PSC caught up with Taylor Davidson after he spent the summer in the North of Sweden playing for IFK Lulea’s U19 team. When Davidson joined up with Lulea he became the third player PSC had placed with the Swedish first division outfit in the last 12 months as he followed Kevin Garcia and Zac Lubin across the pond to Europe.
The now 18-year-old central defender and left-back was first scouted as a 15-year-old at PSC’s Youth combine at ARCO Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista, CA back in 2011. Following that event Davidson attended PSC’s elite U18 showcase squads in Turkey and Sweden where he claimed a runners-up medal in the Forward Cup and was invited to train with Bodens BK of the Swedish second division.
During these tours, his performances stood out as he excelled in games against professional academy opposition such as Terek, Anzhi Makhachkala, Kuban Krasnodar (Russian Premier League), Wolverhampton Wanderers (English Championship), Djurgarden (Swedish Allsvenskan).
These performances prompted agency staff to recommend the former Irvine Strikers defender to IFK Lulea this summer. Davidson flew out and joined up with PSC’s residential training program in Orebro, Sweden this June in order to keep sharp and expose himself further before joining up with the Lulea team in July 2014.
During his time in Sweden, he has competed in the top tier of Swedish youth football (Allsvenskan) and played against elite European academies such as AIK Stockholm, Orebro SK, and Djurgarden. He has continued his impressive performances in Europe and earned great reviews from the Lulea staff. Agency staff believe he is a young player with a bright future in the professional game. He has now returned to California and is playing with PSC’s Orange County Premier team where we had a chance to catch up with him and ask him about his time in Europe.
Welcome back to California Taylor, I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer in Sweden! To start with, give us a brief history of the PSC events and programs you have attended…
I’ve participated in several PSC combines in California over the last 3 years, as well as 3 amazing European showcases with the PSC staff to Turkey, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland.
Have you noticed a difference in the style of coaching in Europe compared to that which you are used to here in America?
In Europe, I noticed far more of an emphasis on the technical and tactical side of the game as opposed to the physical; which seems to be the focus of most American coaches.
And the style of play? Are there major differences?
Yes, teams rarely kick the ball long. Everyone plays out of the back, and keepers need to be good with their feet. There is a huge emphasis on not to panic and keep the ball when under pressure even if you might lose it trying to do so.
How about the players you were playing with? Did you encounter any language barrier issues? Were you accepted as part of the team coming in as a foreigner?
Everyone I met was very nice and hospitable. Almost everyone in Sweden speaks English so there wasn’t much of a barrier. The team was very friendly, and I made some good friends that I keep in touch with.
And how about off-the-field life in Europe? Do you notice a difference in the way the players socialize when not on the training field?
Off the field in Sweden was definitely a fun time. Well, people are similar, even being from different continents. I would say most soccer players/footballers have the same interests so social events are nothing new.
Having spent the summer in Sweden, is it a place you wish to continue your career or would you prefer to stay here in the US?
Yes, Sweden is a place I would love to continue my career. It was very enjoyable and a great experience for me.
Finally, any advice for other young players who are looking to break into the professional game in Europe?
My advice for anyone seriously looking to become a professional soccer player is to do your homework. Keep everything under your control in the best shape possible. Your touch, agility, physical shape, knowledge of the game, and so on.
PSC has 6 combines coming up this winter for players adults and youth looking to make it in the professional game. Please see our combine page for more information if you wish to follow in Taylor’s footsteps.