Many of us have, at some point in our lives, dreamt of becoming a professional footballer. The thrill of playing weekly in world-renowned stadiums, competing with the sport’s icons, and being a daily feature on television is undoubtedly enticing. However, this dream requires an extraordinary amount of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication, making it a challenging goal to attain.
If you’ve ever found yourself asking «How to Become a Footballer,» it’s important to know that the journey to becoming a professional footballer involves commitment, discipline, and a serious love for the game.
This comprehensive guide is aimed at giving you insights into the journey towards becoming a professional footballer. We’ll explore the steps required to ascend to the elite level, help you understand whether football is the right path for you, and introduce you to the optimal environments where you can hone your skills and realize your full potential.
Essential Attributes to become a profesional football player
Aspiring to become a professional footballer necessitates the fulfilment of a set of indispensable attributes. These encompass football-related skills, technical football skills and personal qualities that have been found common among all elite footballers.
The quest on «How to Become a Footballer» is not just about physical prowess or mastering the basic rules of the game. Instead, it requires a unique blend of skills, both tangible and intangible, that contribute to a player’s overall performance on the pitch. Let’s take a closer look at these football-related skills.
Professional footballers exhibit a set of core football skills that are crucial to their success on the pitch.
- Adaptability: This is one of the most essential skills a footballer can possess. As players progress from novice to professional, they will encounter various levels of play, each presenting unique challenges and requiring different skillsets. For instance, a player might transition from being the star of a local team to a newcomer in a more competitive team. This shift requires the player to adapt quickly, learning to work with new teammates, under new coaches, and in unfamiliar playing conditions. Adaptability also encompasses the ability to play in different positions as required, understanding the tactical changes in the game, and adjusting to different playing styles and strategies.
- Discipline: Discipline is the cornerstone of a successful footballer’s career. It’s reflected not only in adhering to rigorous training schedules, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and showing commitment to continual improvement but also in behavior during matches. A disciplined player respects the rules of the game, follows the coach’s instructions, and strives for fair play.
- Mental Fortitude: Professional football isn’t just a physical game; it’s a mental one as well. Players often face immense pressure, whether it’s playing in front of a large audience, dealing with the expectation of scoring a crucial goal, or bouncing back from a mistake. Mental fortitude allows players to stay calm and composed under pressure, maintain focus during the game, and exhibit resilience in the face of adversity.
- Respect: Respect is a fundamental value in the world of football. This extends to all individuals involved in the game – teammates, coaches, opponents, and referees. A player who shows respect understands that while competition is fierce, there is a shared love for the game that binds everyone together. Respectful players are not just preferred for their attitude but are also seen as role models in the sport.
Personal attributes, though sometimes not directly related to the game itself, play a critical role in the journey of becoming a professional footballer.
- Adaptability: As mentioned before, footballers often need to uproot themselves from familiar surroundings to pursue their dreams. This could mean moving to a different city, country, or even continent. The ability to adapt to new cultures, languages, climates, and styles of football is crucial. It’s not just about being comfortable on the pitch, but also off it. Players need to be able to navigate and thrive in these new environments while maintaining their focus on football.
- Sacrifice: The pursuit of a professional football career involves significant sacrifices. This often means leaving behind family, friends, and familiar comforts to devote oneself entirely to the sport. The ability to make these sacrifices and stay committed to the goal shows a player’s dedication and passion, traits highly valued in the professional world.
- Resilience: The path to becoming a professional footballer is not always smooth. There will be setbacks, injuries, periods of poor form, and times when the player is far away from their support network. The ability to bounce back from these challenges, to stay mentally strong and keep pushing forward, is a key attribute of successful footballers.
- Independence: Professional footballers spend a significant amount of time away from home, often from a young age when they join academies. This requires a level of independence and self-reliance. They need to manage their time, nutrition, rest, and recovery, all while handling the pressures of training and competition.
- Teamwork: While this can also be considered a football-related skill, the ability to work within a team goes beyond the pitch. Living and training with a group of people, often from diverse backgrounds, requires an understanding of group dynamics, empathy, and effective communication. Players need to build strong relationships with their teammates, which often translates into better performance during matches.
- Professionalism: This attribute covers a range of behaviors. It includes respecting coaches, teammates, opponents, and referees, as mentioned before. But it also extends to how players conduct themselves off the pitch. This includes interactions with fans, media, and sponsors, adherence to team rules and protocols, and maintaining a positive public image.
Technical Football skills
Of course, possessing technical football skills is fundamental to becoming a professional footballer
Football is a game of skill, precision, and strategy. To excel and become a professional, you need to develop a strong set of technical skills. These aren’t just about kicking the ball, but understanding the game, making smart decisions, and consistently improving. Let’s explore some of the key technical skills that you’ll need on your journey to becoming a professional footballer:
- Ball Control: The ability to manipulate the ball using various body parts (most commonly feet, chest, and head) to retain possession, change direction, or prepare for a pass, shot, or dribble. It requires exceptional touch and an understanding of the ball’s behavior upon contact.
- Dribbling: In football, dribbling is the act of propelling the ball forward using repeated touches. It requires excellent ball control, footwork, and spatial awareness to evade opponents while keeping the ball within one’s reach.
- Passing: The act of transferring the ball from one player to another. It can be done in many ways (e.g., ground pass, lofted pass, through ball) and requires precision, timing, and understanding of teammates’ movements and game dynamics.
- Shooting: The attempt to score goals by striking the ball towards the target (usually the opponent’s goal). Shooting involves a combination of power, precision, and composure. Different scenarios require different techniques, such as volleys, chips, or curled shots.
- Defending: Involves actions taken to prevent opponents from creating scoring opportunities. It encompasses a range of skills, including tackling (dispossessing the player from the ball), intercepting (preventing the ball from reaching its target), and positioning (blocking the path towards goal or forcing the opponent into less threatening areas).
- Heading: This is the technique of using one’s head to interact with the ball. It can be applied defensively (to clear the ball from danger zones) or offensively (to direct the ball towards the goal). Mastery of heading requires excellent timing, positioning, and neck strength.
- Tactical Understanding: The cognitive understanding of football’s strategic elements. It involves recognizing formations, understanding positional roles, interpreting the coach’s game plan, and making real-time decisions based on game flow and opponents’ tactics. It requires observation, experience, and a deep understanding of football.
Joining a High-Performance Football Academy
One of the most effective ways to become a professional footballer is by enrolling in a high-performance football academy. These academies are structured environments designed to provide comprehensive training in tactics, techniques, and the latest methodologies in football. They offer top-notch facilities that provide a conducive environment for living, competing, and training at the highest level.
Residing at a Football Academy
Some high-performance football academies, like Valetics Academy , offer residential facilities for our students. These kind of academies provide a unique experience for the students by immersing them in a football-centric environment. Having accommodation within the academy premises allows students to live and breathe football, enhancing their overall development.
The residential facilities typically comprise numerous rooms situated near the football pitch, providing each student with their own personal space for rest and leisure activities.
Experiencing High-Performance Football Training
High-performance football academies offer rigorous training regimens designed to optimize player performance. For instance, the our academy conducts training sessions daily, individual and group sessions, to maximize player performance. These training sessions are supplemented with physiotherapy sessions to enhance physical conditioning.
To monitor the development, players also undergo regular nutritional and physical evaluations. Furthermore, the academy organizes friendly matches against reputable teams like Levante, providing valuable real-match experience.
The journey to becoming a professional footballer is indeed challenging, but with the right guidance and facilities, it is certainly achievable. By developing the necessary football-related skills, honing personal attributes, and joining a high-performance football academy, aspiring footballers can make significant strides towards realizing their dream of becoming a professional footballer.