For a just-turned-13-year old, Dylan Greenberg is pretty pragmatic.
Asked his goals as a soccer player, he gave an answer you don't hear so often from grownups, let alone new teenagers.
"To win and to not make mistakes," is what came to mind for Greenberg, a talented left-sided defender from Dix Hills SC on Long Island.
Pressed a bit more he specified playing professionally and with the national team, a bit more conventional of an answer, but his first instinct in responding tells you something about the young player's mindset.
Starting with his Dix Hills club team which has won four consecutive Eastern New York State Cup titles, Greenberg knows something about winning. Continuing on to his selection for the U14 Boys National Team at last month's U.S. Youth Soccer ODP Interregional in Florida, it is evident that the diminutive standout keeps mistakes at a minimum. In fact his club coach Bart Nason points to Greenberg's perfectionism as the closest thing he has to a flaw.
"If he makes mistakes sometimes he gets upset with himself and that can affect him," Nason said. "He's one of the hardest game and practice players you'll find anywhere. He always gives 200 percent. He's one of the most skilled players I've ever seen."
His father Scott also comments on Dylan's internal drive.
"He really has a special work ethic, like I've never seen," Scott said. "He wants to play at the highest level. He's such a perfectionist and sometimes he gets down on himself when he's not perfect. That's the only thing I have to work on, for him to just realize that it's OK if he can't juggle 8,000 times or that he can't kick the ball perfectly all the time."
For his part, Dylan agrees he can't "lose my head," but the reality is this player must be pretty composed, as his play at the Interregional was excellent. Despite giving away a lot of size he continually got stuck in on tackles. His work on the ball including his delivery of services was also excellent, and he can also run with the ball.
Scott Greenberg said Dylan will be out in the backyard or in the basement working on his skills nearly every day. Dylan also likes to watch a lot of high-level soccer on television and even had the chance recently to attend a Manchester United game in person.
"It was sick," was his succinct, albeit slangy reference to United's Old Trafford Stadium. "I want to be a Man United player someday. I love watching them and how they move the ball. I see how Patrice Evra, the left back gets up the field and I want to be aggressive and play just like him."
Dylan said the U14 BNT experience was a good one for him and that he learned a lot about speed of play, skills and conditioning. His dad said schoolwork is still emphasized with the future always uncertain, but look for this player to continue trying to do the things to give him an opportunity to make it at the next level.
Written by ESNN (Elite Soccer News Network)