Never give up on your dream

Zeca representing the Greek National team during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier match between Italy and Greece in 2019.
Zeca representing the Greek National team during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier match between Italy and Greece in 2019.

Never give up on your dream

The odds were stacked against Zeca, but he never gave up on his dream. Today he is the best player in the Danish Superliga.

Zeca representing the Greek National team during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier match between Italy and Greece in 2019.
Zeca representing the Greek National team during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier match between Italy and Greece in 2019.

Never give up on your dream

The odds were stacked against Zeca, but he never gave up on his dream. Today he is the best player in the Danish Superliga.

– If you want to become a pro, you have to train like a pro from an early age, says Greek international and FC Copenhagen player Zeca. – You can achieve great things if you put your mind to it.

Zeca knows what he is talking about. He was awarded Superliga player of the year earlier this year. He has also represented the Greek national team on 19 occasions and scored 2 goals.

But it wasn’t set in stone that Zeca’s Pro dream would come true.

– Growing up I was very tiny. Some people said I wasn’t good enough, but I kept on working and never gave up.

As a 21-year-old Zeca still played for a small club in the 3rd Portuguese league.

– When I was 20 years old I started to worry that I was getting too old to be picked up by a major club, but then a 1st Portuguese league coach came out to see me and I did pretty well in that match. That was a game-changer. My dream finally came true.

Impressed by NF Academy

Last year Zeca also was at NF Qualification Camp, where he got to see a lot of young players with similar ambitions and dreams as he once had.

He was impressed.

– I was very impressed by the professionalism and organization that coaches have. I would definitely have signed up for NF Academy if I were a young player today, he says.

These are the events you can sign up for this summer.

Zeca is somehow affiliated with NF Academy as our Academy director Joao Plantier is his former coach. Zeca expresses his gratitude to Plantier and says he was a major force in his development because he was the coach that said that he should play one year up when he was 14-years-old.

– To this day I still remember the things that João Plantier told me. He was undoubtedly important to me. And even more, now that he has become a friend and I can speak to him about all.

Zeca delivering the Diploma to the Player of the Camp in the NF Elite Training Virum, Denmark 2018.
Zeca delivering the Diploma to the Player of the Camp in the NF Elite Training Virum, Denmark 2018.
Zeca delivering the Diploma to the Player of the Camp in the NF Elite Training Virum, Denmark 2018.
Zeca delivering the Diploma to the Player of the Camp in the NF Elite Training Virum, Denmark 2018.

Plantier says that Zeca was ”special” from an early age. Clever kid with a lot of intuition for the game and with big commitment to mastering the craft of football.

The two of them have maintained a good relationship after Zeca turned pro.

– Zeca always wanted to learn new things and enjoyed all the opportunities that he got. I think those are the main reasons he turned out to be the player he is today, says Plantier.

Zeca when he was 14 years old at Casa Pia AC, his club from the youth to the senior team.
Zeca when he was 14 years old at Casa Pia AC, his club from the youth to the senior team.

Giving players the correct challenges is the philosophy that Plantier used with Zeca and is also applied to the NF Academy system.

– My years in Sporting CP and elsewhere working with players such as Zeca have taught me a lot about what it actually takes to reach the top. I try to pass that on to the Scandinavian youngsters I work with today, says Plantier.

Zeca encourages young players to educate themselves through NF Academy.

In fact, he actually thinks it’s necessary, especially when too many young players don’t get to practice regularly.

– By signing up for an NF Academy you expose yourself to a lot of new training methods and new valuable perspectives. You need that, he says.

Zeca representing Vitória FC, playing against FC Porto in his debut on 1st League.
Zeca representing Vitória FC, playing against FC Porto in his debut on 1st League.

We want to thank Zeca for his time and for sharing his story, which is undoubtedly an example of strength and determination for our young players.

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