Playing football is, without a doubt, a dream job, but people rarely think about just how short a playing career can be. On average, a successful footballer plays for 8 years, and the likelihood is most players will need to think about a secondary source of employment after playing. The PFA Charity is passionate about helping players plan for the future and will help fund accredited courses for current and former players. Here, we take a look through the most popular career pathways players have taken up in the past, to help you get some ideas about how life after football could look.
Studying can be daunting when you’ve been out of the school environment for a long time. However, options such as Open University, FIFPro’s Online Academy, and part-time studying available, it’s become even more accessible for players to gain qualifications. In fact, during the 2018/2019 season, these flexible options helped to increase the number of current players applying for university bursaries by more than 70%. Sports Science, Physiotherapy, and Business Management degrees remain the most popular subjects for both current and former members. The PFA Charity even provide enhanced funding for some specialist courses.
All professional football players in the English leagues will have gained a Level 2 coaching qualification in their youth. The PFA Coaching department also runs courses to help players obtain their UEFA A, B, and Pro licences. Coaching is one of the most popular post-playing career choices and an excellent way for players to stay in the game. The PFA Charity also fund initiatives to increase diversity off the pitch, such as the BAME coaching placement programme. This programme increases representation within the industry as it provides opportunities to elite coaches who are Black, Asian, and of an ethnic minority to work alongside different age groups of the national side.
After spending years pursuing peak physical fitness, football players aren’t strangers to the gym, so it’s no surprise that applications for personal training courses are common. Working with experienced coaches, nutritionists, and performance specialists gives players a unique insight and a wealth of professional knowledge that would greatly benefit any of their prospective clients. Years of teamwork also mean players have impeccable people skills, and the scope for business opportunities in personal training makes it a great choice for investment too.
Football can be a lucrative career, and for many players managing their money becomes an essential skill. For some, this can spark a passion for finance and wealth management. In the past, players have taken AAT courses at Level 2, 3 & 4, Audit & Insurance courses, and even CIMA and Mortgage Advisor qualifications. The tenacity, focus and determination that is required to work in finance and business come naturally to footballers and that hunger for success means applications in this area are consistent year on year.
For some players, moving into a more practical career is appealing, and applications for Plumbing, Gas, Plastering, and Electrical Installation are always steady. The attention to detail necessary for skilled trades reflects the intense focus that comes with playing professional football, and there is great potential to own and build your own business and become your own boss.
The PFA Charity will support any past or present professional footballer that wants to take an accredited course in any area. If you’re thinking about your future and want to find out what options are available to you, please contact our Education department: click here