From Italy to Sautee: Evan Windham helps others reach personal goals

Windham playing in the USL2 Season (USL 2)

He is 23 years old, but one would not believe it. Evan Windham, who lives in Sautee, GA, speaks as one who has experienced much and wants to share that wisdom to help others achieve the best version of themselves. Windham is the son of Daniel and Paola Windham. Born and raised in Italy, Windham moved to Sautee in 2010.

An “old soul” of sorts, Windham talks about his journey to become a professional athlete, where the road took him, and everything in between.

“As a kid, soccer to me was a sport that kept me engaged,” Windham begins. “It is a non-stop, everchanging game where you can’t use your hands, and it constantly entertains. For me, soccer was so much fun!”

USL 2 season of 2022, Mississippi Brilla vs. Little Rock (USL 2)

As Windham got older, he became more serious about training and being on teams, which challenged him as a player. “The reality is, the worst place to be is the best player on the team because it is easy to get comfortable there. You have to have a purpose to chase and a goal to get better.”

He describes soccer not only as a physical game but a tactical game. “It’s like a game of chess. You must understand all the pieces, how the game is changing on the field, and be steps ahead of your opponent.”

Windham attended Young Harris College because of their renowned soccer program and also because Young Harris had an Outdoor Leadership Degree. After two years, he transferred to Shorter University in Rome because of a scholarship opportunity.

“At Young Harris, I felt the training and playing as a constant pressure in a must-win environment. At 17, the pressure to break into the starting 11 was not something I could accomplish.  Shorter University was different. At Shorter, it was about relationships with teammates and being a better man,” described Windham. “Both experiences were key in helping me to become the player and person that I am.”

A.C. Menaggio – Italian 6th division soccer. (A.C. Menaggio)

During the summer months of college, Windham played USL 2 (United Soccer League), a league that is a pathway to professional soccer. It was what he wanted. He remembers the day he received a call to come to Italy and play. Windham recalls, “It all happened so fast. The hard reality is, once there, they can release you, send you to another team, or keep you on.”

He stayed in Verona for three weeks and loved every minute of it. The decision came down to him and another player who had similar attributes. The other player was chosen.

“Emotionally, it was difficult, but I knew I had to get over it,” Windham remembered. Shortly after his release, he joined the AC Menaggio (Italy) team. It was while playing for AC Menaggio that the reality of soccer became very clear to Windham.

“People judge you by how you play. There are cheers and high-fives when you perform well. But when you don’t do well, it can be brutal.”

After taking some time off to travel, Windham tried his hand at a semi-pro team in South Italy before he “hung up his cleats” – at least from a professional standpoint.

“I realized that I had a great deal of knowledge about the game and a great deal of love for it,” Windham reflected. “I wanted to translate what I had learned to those who wanted to hear it. I wanted to share my experiences and help others.”

Windham with teammates on US Youth Soccer Region 3 Team v. Parma Calcio 1913 under 19 team in Italy.
(photo submitted)

His face lights up when he talks about his desire to train those who want to learn. “I want to work with children and adults. Anyone who wants to become a better self – I can help – and not just in soccer. Weight training, guided trail running, guided hiking, and soccer training are ways I can help people to become who they want to be.”

Windham is an encourager. It is evident in just a few moments of talking with him. Windham admits this is reflective of his parents.

Windham described his parents, “They never said a word on the sidelines, but they were always engaged in the game. And I knew it!” His parents invested in him and his sibling. He admires them tremendously.

“Pushing yourself to be uncomfortable, finding a way to harness experiences, and having the support of family and friends – these are the key ingredients to achieving what you want to be.”

Windham teaches elementary students the love of the game. (photo submitted)

Windham Training offers just that – an opportunity to glean from his journey and to use his expertise in training physically as well as mentally to be whatever someone desires to be. Windham enjoys helping others achieve their goals.

“It is so much more than a game,” he admits about soccer. “What I want to do is to help students develop a love for the game, help them to build a relationship with the ball, and understand there is always something to learn in this beautiful game.”

For more information or if you’d like to schedule a training session with Windham, please call 706-348-5336 or email [email protected].

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