We’re excited to partner with leading soccer skills trainer Mo Ali Heyarpour on the Umbro Pro Player Training Series. He sat down with us, shared his incredible story and gave an insight into what we should expect from the upcoming series.
How did you get introduced to football?
I was born in Mashad, Iran where I got introduced to the game by my grandfather who played for one of the country’s best teams Esteghlal FC. At the age of 6, my family moved to Canada in a small city called Guelph. Obviously, Canada isn’t renowned for soccer but I was lucky to play in a youth system with a great coach named Randy Ragan who played in the World Cup for Canada.
Your personal journey playing soccer around the world is remarkable. Tell us a bit about it.
Around the age of 16, I began playing in the Canadian soccer league with many players from top leagues in different European countries. I was living alone at the age of 17 training professionally every day. 2-3 seasons after playing in Canada, a Croatian coach scouted me and sent me over to Slovakia to trial at a club called FC Vion of the Fortuna Liga, the country’s top division.
I scored in my first offseason game there which impressed the coach so I signed for them. I spent a few months there but due to financial problems at the club was forced to leave. From there I went to FK Krupa in the Bosnian Premier League. I was there just for one-month training because I could not sign mid-season so decided to come back to the USA until the transfer window opened.
So when did you start making soccer skills videos for social media?
Once I got back to the States I was playing in the PDL and began to create more Instagram training videos. After a few videos, my content started getting a lot of attention so I decided to keep creating more.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve developed a passion for producing soccer skills content and have been lucky enough to do training sessions with men’s players from MLS and women’s professionals from the NWSL. I think people have been so receptive to these videos because they provide a unique insight into how pros up their game. I’m always coming up with new training ground drills to help inspire aspiring soccer players to improve.
What advice do you have for any young player looking to improve?
My advice to young players would be to always try and learn from more experienced players and coaches. Spend a lot of time getting comfortable with the ball whether it’s hitting it against a wall, controlling it or basic juggling. Analyze pro games and watch the pro player’s movements in different situations and do your best to bring it into your own game.
What can people expect from the series?
People can expect a lot of skills and finishing drills in this series. You can see the way pro players adapt to different surfaces whether it’s turf or beach or other surfaces. The drills are creative and fun and allow the players to really exhibit their skills. I had a lot of fun making the series and am looking forward to seeing people’s reaction to it!
Follow Mo on Instagram here.