How to become a professional footballer and the best countries you should target.
Climbing the ladder as it relates to your football career up to a professional level is not an easy task, but with hard work, commitment, dedication, you can achieve your goals within a short time.
Football is a lucrative sport followed closely by Basketball, Cricket, Tennis, etc.
This has increased the urge in young players to consider moving up to professional level with high hopes of getting somewhere, someday.
No one’s dreams of becoming a pro can be quashed, unless he/she does not follow a recommended path.
Even though you reside in countries where football development is on a decline, you could still achieve your dreams within a short time.
In this article, i shall highlight the recommendation ways you should follow as an upcoming footballer.
How to become a professional footballer, best country to start your career
1. Start young
The best time to begin your journey to a professional football status is at your tender age. Build yourself through regular training and consistent practice.
Today, most of the top teams in Europe rely on young players. The benefits associated with the reliance on young players has pushed several big clubs to set out plans for young talented players.
Football clubs send scouts regularly to search for players and these scouts often prefer players with quality and creativity.
Another reason why you should start early, it gives you the ability to adapt to the game. You’ll develop passion for the game quickly.
Every club in the world has known the importance of developing players from scratch since it helps the players understand the philosophy of the club right from their tender age.
Take a closer look at Phil Foden at Manchester City, he began from the Academy, right now, he is a full first-team player.
Foden is not just a first-team player, but one of the most important, without which club faces issues in some games without his services.
There’s no mistake by clubs that spend heavily on young players across the world.
Clubs now dedicate huge sums of money just for their development department.
2. Choose a particular role
Football has several roles you can choose from. But you should adapt to a particular role as it would help you master your A-game.
Choosing a particular playing position would help you focus on your interest. You cannot kickstart your career on a particular role and along the line, you switch sides.
There are several benefits attached to it if you follow it correctly.
Here are some benefits
- You become a master of your game.
- You become more confident.
- During trials, your success rate increases compared to others without a role or with dual roles.
- Gives you the chance to become the best wherever you go.
3. Develop a training schedule
What makes you a standout players among others is your ability to train regularly.
As a footballer growing up, you may find it difficult to train regularly as a result of a commitment with other activities.
However, to overcome this, you have to develop a training schedule that will serve as a guide for you.
A training schedule does not only make you committed to your goal, but it gives you the chance to be above others.
Never undermine the fact that creating a training schedule could help propel your career to the next level.
The more training you have, the more likely you are to become a good footballer.
Think about what makes Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Aguero better, it is because they take training more seriously.
In some developing countries where football development is not seen as a priority, young people most cases have divided attention.
Despite all these, it is better to set out a training schedule that will serve as a guide in whatever you do.
4. Be consistent
Consistency is what makes you a better footballer. Do not stop because you are not at the top of your game at this point in time.
Instead, continue to work hard as consistency would pay off in the end.
If you continue with your regular football schedule, you become addicted to your game.
Consistency is the only answer to your questions of becoming a pro in the nearest future.
Despite your tight schedule, you still focus on your game. Do more physical training and learn basic skills.
5. Have a CV
A CV typically includes information like work experience, achievements and awards, scholarships or grants you’ve earned, coursework, and places you’ve played as a footballer. You may be asked to submit a CV when applying for an Academy or a football club.
Every footballer needs a complete CV. This document serves as identification.
Your CV consists of personal documents such as home address, your personal information, email address, passport and ID card.
6. Attend scouting matches, trial camps
Avoid sitting at home waiting for an opportunity to come looking for you. Go out there, attend scouting matches, trials as you could get picked.
Scouts serve as a link between a grassroots footballer like you with already established clubs looking for upcoming talents.
If information is your problem, you can check through local listings, magazines, newspaper for possible announcement.
These days, the first place we get our information is on the internet. You can follow industry insiders and stay updated.
In some cases, these activities could be paid for. If you can afford it, it is even better to attend the paid screening which gives you an upper hand, since the level of attendance is expected to reduce compared to those general scouting games.
7. Join a local team
Consider a local team within your locality. It will help you gain more exposure and popularity within a short period.
Local football teams could still help you secure your dreams of move to a big club.
Local teams are very important because scouts, agents are always on the lookout for players. You could get picked if you are lucky.
Also, local teams will improve the level of football.
8. Check online
Check for scouts online. Follow football activities, camp online. You can follow football insiders, representatives and organization to be updated on the latest.
Another area to watch out for is the official website of major football clubs. There, you could see updates from the Academy, development squad etc.
You could also be notified about any recruitment into their Academy.
9. Join a football academy
Football Academies are the best places to secure a move to a professional football club.
Academy would help you learn new ideas, skills and also improve on your game as an upcoming footballer.
Football Academies serve as a link between developing players and already established clubs.
Almost all clubs in the top tier leagues have a working academy, aimed at developing players for the first team.
Some Academies are almost free, all you need is to enrol. If you are discovered to be good, you will be selected in the end.
It is even preferable to join an Academy owned by a league club, by so doing you could easily be promoted to the senior team if your performance is at the highest level.
10. Record/ Videos of yourself
In our modern world, almost everything has gone online and football development is not an exception.
You can create social media accounts, record and upload videos of yourself.
As you upload, you tag industry insiders, football clubs, scouts and representatives who may find your Videos useful.
You may get a call from them if they are impressed with what they’ve seen from you.
This is one part that almost everybody ignores. But it is very important.
Some times it is hard for scouts to notice your ability, but if they see videos of you, they’ll be convinced at what you can offer if they eventually sign you.
11. Ensure you have complete training kits
Get used to football training kits, as you move on with your development, you will not find it difficult to train with them at professional level.
Do not compromise. Ensure you have a complete set of kits ready.
Do not comprise with your daily workouts. As an athlete, you should perform workouts almost every day to stay fit. You should balance your body system with exercises.
Workouts helps you control your weight and also reduces the risk of contracting heart disease.
Workouts also help your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels. Also, it improves your mental health and mood.
Eat the right set of food as an athlete. You should try your best to search for food that would help you stay fit as an upcoming footballer.
Eating the right food will help you a lot.
14. Join schools offering scholarship
There are Schools offering scholarships for upcoming Athlete including footballers. Always be on the lookout for schools willing to sponsor your career to the highest level.
These schools could accelerate your career to the next level. As an athlete, you may easily go for trials as scouts would give priority to these schools were upcoming players can be found.
This can easily be achieved in places like the United States where College Soccer is encouraged.
In the United States, the NCCA is in charge of this. There, you get almost direct chance to join an MLS team through Player Draft.
15. Possess basic skills
Ensure you possess basic football skills which include heading, shooting, trapping, dribbling and positioning.
If you are not good with these basic skills, you have to work on them.
One major aspect scouts watch is your ability to work with the ball having good and confidence.
Some of the reasons people fail during trials are these basic abilities. Know that it is your responsibility to learn them as you grow further.
16. Develop a passion for the game
Do not stop at playing football alone. Try to support a football club as it would help you develop more passion for the game.
Look for a club you like and support them fully. More support means more passion and the will to grow your own.
17. Sign a contract
Whenever you are presented with an opportunity to join an academy, football club or organization, do your best to sign the contract papers with them.
The contract you sign with them means you are committed to what you are doing.
18. Train with others
Consider having group training as it would help you grow in confidence. Group training will help you learn new skills, ideas and develop a new mindset about the game.
Group training are very important, it’ll help you learn new skills, patterns and techniques from others.
19. Watch video clips
There are several ways of learning new skills and concepts.
If you want to learn new skills, ideas from already established players, you should consider watching videos clips of them. You can also watch video clips of training session online without spending a dime.
A good place to start is on youtube.
You learn from other established players in the world. Youtube is the perfect place to start
Some of the top players you can learn from Cristiano Ronaldo, Erling Haaland, Andreas Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, Lionel Messi, Thiago Alcantara.
20. Learn the most basic skills
Every day as you train, try to master the basic skills of football.
The only judgements scouts would give to you is how you handle the ball. The way you position yourself, passes, shooting and observing your opponents.
These are some of the qualities which makes up a good footballer.
21. Look for an agent
You need an agent as a footballer who can easily secure and negotiate deals for you. Agents can get you to the highest places in your career.
Agents are the next option for you. However, beware of fake agents and always verify the authenticity of an agent before any agreement is made.
Always communicate with people whom you know, and may have information regarding upcoming football activities within or outside your locality.
Try to create a standard channel were people can easily reach out to you.
23. Establish contact with insiders
Whenever you attend football scouts meeting with players, camps etc. Ensure to find contacts from people you may come across.
Do not make the mistake of leaving without establishing contacts with people you find there. They may be of help to you in the future in terms of the information they may give to you.
If you can, establish contact with scouts and or club representatives, it would go a long way.
24. Travel out
Move out of your current city if you feel sporting activities taking place is not up to the level you require.
As an aspiring footballer, you need to stay close to areas where football activities do take place regularly.
25. Go for trials
Go for trials whenever they present themselves to you. Trials are a good avenue to get a club quick.
26. Knock on the door of clubs
If you can, try visiting training sessions of professional clubs within your area.
You could use this medium to advertise yourself. I believe during training sessions, coaches, personal coaches are present, you can approach them.
Another way is to write an application directly to the club’s player recruitment and development, showing your interest to join them.
You have to state the reasons you want to be in their team and what you can offer if you’re considered.
27. Go for trials Abroad
Everyday there are football trials across the world. If you can, you should look for ways to attend trials outside your country.
The best countries to start your football career
Starting your football career today is as easy as kicking a ball into the air. However, what becomes difficult is how to accelerate it to the next level.
It is very difficult for a third world country citizen who wants to play at the highest level move to a first world country without a foundation.
In continents like Africa, South America where raw talents are enormously available, it is difficult for these young talents to get noticed.
The whole football is played in Europe and some parts of Asia. So it becomes difficult.
For those who had the opportunity to step out of the ground, they often make the mistake of going for the biggest leagues, which at most times become a difficult for them to succeed due to high level of competition.
The best place to start off your career is a place with less pressure, comfort, freedom.
In this article, we at interesting Football have assembled the best places to start off your football career after series of research.
It is indeed a good thing to tell you what you need to know and what you don’t know, so you’ll have to choose what suits you.
Here are the 10 countries to start off with your football career as an upcoming football in the developmental stage.
Best Country to kick start your football career around the world
1. Germany – 2. Bundesliga, 3.Liga and Regional Leagues
The German Bundesliga has been a breeding ground for young players, this was as a result of a huge gap between Bayern Munich and the rest of the teams in the division.
Bayern’s dominance never tempted these clubs to start putting out the money for ready-made players.
Instead, the club’s dug deep into their youth system in search of players to compete at the highest level. This gradually became a tradition among the rest of the teams.
The Bundesliga age limit for players was reduced to 16 years in March 2020 in a bid to nurture young talents for the biggest stage.
If you start off in the Bundesliga, you may have the opportunity to play against Bayern Munich within the shortest possible period of time.
From the Youth system, you’ll have the chance to sit in the matchday squad for some Bundesliga games.
To secure a club in Germany, you need to start smaller teams.
- How to join a professional football club in Germany
- How to join Bayern Munich Youth Academy: trials, fees, contacts, registration
2. Spain – Lower leagues
Spain is a top destination thanks to efforts made by Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia.
These clubs export top players to other leagues.
Sprain has become a top hub for dreaming and aspiring footballers due to the system they have put in place over the years.
3. England – Football League Divisions
The English Football League system offers a wide range of opportunities for young players to showcase themselves while being monitored by big teams.
The EFL Championship is one of the most-watched football leagues in Europe.
If you start off there, playing week in week out with improved performance, you’ll get noticed and probably the big money move will come.
The English Football League includes the EFL Championship, the English League One and the English League Two.
4. Netherlands – Eredivisie, Ertse Divisie
The success of Ajax Amsterdam and teams like PSV Eindhoven has shown how far the country has gone with their football development.
5. England – Premier League Development Leagues Through Academy
Starting off in the Premier League requires you to be consistent in everything you are doing.
The Premier League is one of the best football leagues in the world and it would not be that easy to kickstart your career over there.
The only thing you can do, that is when you have registered for the Academies of big boys is consistency.
The big clubs have lots of youth setup, developing great and talented players, some of which have been able to break into the first team to command for starting a shirt.
Players like Tammy Abraham, Marcus Rashford, Phil Phoden, Scott McTominay are perfect examples.
Instead, you should consider the Premier League smaller teams with the least known players.
Clubs like Crystal Palace West Ham, Newcastle, Wolverhampton Wanderers are good places to consider if the Premier League is an option for you.
6. France – Ligue 1 or Ligue 2, Championat National
The French Ligue 1 has been able to keep up with the traditional way of using homegrown talents.
Clubs like AS Monaco, Lyon, Marseille are perfect examples.
Players like Kylian Mbappe, James Rodriguez, Eden Hazard were scouted from the league.
7. Scotland – Scottish Championship
Although not seen as a major force in Europe, the league houses a lot of young players from Celtic to Aberdeen, Rangers, etc.
These clubs usually don’t go for big players elsewhere, instead, they focus on homegrown players.
In the process, giving a lot of young players an opportunity to feature at the highest level even when they are very young.
Scotland has heavily invested in club Academies in the past.
8. Belgium – First Division B and 1Pro
Several players loaned out of their parent clubs to the Belgian First Division, end up becoming better players.
The league is open for all to succeed.
9. Austria – Bundesliga
With a small budget, the Bundesliga in Austria has proven to be a very good ground for players to thrive.
Players like Erling Haaland, Minamino are perfect examples.
10. Brazil – Serie A and State Leagues
The world’s highest exporter of raw talents, the country remains a home for young players.
11. Norwegian Eliteserien
12. Danish Superliga
13. Sweden Allsvenskan
To become a professional footballer is not an easy task, but if you follow the recommended steps, you can go a long way with it.
You should not give up, rather think of ways to improve on yourself.
You should also consider the countries mentioned above as your starting point since they appear to be more favourable for new players.