The lucrative nature of football in the UK has increased the want of many young players to consider playing football at the highest possible level, leading to a high level of brainstorming on how to make it professional.
The football business has gone beyond the way it used to be years back, making it a lot more complicated than it used to be. Although approaching the right way remains the only option despite the high level of competition.
The UK houses some of the most significant leagues, including the Premier League and the EFL Championship, the country’s second division, the most widely followed second division worldwide.
How to become a professional footballer in the UK
1. Join an already established Football Club Academy
This is the easiest part to follow if you aim to become a professional footballer in the UK within a short time.
Your best bet, in this case, is the Academy of an already established professional club in the country.
Take a closer look at Phil Foden Rashford, Jadon Sancho etc. These players started playing for the Academy of their respective clubs, became part of the youth system and eventually gained promotion to the professional side.
Today they play first-team Football and are now professional in their rights.
2. Search for an already established club and apply to join their Academy
You could be invited over for trials, or you can also visit these youth development academies during their training hours and speak directly to their handlers with an intent to join them.
How can I do this? Go to the…..
- The player recruitment department
- Enquire about how to join
- Submit your CV
- Go for trials if you are invited for one
- Pay up the necessary fees if they apply
These academies are often competitive, so it would take a particular brilliance on your part to gain entry and also to succeed in the Academy of an established club.
Before you go through the application process, please try and engage yourself.
- Regular training
- Good eating habits
- Developing yourself in a particular role
- Learning the basic rules of the game
- Preparing yourself well
Also, not at all times you should start with the biggest. Instead, go for smaller teams where pulling through is much higher.
Read: How to join Man City Academy.
The only way to develop your existing skill is to become more consistent and addicted to your game.
Consistency plays a huge role in developing your game, and it can take you higher better than your peers.
The business of football is not completely easy due to the high number of young people already trying to achieve the same goal as you are.
The only aspect that would give you a competitive edge over others is your ability to perform better, which could be actualised through consistency.
I know this is not easy, but you can still pull through by creating a mini schedule that spells out days or hours meant for your training and your day-to-day business activity.
You cannot abandon play for a month and expect to perform better when next you are invited to perform at any trial.
Consistency makes you a better player, and it is because it helps you improve your overall performance as a player.
Today, most of the best footballers in the world are successful, and this is because they were and are still consistent with their training.
4. Regular training
Ensure you engage yourself in a regular training exercise in your leisure time. Take it upon yourself as a priority by practising different skills and styles and testing your ability on the training ground.
This will surely boost your level of confidence.
Training makes you devoted and focused on your career as an upcoming footballer, and it is capable of accelerating you to the next level.
5. Go for open day trials
Open day trials are one of the best avenues for you to showcase your talent without going through the hassle of searching for clubs or applying for an Academy all by yourself.
Open day trials save you time, energy, resource and money.
During open day trials, scouts or club representatives are on standby to pick the best players at their disposal. It is also one of the best avenues established clubs utilise to recruit new players into their Academy.
Open day trials could be paid or free sessions. But it is always recommended that you sign up for premium (paid) trials where you get the best opportunity to meet some representatives.
How to do this? Search for Open day trial sessions near you or outside your locality and apply.
Pay up the necessary fees and ensure you attend whenever you are invited for the main trial sessions.
6. Learn from Professionals
Nowadays, it is even easier to learn new skills and techniques from already established players. You can do this by going through online video directories and social media by searching for videos of professionals.
Some of the best players to learn from including Xabi Alonso, Andreas Iniesta, Xavi, etc. Learn from professionals and improve yourself gradually.
7. Have something to offer
You cannot break into any team when you have nothing to offer as a player. There has to be something you can handle or add to a team.
How can you become a valuable asset they’re searching for? It is simply to become an expert in a particular role.
The football clubs in the UK are run professionally from the top flight down to the fourth and fifth divisions.
This and more have increased the need to acquire players that can add value to their team.
If you play the offensive role, stick to it and always ensure you are always working towards improving yourself as an offensive player.
Every time you train, try to learn new skills, patterns and techniques that can help you perform better whenever you are called to play.
Ensure you are well-grounded in any particular role you choose to play, as this would be the decisive factor in your bid to become a professional footballer.
8. Learn the basics of football
Today some of the reasons behind the failure of some grassroots players that have prevented them from moving higher are the failure on their part to know or learn the essential areas driving football as a sport.
As a football player, you should have in-depth knowledge of football rules, including penalties, cards, and unsportsmanlike conduct.
These are some areas that can judge your level of professionalism.
Aside from this, it helps you understand the game and enables you to develop ways to become a good player.
Football is an inclusive sport, and you need to have good knowledge to succeed in the long run.
9. Establish contact with insiders
One of the best ways to make ease up your stress in terms of securing a professional contract for yourself is by establishing contacts with insiders in any club you desire to join.
Insiders, in this case, could be coaches, trainers, players or any other close associates of the club you aspire to be part of.
How can this be achieved? Whenever you are on a trial session or training camp with other players, you should take the responsibility to establish contact with others.
Develop a relationship with handlers, trainers, and peers to be informed of the latest information regarding any selection, trials etc. This is a sure way to push your career forward without having too many problems.
10. Have a skill
Ensure you have the essential skill every footballer is expected to possess. This would be the beginning part of how scouts, coaches, or representatives will use a yardstick to judge your performance.
Try to know and understand the essential thing coaches wants from you and continue to work with that.
Always see it as a priority—Master the fundamental abilities an average footballer must possess.
This includes shot-stopping, heading, passing etc. These are the most critical areas you should fix if you must succeed in trials. You could also learn these skills from established players, coaches or through group training.
11. Regular training
You should devise a way that would help you with your training.
Train regularly. Training comes with immense and added benefits, including acquiring new ideas, skills and patterns of play.
Although this is not easy as it sounds, you should make your training the number one priority at all times.
If time is an issue, you can create a schedule that will choose between your training hours and personal work hours.
Regular training will push your level of performance higher than expected. The more you train, the more you are expected to become a better player and stand out amongst others.
12. Surround yourself with like-minded people
To attain the level of professional football takes time, from the development side up until the professional cadre.
To achieve your set objectives related to becoming a professional footballer, you must surround yourself with people having the same goal, just as you are.
Also, if you encounter anything complicated, someone out there could be on hand to help you out without having to face many problems with it.
15. Look for an agent or football talent management organisation in the UK
Another step to take is to apply to get a football agent.
This is because an agent would be in charge of searching for clubs while you continue with your personal development.
Today, established clubs contact top scouts worldwide who give top recommendations about who to sign.
If you have a football agent working for you, things will be easier. Also, aside from Agents, there’s the option of football player management organisations.
These groups or companies play similar roles as football agents.
They are also in regular contact with clubs within and outside the UK looking for players to fill their Academy.
You will be linked to the next available opportunity or clubs looking for players if you register with them.
These companies would place a high priority on you, and that includes help with your personal development, among others.
16. Be patient
Don’t be obsessed with the slow pace of your development. Instead, focus on ways to maximise the opportunity that comes your way. Do not panic and stay patient.
If you follow it the right way, getting a club becomes easier.
One of the problems young players face is not having an exceptional talent but patience on their part.
However, this can be worked on. The only requirement is for you to access yourself to know your weakness and strength.
Know the positions you can play easy and become consistent with them.
You have to continue developing yourself until you are good at it.
If you do it right, you could be on your way to an established club within a short time. Just have a short term goal and stick to it.
Work closely with others and see out it turns out for you.
Your chances of getting a club are high if you can offer what they are looking for as a club.