How to Become a Professional Soccer Player

To those hoping to become professional soccer players after college, there are a few points and words of advice I’d like to share with you. First, use your time in college soccer as a way to learn who you are as a player. Second, have a clear idea of your short- and long-term goals, including the leagues and countries you strive to play in. Last, I encourage you to MAKE IT HAPPEN. So, wanna know how to become a professional soccer player? Read on.

It Starts with College Soccer

College soccer is an important stepping stone for many young aspiring professionals. Whether you decide to play at a four-year, a two-year, or any other type of collegiate institution, these vital years show you everything you need to know about who you are as a player.

Use these years to recognize your strengths and find ways to sharpen them. Pay attention to your weaknesses, and understand, if trained properly, they can be turned into strengths. Ask your coaches where you can improve and be conscious about how you respond to their feedback. Being able to accept constructive criticism in college is a key quality to possess when heading to the Pros as those coaches will expect you to not only take their criticism but internalize it and produce the results they desire. You are also expected to learn from watching. Viewing televised games, teammates, and coaches are all ways to improve your game without direct coach-to-player involvement. Practice these tactics in college, and Pro expectations won’t be so hard to get used to.

Set Goals for Yourself

Understanding your abilities will allow you to set reasonable long-term and short-term goals for yourself. Short-term goals, including what you want to learn and accomplish in your current season, are the stepping stones to creating long-term goals. If you want to play in the NWSL after college, if you want to go abroad and play overseas, or if you have national team aspirations, short-term, every-day goals will be how you get there. Focusing on the now and on what you need to work on today will be the main reason you get to where you are in the future. If you aren’t preparing for the future you desire, it will never arrive. As the famous saying goes, “If a craftsman wants to do good work, they must first sharpen their tools.”

Make It Happen

Once you’ve sharpened your tools and have a clear understanding of your goals, the final step is to MAKE IT HAPPEN. They say the soccer world is very small. Luckily, for someone dreaming of becoming a professional soccer player, the saying is very true. Why? Networking. If you aren’t drafted, you can still get where you want to be by advocating for yourself and reaching out to contacts who can help you. Contacting old coaches, friends, and former teammates who play overseas, and even acquiring an agent can all be suitable options. Keep an up-to-date highlight video you can send out to as many prospective teams as possible. You don’t lose anything by doing this and could possibly gain everything. The greatest rewards come from taking the greatest risks. 

Playing professional soccer is a realistic goal for anyone, but your chances of doing so increase the better you understand yourself as a soccer player, the more you sharpen your tools, and the more time you spend devising goals for yourself. Once these become clear, the following step is to reach out to all those who can help you make moves in your career, whether in the NWSL or abroad. Networking might sound intimidating, but you’ll soon realize how convenient and simple it is. Trust the process, trust your abilities, and most importantly, trust your desire to go Pro.

Featured Image via Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images



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