Becoming a professional player in any country, at any level, takes long-term dedication and determination to develop yourself as a player. It takes regular and progressive training under qualified accredited coaches. Players must have a positive attitude and good character, and always give a 100 percent effort in all training sessions and matches.
But it takes more than talent. Aspiring young professionals must either secure good, honest representation and football contacts, or tirelessly self-promote in order to secure the all-important trials with professional football clubs.
It is a harsh reality that only a small percentage of aspiring players make it to the signing of a professional contract. Young players need to understand this, and pursue a solid educational background in order to prepare for the likelihood of life outside of the beautiful game called football.
Now that we have covered the difficulty associated with this football dream, let’s move on to discussing just how one may go about becoming a professional footballer.
1. Dedication & Determination – To become a professional athlete in any sport takes exceptional dedication and determination. Young people who are not willing or able to stay on course — no matter what — will not succeed in reaching their dream of becoming a professional player. The amount of training required quickly separates the willing and potential professionals from the unwilling amateurs. By simply dedicating yourself to full time participation in your football (soccer), you give yourself the opportunity for continued development.
2. Regular & Progressive Training – Professional footballers often point to a coach or coaches they had when they were younger that taught them well and motivated them on road to becoming a professional. Attaining qualified and accredited coaching from a young age (6-8 years old) and maintaining that over the important development years (8-17 years) is essential in a young person’s football development.
While individual time with the ball mastering skills is also essential to becoming a pro, without the direction of an organized, competitive youth club football, it is unlikely a player will continue to play through college or make it to the pros.
For European-based players and other players around the world, the path to a professional career is quite different. In England, for example, young players hope to join a professional Club Youth Academy or School of Excellence.
Within the Academy system, players train between 5-10 hours per week, depending on age, in the hope of becoming one of the professional club youth scholarship players. At 18, deserving players are offered a “senior contract” and become an official professional player.
Ask yourself how your situation compares to a youngster who is spending at minimum 10 hours per week under the guidance of a professional coaching structure between the ages of 8 and 18 years old.
3. Positive Attitude - There will be challenging times while following your dream to play football professionally. Times when you will question yourself and ask if it is all worth it. It is important, at such times, to retain a positive attitude. Accept constructive criticism or rejection and use the knowledge gained to improve your game and mental strength.
Many professional players heard statements like “You aren’t big enough” or “You just don’t have what it takes to make it” before they made it to the pro ranks. The main reason they made it? They kept a positive attitude throughout their football development years and always believed in themselves.
Following these tips will help you increase your chance of making it in the world of professional football. Stay tuned for part two of this series!
EduKick International Football Academies (EIFA) offers academic year football development academies in England, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Brazil. Contact EIFA at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.edukick.com.