TAMPA, Fla. - It’s been five months since Georgi Hristov retired. He closed his professional chapter after 15 years, including six seasons with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
“Do I miss it? Yeah,” he said. “I miss the locker room. I miss the feeling before the game. I miss game day.”
These days, you can still find Hristov on the pitch, not far from Al Lang Stadium. He’s now training – and playing alongside – the next crop of future soccer stars.
“I could’ve played more,” he explained. “I could’ve played two or three years more at a pretty good level. I decided that it’s a great time, I’m 34 years old, to start my academy, which is called GH Soccer Academy, where I’m still fit to actually train with them.”
Hristov calls it a player-centered academy and works with players individually or in small groups.
“I want to take my game to the next level,” said Osceola High School sophomore Jayden Walsh. “To get the pointers from somebody who was at the next level, a professional for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, I mean, it takes my game to the next level, so why not?”
This personalized approach was developed from his days as a player himself.
“It’s a different type of coaching,” said Hristov. “You’re very personal with the players. You talk with them. It’s a more intimate situation, where you coach them differently.”
“I’m not focusing on forwards, midfielders, and defenders,” he added. “I’m focused on a lot of passing, dribbling, awareness, a lot of finishing, a lot of goals.”
And scoring goals is something the Rowdies' all-time leading scorer knows a lot about.
LINK: Anyone interested in the academy can visit Hristov’s Instagram @GHSoccerAcademy