To become a professional soccer or football player you need to train everyday. It is a full-time job that never stops.
What things do you need to learn to become a professional footballer? You need to learn and practise skills like passing, shooting, dribbling, tackling, and heading. You have to have a good diet and stay fit and strong. You need to learn tactics and how to be part of a team. But that’s not all.
Some people turn professional at a very young age, some people never become professionals, but someone people take much longer to turn pro. There is no secret recipe to it. It’s largely about consistent effort over a period of time. But there are some things that you can do to make the goal easier to achieve.
Football is a lifestyle
Playing football is a very demanding job; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Everything you do needs to be centred around improving every aspect of your life so you can keep getting better at the game. Football has to become your life. What you eat is important. What you drink is important. How much sleep and rest you get is important. Then on top of that you have to practise skills regularly and train with your teammates.
You need to learn tactics and formations. You need to understand the roles and responsibilities of your position. You have to understand what to do in different situations and scenarios. You might not play the same system every week, so you need to be able to adjust. You need to be able to learn and understand new things quickly. You absolutely have to be able to work as part of a team. If you cannot do this you simply will not become successful; unless you have world beating talent. But sometimes even that isn’t enough.
You’ll also do things like strength and conditioning training to make sure that you are fit and strong. Because football is so physically demanding it’s important to do this so you are less likely to get injured. Until you are lucky enough to have your own coach you will have to learn how to do this on your own.
You have to be a good communicator. That doesn’t mean that you can speak 3 different languages, although some footballers can. But you do need to know how to communicate on the pitch with your teammates, possibly in front of hundreds or thousands of noisy fans. You need to know how to communicate appropriately off the pitch too with fans and the media too. If you say or do the wrong thing you can lose your job very quickly.
Sacrifice is another big part of being a professional footballer. You might have to miss birthdays and weddings. Some footballers even miss the birth of their children; because they have a game to play. You’ll be away from home days on end at times as you travel up and down the country to play against opponents.
Football requires a lot more skill and discipline than some people give it credit for. If it was easy anyone would be able to do it and do it well. If you study, train, and work hard you might be able to become a professional. But it won’t just happen. You have to keep putting in effort and never give up.
How do you start the journey to becoming professional?
The best place to start is to find a local club. If you want to become professional you need to play, and play often. Have a search in your local area for clubs and find out when they train. Go to some training sessions, meet the coach, meet the other players and see how you get on.
If you want to turn professional your focus has to be on playing in the first team and winning games. If that isn’t happening then you might want to consider moving clubs. If you don’t want to do that then you will need to do everything you possibly can to make your team better.
You need to be certain that you want to become a pro. Be absolutely sure that you want to become a professional football player. Don’t attempt it half-heartedly because it requires a big commitment from you. Have a think about other professions that you could do and make sure you wouldn’t rather do those instead.
The closest football club is over an hour away. It’s too far.
If your closest club is a long way away then consider moving. If you want to be a professional footballer that bad then you need to move to where the clubs are. See if you can stay with a teammate, or maybe the coach. See if you can stay in a hotel or a guest house. You cannot make excuses if you want to be a professional. You have to find solutions to problems and find them quickly and consistently.
Some players leave home at a young age to pursue becoming professional. Some players even move to different countries. The distance you live from the club cannot become an issue.
Alternatively, if you really, really needed to you could start your own club. But then you would be starting the journey of becoming an owner. You may even have to become the coach, marketing department, and a bunch of other roles too.
If you want to become a professional player then stick to that. Move closer to the club or simply commit to making the journey every time to attend training and play in games.
I always go to training but I never get picked.
If you are regularly going to training but aren’t getting picked then you need to speak to your coach. You need to find out from them why you aren’t getting picked. If you aren’t playing you aren’t winning, and if you aren’t winning you aren’t going to be a professional for very long. Find out from them what you need to do to get into the team. If they tell you that there’s nothing you can do then find another club.
Make sure you are doing everything you can to get picked. Practise your skills in your own time. You can practise ball control and dribbling almost anywhere. Practise shooting and passing. Shooting and passing are just target practise. You don’t have to have a goal or teammates to practise shooting and passing. There are lots of things you can practise on your own: headers, volleys, kick-ups, crosses, making runs, leaping, and much more.
Do strength and conditioning. This is one of the most important parts of playing any sport. If you are stronger and in better shape than others then you give yourself much more chance of being picked. Get some training equipment, or a gym membership. Maybe even get a personal trainer. If you do strength and conditioning you will be giving yourself a massive advantage over those that don’t.
Have a great eating and drinking habits and recover well. Find a nutritionist if you can. Find someone who has good knowledge and understanding of what to eat and drink to get the best out of your body when playing sport. Food and drink are the fuel that your body needs to grow and perform. It is hugely important if you want to become a professional to have excellent nutrition.
Play in more competitive leagues, get an agent, and make a highlight reel.
If you are going training regularly, you are getting picked, and you are winning matches then you need to play in a more competitive league. In basic terms, the more competitive the league the more money you will end up getting paid. It can help to have an agent in this sort of situation. If you have an agent they can be your link to other clubs and opportunities. They can do all of the networking whilst you are focusing on training and maintaining your skills and fitness.
If you can’t get an agent then do it yourself. Phone some clubs, speak to scouts, coaches, and owners. You might get yourself a trial. Again, it might be that you need to consider relocating. You will know where the biggest, best, and most successful clubs are in your country. Ultimately, you aim is to play for one of them, right? If you want to do that then you need to put yourself in front of them so that you can showcase your talents.
The other thing you can do is get someone to film your games. Then you can make a highlight reel that you can send to clubs, scouts, and coaches. If they can’t come to you, and you can’t get to them, then send them the footage. Just make sure it’s of a good enough quality that they can watch the footage clearly. And make sure you edit the footage so they get to see the best bits of what you have to offer.
If you do all of these things, continue to study the game, train and play hard then you are giving yourself a great chance of booming a professional football player.