Tips for becoming a professional footballer

Millions of children around the world aspire to make football their profession. However, getting to the top is no easy task. The process leaves the majority of those who try it by the wayside.

At SLAM International we are well aware of this reality, which is why we are trying to put in place a system to smooth that path. Stay with us to find out what you need to do if you want to become a professional footballer.

All sports appear in children’s lives as a simple game, entertainment, or even a way to promote a healthy lifestyle. However, as these youngsters reach a higher level, coaches or their own families start to consider a further step, to become a professional footballer. But do you know how to become a professional in football? What steps do you have to take?

At SLAM International we understand that the process that a person who wants to start a professional career must follow must be a mixed one, so that they combine their sporting preparation with their academic training. At our centre we strive to serve as an innovative training school for students with talent and interest in sport.

And for this we have specific programs for students of sporting excellence, a pioneering system in Spain that prepares young people on all levels, from the physical to the mental, tactical, technical, socio-affective and purely academic.

Requirements to become a professional footballer

To be a professional football player, the first thing you need to do is to prove your worth, a level that is above average and that is also accompanied by a very high level of physical preparation. This can only be achieved with a lot of dedication and training. In the end, as in all aspects of life, the more effort you put in, the more chances you have of reaching your goal.

The decisive phase comes when the youngsters are teenagers, between the ages of 16 or 17 and up to their twenties, as this is when they face their last phase of training in the lower categories before moving on to the seniors, where they reach professionalism. At that point, the options may be the following.

Be part of a football team with a professional structure

If you are already involved in a club with a professional team, it will be the club itself that signs a contract as a professional player, with all the associated rights and obligations.

Have a representative

Another option to reach professional football is through agents. In Spain, there are a multitude of agencies that represent young athletes who are progressing in their football career. If, when the time comes for them to make the leap, a club trusts them, they can sign a professional contract. In this case, the agent or agency offers these athletes to the clubs.

Club scouts

This alternative is halfway between the first and the second. It is possible that the club in which a teenager competes is federated, but does not have a professional structure.

In these leagues, there are numerous scouts who follow players and provide reports to professional clubs, who may contact the players with a view to offering them a contract.

Agreements with clubs

A final possibility is that of sports associations, foundations and academic centres that have agreements with professional clubs. There are well-known examples in Spain, such as Club Deportivo Canillejas in Madrid or Rayo Majadahonda.

This is the formula we follow at SLAM International, as we develop agreements with top-level institutions around the world (sports clubs, foundations, federations and high-tech companies) to advance in the field of sport and academic training. One example is Liverpool F.C.

How to play football professionally

Now that we know the ways to become a footballer and make football a profession for a few years, we want to focus on what young people who want to achieve this goal should do, or in other words, what it is like to play football as a professional.

The main key is to think of the sport as a goal to be achieved without deviating from the path. In this sense, it is not enough to have technical skills and a higher quality than other teammates, but this must be accompanied by preparation at all levels: physical, correct schedules, intense and continuous training, tactical and technical learning, emotional preparation.

Last but not least, it is important to internalise that the professional life of any athlete has a deadline. In the case of football, although it is increasingly delayed due to the improvement in physical condition, it does not usually exceed 35-40 years of age. This means only a career of, at best, 20 years as a professional.

For this reason, we at SLAM International insist on the need for academic training. In this way, after leaving the sport at a competitive level, the footballer will be able to start new professional adventures, which may or may not be related to his or her previous life.

What is a dream for millions of boys and girls in Spain, and the world, only becomes a reality in a small percentage of cases. Becoming a professional footballer involves many sacrifices, but it can be, with the help of centres such as SLAM International, a springboard for other options for personal growth if the final goal is not achieved.