How to become a professional footballer
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How To Become A Professional Football Player

Becoming a professional football player is a dream of many. Every player has in mind this wish and at one point of his life decides to dedicate to this goal. However, when we dream about it, most times we are not even aware what it truly means and requires. All the factors must be taken into account and you have to understand the difference between amateur and professional level. You have to understand what it takes and expect challenges along the way.

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Your journey as a football pro begins at early age, training at a local youth academy or club. You should start at the youngest age possible. This is crucial due to the need for guidance of your early development.

At this stage, your motor skills, movement, coordination and other physical attributes start to develop and if directed efficiently with right training drills and exercises will speed up your progress and make reaching your potential much easier task and a dream of being a professional football player more reachable.

The younger you start, the greater are the chances for success. Football is a very competitive sport, and if you start practicing it at the age of 15 or later, there is a big chance that you will not be able to catch up with other academy students. By this time, you have missed many training sessions and professional football staff did not monitor your development.

Youth Academy training drills are specially analysed and crafted for each age group. This kind of approach targets developing key abilities, according to your age and physical maturity. You should start young, and then slowly work on your way up to older sections.

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Start training at Youth Academy

At this age, although you are only a child, you must show a great level of commitment and endurance. You have to keep yourself motivated and work hard on improving your skills. You can be talented as much as you want, but without dedication and endeavour, you will never fulfil your potential.

During your time at youth academy, you should use every chance you can to improve your skill. Professionally crafted drills are designed in a way to target attributes that are considered key for progression to next level.

While younger age groups are focused on improving physical characteristics and basic motor skill, academy groups around 14 years of age are concentrated on building strength and endurance at a more significant level, as well as upgrading their passing skills, shooting, advanced movement and playing competitive matches. At this level, you are mentally prepared for all sacrifices and hard work that is necessary for you to succeed and the challenges that are waiting for you when you progress to next grade.

When you are 17 or 18 years old, you are prepared for advanced training sessions and playing football at professional level. These training drills last for 90 to 120 minutes and require a high level of stamina and endurance. Not only you have to handle these sessions, but also your performance must be at expected level.

At this stage, you are learning about advanced strategies, tactics and football formations. You play regular competitive matches and tournaments, maybe even with first team and professional football players. Ones who passed all the levels of football academy, are ready to prove their abilities and play professional football.

What about Amateur Clubs?

Besides going through football academy, your journey may begin with playing at a local amateur or semi-professional club. Keep in mind that training sessions here are not obligatory, nor they are planned into detail. Football coach at an amateur club is not sure how many players he will have at each training session.

That makes systematic planning impossible, while training schedule are unpredictable. That way your development is not carefully calculated and monitored, which means less chance for you to reach your potential and become a football pro.

This Path requires Hard Work and Sacrifices…

If you aim to be a football pro and achieve a great career, you must be ready to work hard and often “go an extra mile” in your efforts. Vast amount of time and energy must be invested in improving your skills. Cristiano Ronaldo himself believes that talent is not a key to success, but a hard work.

This is the reason why he invests at least six hours every day on training, often staying at the practice field after everyone goes home to rest. You should aim for this dedication level. To make it as a pro, you need to be constantly striving to improve yourself. Use every training session as a stepping-stone to becoming a better player. When you are not practicing, then review football games and take notes. Learn constantly and as much as you can.

Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,0000 Hour Rule

Malcolm Gladwell, motivational speaker, and author of the book “Outliners”, described a rule called “the 10,000 Hour Rule”. After studying hundreds of world-class athletes and performers, he detected a pattern common to all of them. He concluded that a stunning figure of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is required for anyone to become an elite performer at any skill. To make it easier to understand, that is 20 hours per week, for 10 years period. Tremendous amount of time invested in perfecting one skill. This illustrates how much dedication and sacrifice of energy and time is needed if you wish to be the best in your field of interest and fulfil your dream of becoming a football pro.

Another sacrifice you will have to make is financial. You have to invest in your development if you desire to harvest the success later on. You have to buy training kit and equipment, pay scholarships, tuition fees, tournaments fees, and if you play outside your region or even country, you have to be prepared to pay for travel expenses.

If you are considered a prodigy and a rising star, the club will probably pay all these costs for you. However, for most of the players that is not the case. You will have to buy many things by yourself if you want to train and improve your abilities and increase your chances of becoming a football pro.

If you are not ready to finance this on your own, you can apply to many football academies’ programs that offer paid scholarship deals, maybe even outside your home country. Colleges in the USA grant sports scholarships to residential and non-residential talents.

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Some other things to keep in mind…

High level of energy required for training and matches is difficult to maintain. That is why you have to pay a lot of attention to the nutrition balance in your meals. Your nutrition plan should include protein rich food, carbohydrates and drinking plenty of water. Fish, whole grain food, fresh fruit and vegetables, are essential. Avoid eating junk food and sugar.

You have to keep your motivation high. Always have in mind that football is a beautiful game. Nurture that passion you feel from the start. It will be difficult at the time and you may even doubt yourself and your abilities. Keep the faith and remember why you love this game. Stay focused and confident.

Even after signing a professional contract, there will be challenges. Five out of six signed players are released before they turn 21. After signing professional contracts, which makes it less than 17% of players that actually become successful. Do not let this discourage you. Like everything in life that is worthwhile, becoming a professional football player is also a difficult mission. Keep going and believing in yourself.

Becoming a football pro is a long and difficult journey. You should keep the track and monitor your progress by setting individual goals. This is a task where you should include your coaches. They will provide great insight and objective judgment of your abilities, as well as tips for their improvement.

Conclusion

There are several different paths you can take to become a professional football player. What path you will take depends on multiple factors you should examine. It depends on your age, financial possibilities, and your current level of abilities. If you are younger, you should try to get to the youth academy. If older, you should work your way up by starting at an amateur or semi-professional level.

Whatever your conditions are, some things you have under direct control that can help you become a professional football player. You can believe in yourself and your skill, keep your motivation level high so you can overcome any obstacle you come across. You are the one responsible for your working habits and work rate you invest in improving your abilities. If you do everything in your power, you will make almost certain progress in the football world and climb up to the status of a football pro. 

Get prepared to face challenges and disappointments. From time to time, you will find someone who will be better than you will. You should use that as a motivation, push yourself forward, and work even more than before. If you keep building a strong mindset and skill set you will succeed at your journey to greatness.

Here are Some of our Favourite Football (Soccer) Cleats

Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the cleats worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current cleats, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out in these cleats? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc. Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific cleats.

What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?

Elite

Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.

Pro

On your way to the pro leagues? Here’s our pick.

Academy

Want something to start with? Have a look at our pick.

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