My Story And Why I Founded WeGotPlayers

  • 15 Feb, 2017

Andrei

My story. 

– Nicolae Andrei Popescu – 

The Beginning

Ever since I was a little boy, I always loved being active and playing sports. At the age of 3, I received my first soccer ball from my parents. It was soon after this, I realized that playing soccer was something special to me.

This beautiful game offered me new opportunities to explore, taught me lifelong values and I can honestly say that it changed my life. As you can tell by the picture below the ball was not missing from my 6th birthday.

I just couldn’t wait to start playing with my friends outside. I’ve was fortunate enough to have a great childhood. My parents will forever be my role models for always working hard to provide me with everything I needed. Because of that, I will be forever grateful.

My Parents

I was born and raised in Romania until the age of sixteen. I went to middle school and I played competitive soccer at the youth and club level for Gica Popescu Soccer Academy. Many of my friends also played soccer so my social life was healthy, active and safe.

I didn’t spend my extra time on the streets, unless it was to play soccer. Unfortunately, when I was 10 years old I lost my father due to a stroke. It was a very dark moment in my life as I was very close to him.

My life changed completely and I had to learn many things on my own as my number one fan was no longer next to me. I know he is still watching over me as he will always be in my heart, mind and soul. I just want to make him proud and be at least half of the father he was to me.

Gica Popescu Soccer Academy

Coming To The United States

On April 20, 2000, my life changed drastically when I left Romania, to live in the United States. I was frightened by a foreign culture with a new language, without friends, family or money. My self-esteem was low, my hopes shattered.

My only comfort and happiness came from playing soccer. My fight for survival in the United States gave me the opportunity to find my inner strength and to recognize my potential and my resources.

My first six months in the United States revealed strengths and characteristics within me that sixteen years of Communism had suppressed: motivation and perseverance; endurance and willingness; and a new-found personal poise.

High-School Years

Through these discoveries and guided only by the love and motivation for soccer, I found the strength to attend junior high school in Washington DC. I played one season where we won the Championship.

HS in Washington DC

After a few months, I joined IMG Soccer Academy in Florida where I played at the premier level and graduated from high school in 2002. This was an extraordinary experience I will never forget.  

I remember how difficult it was not being able to speak English well. Everything was a challenge for me at the time. I never gave up and I kept on working hard everyday to improve my English, grades and soccer skills. 

Once I was able to communicate and express myself, all of a sudden everything become a lot easier. The hard work and sacrifices were finally paying off.

IMG in Brazil

The College Experience

Once that chapter ended, a new one started when I joined a junior college called Ulster, in up-state New York. I had the privilage and honor of being coached by the legendary soccer mastermind, George Vizvary.

After I obtained my Associates degree, I went on to play for Quinnipiac University, a Division I program in Hamden, Connecticut, on a full athletic scholarship.

QU Soccer

As a result of these experiences, I understand first-hand the college sports recruiting process. Throughout the years, sports organizations have slightly changed the recruiting rules, by-laws and regulations but most have kept the same values and principles.

It is no secret that the college sports recruiting process has become more difficult and competitive. The truth is that playing college or professional sports is a dream that most high school athletes want to turn into a reality and only a few get to experience that.

QU Soccer Team

Despite the fact that athletes need to constantly train with high intensity, work hard on and off the field, eat healthy meals and maintain high academic standards, is just not enough anymore.

In today’s competitive market, promoting yourself effectively is more important than ever before.  That kind of exposure can truly change your life. Be aware of the many expensive college recruiting and scouting services that desperately try to assist athletes’ play in college or at the professional level. Do your research first and choose wisely.

Why I Founded WeGotPlayers.com?

I’ve built WeGotPlayers for those athletes who dream to compete at the next level. For those players, who always had the desire to train, learn and build their own identity to get discovered.

The kind of players who have character, values, work ethic and a sharp mindset that will push them to do whatever it takes to succeed in their sports journey and life.

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I’ve always loved helping others succeed. This is what fulfills me and gives me the power, strength and energy to work tirelessly on accomplishing my mission. My love for sports combined with my passion for technology allowed me to create an educational and empowering athletic resume tool. And that’s how WeGotPlayers.com was born.

The main goal was to empower players build and promote their own identity to get exposed and compete at the next level.

A Big Thank You

I truly hope my story inspires other players or anyone who loves sports to get the motivation and strength needed to build a strong character and always have hope to survive through all the difficult times ahead. I OWE a BIG THANK YOU TO MY FAMILY, FRIENDS, all of my COACHES, MENTORS and TEACHERS. They have all played an important role in my life.

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They’ve all taught me life lessons and values I still follow and live by today. I have lived through all those wonderful experience because I truly enjoyed playing SOCCER. Today, almost everything I have and do is related to SPORTS, COACHING, MENTORING and CONSULTING with athletes and parents on how to SUCCEED.

Where I Am Now

Now I am the Director Of Coaching for the Girls and Pathway programs at SportingCT in Middletown, CT. Manage the day to day operations for WeGotPlayers, blog and watch my two boys grow everyday. I am slowly introducing them too sports but I don’t want to hurry the process. I just want them to enjoy whatever sport they choose to play and learn as much as possible.

I enjoy the helping and developing players succeed in their sports. The recruiting process comes as a second nature and I am amazed to see how well parents respond to it once they are educated. I feel like it’s the clubs responsibility to give them a direction and teach their members about the process. Parents are busy with multiple children, schedules, different sports events and so on. Giving parents an idea about the process can make a huge difference for the future of their players. I am here to help and will continue to guide parents and clubs in helping them identify the right school fit for their student-athletes.

My Message To You

Now that you know my story and where I’ve came from, it’s time for you to lead your sports journey and create your own unique story. Whatever you decide to do in life, just don’t let your talent get lost in the shadows of empty hopes. Don’t be afraid to fail and always work hard to make your dreams a reality.

P.S – I hope you will soon have an inspirational story to share with me because your success will always be my satisfaction.

Author @Nicolae Popescu

Nicolae Popescu is a former NCAA D1 full-scholarship student-athlete and the Founder of WeGotPlayers. He has experienced first-hand the complex college recruiting process himself. Nicolae' s knowledge, skills and sports expertise make him a valuable contributor in helping guide players and parents to find the right school fit. He is passionate about coaching, mentoring and positively influencing players succeed in their sports journey and life thru the power of education and technology.
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