Borussia Dortmund number one Roman Bürki has had a successful career as a professional footballer to date, but it could all have been so different as the Switzerland international revealed, with a vital intervention from his father and work with a mental coach keeping his dream alive.
From 2005 to 2013 Bürki was on the books at Young Boys in his native country. But his eight years with the club almost didn't even happen after the teenager had battled for a professional contract at a number of clubs.
Two hours before he took his trial with Young Boys, Bürki turned to his father, who had driven him to the club’s training ground and said, "No, I'm not going there," Bürki told Eurosport.
The trial with Young Boys came shortly after a failed trial with another Swiss side, FC Thun, which had knocked his confidence severely. "It was just out of fear to fail again," Bürki explained. "I was just disappointed that it didn’t work out with a club and I was insecure, but then came Young Boys, a supposedly bigger club than Thun. I was so down at that time, so disappointed with myself because I always put a lot of pressure on myself.”
Out of fear that "it will be a 'no' again", the now 27-year-old wanted to skip the trial at Young Boys, until his father told him what he needed to do.
"My father really forced me to go there - and that ultimately saved my career," Bürki says, and since the age of 16 and even to this day the Swiss shot-stopper sees a mental coach, who helps him to clear his mind from the stresses of professional football, and he encourages his fellow professionals to do the same.
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"For me it's not a taboo at all, Bürki explains. “I started when I was 16, 17 and at that time I didn’t really know much about it, but I thought: it certainly can’t do any harm.
“It’s hard to get to know someone enough to feel comfortable so that you can open up, but anything that helps in such a way should be used as a player. You want to be as consistent as possible. I've used a mental coach from an early age and that's how it continues to be."