When you think of the most popular American sports, basketball and football come to mind. Soccer stands adjacent, while fencing is on the outside looking in. People are entitled to have their preferences, but caring about just a few sports means they are missing out on a whole other sector of fascinating athletes. Spanish soccer star David Villa and Olympic fencer Miles Chamley-Watson are among them.
Villa and Chamley-Watson are at the absolute pinnacle of their respective sports, but perhaps most interesting about them is their journeys to the top. Both overcame adversity and immense pressure.
Villa, whose father was a miner in Asturias, Northern Spain, was overlooked by Spanish clubs when he turned pro due to his stature. Now, he’s the captain of the MLS’s NYCFC and is regarded as one of the greatest Spanish soccer players of all time. Meanwhile, Chamley-Watson dealt with the culture clash of moving to America from the UK at a young age and overcoming a huge loss at the 2012 Olympics. He proceeded to win the 2013 Foil World Championships (fencing’s biggest tournament other than the Olympics) and snag a bronze in Rio. He’s poised to take home that gold in Tokyo in 2020.
In a new two-part video series The Playbook, presented by Head & Shoulders, we take an exclusive look at how Villa and Chamley-Watson train, as they discuss the pressure they’ve had to shoulder on their paths to success. Peep the first episode of above, featuring Miles Chamley-Watson, and keep your eyes peeled for the David Villa episode coming soon!