Becoming a fully professional soccer player is a dream for many, and with good reason. Soccer players see the world and earn a wage doing the thing they love the most. Getting into the game professionally can sometimes seem difficult, but here are some tips to help you pursue your dream career.
#1 Start Young
Most soccer players start very, very young. This applies to most sports, but it’s especially true for soccer fanatics. Starting young means attending clubs, joining youth teams and working hard in practice from an early age.
There’s really no substitute for experience, and starting soccer as a child gives you just that. Even playing on the school soccer team helps, but you should do everything you can to broaden your horizons. Soccer academies and professional coaching can do wonders for young players.
#2 Train Abroad
It sounds like a big step, but most sporting professionals leave home at some point in their lives to train abroad. The reasons for this are fairly obvious. It’s highly unlikely that you live in an area with a world-leading soccer academy, so travel is necessary. This is particularly true in the United States, where soccer is still a relatively nascent sport.
Turning your eyes towards Europe with a program like Soccer-to-Football.com allows you to train abroad where you’ll also meet scouts, connect with top European clubs and gain valuable experience. It can be hard to leave home at a young age, but following your dreams is important.
#3 Study the Game
Practical training is valuable, but you can also learn a lot from simply studying the game of soccer. This takes two forms. Watching old matches featuring classic players will give you valuable insights and there are also lots of books available that teach soccer theory. While these can never replicate on-pitch experience, they’ll certainly help you develop your “soccer brain.” These resources can help you get a head-start on your rivals.
#4 Focus on Mental Strength
Among all the fitness training and soccer practice, it’s possible to lose sight of the mental side of the game. This is just as important as fitness. Soccer requires mental strength to see you through moments of extreme tension and hardship. Mental strength is difficult to work on, but it comes with time. Teaching yourself how to deal with stress, coping with time away from home and even dealing with defeat all help to build character, which will be essential later in your career.
#5 Tailor your Lifestyle
Soccer requires a unique lifestyle, one that some people find difficult to maintain. You’ll need to keep a healthy diet that’s rich in protein and energy-dense foods. Watching what you eat is important, as is keeping fit. Apart from just playing and practicing you’ll have to spend more time in the gym working out and staying in shape. For the best players in the world, soccer isn’t a career, it’s a lifestyle. Follow their example and you’ll already be doing well.
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / DeFodi Images