How To Become a Professional Soccer Player (Plus Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you have a passion for soccer, consider becoming a professional soccer player. While it may be challenging to pursue this career, securing a job makes it even more rewarding. Learning more about how to become a professional soccer player can help you make a more informed career decision. In this article, we explain what a professional soccer player is and does, discuss how to become a professional soccer player, review the position's salary and job outlook and answer some common questions about the role.

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What is a professional soccer player?

A professional soccer player is an athlete who plays soccer for a living. They undergo physical training, practice with their team and compete professionally during certain months out of the year. Typically, these athletes play for a club or a team to earn the classification of a professional soccer player.

Related: 12 Careers in the Soccer Industry

What does a professional soccer player do?

While professional soccer players compete during the soccer season, they also have many other duties. Here are the common duties for a professional soccer player:

  • Complete physical training

  • Attend scheduled soccer practices

  • Discuss strategies for competitive games

  • Participate in exhibition matches

  • Visit opposing teams

  • Fulfill press obligations

How to become a professional soccer player

To pursue a career as a professional soccer player, it's important to have a passion for the sport, have the skills to play the sport well and know how to portray this in front of a talent scout. Use these steps to become a professional soccer player:

1. Grow your passion for the sport

Before pursuing a career as a professional soccer player, make sure you love the game. Having a passion for the sport can help you through challenging moments you may face. It can also encourage you to succeed and help you work harder toward achieving your dreams and athletic career goals.

2. Learn the sport

Spend time learning about soccer so you're better prepared for this career. Consider reading books, watching soccer matches on TV and, if possible, conversing with other soccer players. While the reading and watching games can help you learn new techniques, the latter can give you added insight and help you determine whether you want to pursue this career. Doing this also helps you grow your knowledge of the sport and can help you feel more prepared for this career.

3. Train and practice regularly

Improve your soccer skills by training every day if possible. Training regularly may improve your physical and mental health. It can also help you learn new techniques and help you impress future scouts. Consider attending training camps as soon as you can. Some clubs or associates offer training camps and summer camps you may join. Getting involved in organized games or clubs can also help you grow as an athlete.

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4. Use a club's resources

If you're a part of a club, take part in any of its trials, talent days and tryouts. Participating in these events can help you meet more people with the same career goals. This gives you a way to grow your network and follow up on leads for new opportunities. You can also ask if your club brings talent scouts so you can prepare for their visits.

5. Prepare to meet with talent scouts

Before meeting with a talent scout, consider your ability to play and your attitude overall. Have a strong sense of team spirit, help your teammates and show your passion for the sport. It's also important to remain calm and show your strengths as a soccer player when you're out on the field. This particularly helps if a talent scout attends a match.

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Salary and job outlook for professional soccer players

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't report salary or job outlook data for professional soccer playera, it has data for athletes and sports competitors in general. According to the BLS, athletes and sports competitors make a median annual wage of $50,850. Keep in mind that a career as a professional soccer player may vary based on your team, your unique deal and your experience level.

The BLS also states that these professions can expect an employment growth of 38% from 2020 to 2030. This rate comes much faster than the average for other jobs in the workforce. The BLS expects about 3,400 job openings each year from 2020 to 2030 for these roles. This employment growth may come from population growth and a growing interest in professional sports. In addition, some sports leagues may enter new cities, allowing for a greater number of teams and job openings for professional athletes.

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Frequently asked questions about professional soccer players

Here are some common questions and answers about soccer players:

What is the work schedule like for a professional soccer player?

A professional soccer player typically works an irregular schedule since they work during the competitive season. During this time, they typically work over 40 hours each week for several months. Throughout their schedule, they train, practice, travel to various locations and participate in competitive soccer matches.

What is the work environment like for a professional soccer player?

Professional soccer players spend most of their time out on a soccer field, whether for practice or for a soccer match. While they travel to different locations for games, they spend most of their time on the field. Since they play a competitive sport for a living, they often face stressful situations with a lot of pressure. Despite this, they compete alongside their teammates, who offer support and encouragement.

What are the common skills for a professional soccer player?

Here are the common skills for professional soccer players:

  • Soccer abilities: Professional soccer players use this skill to play the sport well. To win games, it's important for them to know how to kick the ball around, pass the ball to their teammates and how to score a goal.

  • Passion: As with all jobs, it's important for professional soccer players to feel dedicated to the work they do. This can help them succeed on the field.

  • Communication: This skill helps professional soccer players effectively work, strategize and interact with their teammates both on and off the field. Communication skills also help them understand commands from their coaches.

  • Game intelligence: As a professional soccer player, it's crucial to fully understand the game of soccer. This includes having tactical expertise and a strong assessment of risk.

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