preparation come into play. This past season I suffered a couple injures which kept me sidelined so that was something I wanted to make sure I took care of this offseason so it doesn’t happen to me again. With a muscle injury, it is important to make sure to build strength back up once it is healed. That being said, Stephen has been implementing workouts for me that really focus on overall strength, but also work to balance my body out more equally. 

Moving from collegiate soccer to pro, made me come to the realization that I knew I really needed to put a lot of time and focus into was just overall strength in general. A change of positions from midfield to defender also made that a necessity. As the last line of defense, center backs are known for being strong, rock solid defenders who often serve as the cleanup crew for the team. So I knew I needed to get stronger and faster in order to do a good job. Being a soccer player, we obviously need to leg strength, but Stephens favorite work out for me always seems to be pull ups, to which I faithfully respond every time “Stephen (Ste-fon). I play soccer. I don’t need my arms.” And then continue to attempt pull ups. But like I said before, being a high level athlete requires full body strength, which is why I have trainers like Stephen and Jared who are there to remind me that running uses your whole body, and I need my arms to be successful at shielding and holding people off the ball. 

Another thing that we focus on is speed and agility training. I know that I can come into the gym every Friday looking forward to another intense round of a sprint or agility work out (I do more than one a week, but it’s always a guarantee on Fridays). This offseason I have been working more and more on honing in on the small details of sprinting that can set you apart as an athlete. Whether that be an explosive start that will allow me to separate myself from other players quicker, working on my footwork in order to change directions much faster and making smoother transitions or increasing my vertical jump. You name it, I’ve worked on it; and if I haven’t, I guess I can just wait until next Friday to get started on it. 

I like to think that being a successful, high level soccer player encompasses all parts of athletics; the higher you jump, the stronger you are, the quicker, faster, and longer you are able to run, the more beneficial you become to your team. I truly believe that with all the work my trainers at Functional Sports Performance are putting in to making me a better athlete will pay off once I step foot on the field again. Not only have they helped to increase my strength, speed and agility, they are there to continually push me on and encourage me to get better every day, and reach my goals.