8 Tips to become a Professional Soccer Player?

If you have a passion for soccer and want to make a career, you may wonder how professional soccer players do it. The path to becoming a professional soccer player is not guaranteed. There are tips that you can follow to improve your chances of success.

Getting started as a professional soccer player can be daunting. All professional soccer players started somewhere. With hard work, effort, commitment, and dedication, anyone can achieve their dreams.

Professional soccer players frequently suggest the following tips to become professional players.

  • Start playing at a young age
  • Practice deliberately
  • Join a club or a team
  • Get into a talent ID program
  • Play at a high level
  • Build your confidence
  • Learn to navigate adversity
  • Be willing to keep learning

Professional Soccer Player’s Tips

Start Playing Soccer at a Young Age

The earlier you start playing soccer, the better. This will give you more time to develop your skills and improve your technique. Playing at a young age helps players to learn movement patterns that will coordinate and balance the body movements required to play the game.

Ball mastery should be the main emphasis when starting at a young age. I would encourage players to work on the core skills needed to play the game. Receiving skills, dribbling, passing, turning, and running with the ball are great places to start. I would encourage players to practice these core skills with both feet. Once they can perform then consistently, adding pressure would be the next step.

Playing, having fun, and loving the game are vital to the success of young players. The road to professional soccer is long. Passion and love of what they do will increase the chance of success.

I wrote an article on practicing from home. This shows some video content of the types of skills to master. I have also included some drills for coaches to use with their players.

Practice Deliberately

Professional soccer players always say that they spend hours practicing. Repetition of skills performed correctly will improve a player’s ball skills. Players who practice deliberately will learn how to use a skill until it becomes second nature.

Players must be aware of what they want to develop when they practice. Being aware that you are trying to improve your shooting, passing, or dribbling is important. This way you will notice when you do things well or when you need to amend your technique. Each time you attend a practice try to have a skill or technique that you want to focus on.

Coaches should also be aware of the skills players are trying to improve. This way they can help them by providing tips that will improve success or efficiency. Dedicated players are creative they find different ways to practice. Coaches should feedback to players on what they see and help the player understand the timing, when, and why behind the skills they use.

There are many different ways a player can practice. They can work independently, with friends, with their teams, in small groups, 1 to 1 with a coach. Each provides a slightly different challenge. I would encourage players to try to experience as many methods as they can.

Join a Team

Players should join a team that is suited to their ability level. Look for a team who has a good coach with a philosophy geared toward player development. The team you join should challenge your ability, it should push you to improve your technical and tactical understanding of the game.

Playing for a team is a great way to get exposure to higher levels of competition. The competition will challenge players and motivate them to put in more effort, improve an aspect of play or develop a winning mindset. Winning is not everything but all professional soccer players have a winning mindset. The regular competition will help to push players towards playing at match tempo more often.

Joining a team is brilliant for social development. It will help players to develop relationships with coaches and other players who can help them further their careers. Interventions such as group discussions, peer feedback, or Q/As are great for social development. Friendships are also another great reason to join a team. You will find friends who have like-minded aspirations and they will support you on your journey.

I have written some parent guides that contain useful information about soccer teams.

Get Noticed by Talent Scouts

Soccer camps, playing in tournaments, and participating in affiliated games programs for your team, schools, and colleges will attract Talent ID scouts. This will allow you to showcase your talents. You shouldn’t need scouts to be watching to motivate you to try or work harder. This should be something you do regardless of who is watching.

As a general rule of thumb, players stand out when they do simple things well, show constant effort, and commitment, and demonstrate winning behaviors in terms of attitude and application. Players have to have excellent technical skills to deal with the ball under pressure. Consistency is also important. Most talent scouts will come and watch a player more than once. Demonstrating the skills and abilities outlined above are important for them to see.

I wrote an article on this site that outlines some hints, tips, and guidance to standout during soccer tryouts

Play at the Highest Level Possible

Playing at a higher level is essential for players wishing to become professional soccer players. This doesn’t happen overnight, a player may need to move through different talent systems. Players should get out of their comfort zones and try to put themselves into environments where better players than themselves practice. This could mean changing clubs, attending talent centers, and signing up for tryouts for higher-level teams.

Practicing with players who are just as talented as themselves will give the player a level to chase. The saying if you are the brightest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room rings true for soccer. If you are the best player by far in an environment then you need to change it so you can continue to learn and improve.

This does not mean leaving a team every time you think you are the best player. It could be as simple as training up and playing up an age group for a period of time. It could be attending a talent center for a district or college. Being invited to an academy by talent scouts is a good sign that you are ready to play at a higher level.

I have written an article on what scouts are looking for in players and linked it below.

Build Your Confidence

Confidence is linked to practice. The more experience you have in something, the more you know what you need to do for things to go well. Confident players are also aware of things they need to avoid so things do not go wrong.

It’s totally natural to want to stay in your comfort zone where you carry on doing things well. It’s only by getting out of their comfort zone that players can develop and learn new skills. Every player finds things difficult the first time they do something but you have to keep trying. Great players only become great because they keep trying.

Confidence is a by-product of the experience. Players can only get experience by putting themselves regularly into new situations that help them to learn the game. New situations will mean you are out of your comfort zone. If a training drill or practice takes you out of your comfort zone it might be good to stay there for a while until uncomfortable becomes comfortable.

How to boost confidence

To boost confidence choose your definition of success as trying your best no matter what. When you trust yourself to try your best your performance will naturally improve. Be clear in your own head about what trying your best looks like then use this when things are not going well. Focus on your strengths, learn about the weaknesses of opponents and work hard in every moment of the game.

Building belief is important by focusing on things you do well as opposed to worrying about things that went wrong. Remembering things you have achieved things you are proud of and the skills you have can help you to build belief. Write these things down and read them before you play to remind you.

Finally see confidence as behavior as opposed to a feeling. Focus on the behaviors you need to demonstrate to be confident as opposed to how you need to feel. when you are confident what are you doing? what will others see when you are confident, what would you be saying to yourself?

When you are not feeling confident do the responses to the questions I have just posed.

Navigate Adversity

Adversity is something that all professional soccer players must navigate. Young players must remember that professionals make mistakes every day. The game of soccer depends on mistakes to make it exciting, if no player made mistakes every game would end 0-0. When teams score a goal it is usually because an opponent has made a mistake.

Players have made thousands of mistakes from parks to playgrounds to academies and professional soccer arenas. As a coach watching players, I see hundreds of mistakes every session. They are part of the game. They help to make it unpredictable and hard to predict what will happen. The key to adversity is to try different things.

It is important to remember that you cant do the same thing over and over if you get stuck or you have a problem. Players should always try to have multiple approaches to a situation. There is always more than one solution to a potential problem. Professional soccer players have practiced that much they are aware of multiple solutions to the problems the game poses for them.

More Than One Solution

The job of the coach is to help the player see that there is more than one solution to a problem. The coach might even provide players with a few solutions to help them. Even when solutions are provided success is not always guaranteed. Remember that you don’t always need to win in order to progress.

Mistakes will happen, and the best players can put them out of their minds quickly. They learn to move on fast because once something is in the past you cannot change it. Players must learn from their setbacks so they are ready next time they come around.

There will be times when you are desperate for success, but if you fail, this is ok. If you give your all whenever you can, you might surprise yourself with the possibilities and problems you will be able to get through.

Tips for Managing Adversity

  • Search for solutions. There is always more than one way to do things. Try different ways and use coaches to help you find solutions to game problems.
  • Give 100% no matter what. This means after every practice, game, win, lose or draw you know do the best you can for yourself, your teammates, and your coaches.
  • Mistakes can be a good thing. Here are three reasons why, a chance to grow, learning, and proof that you pushed yourself. Remind yourself of this when you fail. Being out of your comfort zone is important for your success.
  • Celebrate your mistakes. Think about mistakes and the things they teach you. How are you better as a result of mistakes? If you gave your all but still did not achieve it, keep focussing on making your best better.

I have written an article on improving mental toughness. Additional hints and tips can be found here.

Be Willing to Keep Learning

Learning is about exploring. If you want to be a professional footballer you need to be willing to keep listening and learning from yourself and others. This will help to move you along on your journey. When something new comes along, give it a chance, try to learn more about it, then take the bits from it that will improve you.

It’s easier to learn in environments where you are happy so keep seeking experiences from the game where learning takes place in environments that you enjoy. Learning teaches you many life skills such as patience, possibilities, and perseverance. These are important qualities and all professional soccer players have explored these throughout their careers.

It’s important to know that learning isn’t about a beginning or an end. Learning is a way to give you a head start and to give you the best possible chance of success. The hints, tips, advice, and guidance help to prepare you. They quicken up the learning process to push you ahead. Application of knowledge is important. The best players take what they need from their environments and then apply it to help themselves.

Be Patient

There will be times when you want things to move quicker. Patience is important here as long as you are improving and making progress on your journey. What also matters is the enjoyment the journey brings. Use the saying ‘NOTHING CHANGES, IF NOTHING CHANGES’. You can’t just say you want to be a professional soccer player and then not practice. To get success players must change their habits to get the changes they want.

When you are trying to learn a new skill, it is important that you don’t stop. You can have days off or have breaks when you are tired but if you want to learn you have to keep going. Sticking at something or persevering means that you are giving yourself the best chance of success. Chase your dreams with everything you have and you might just break into that top 1%.

Find below a link to an article on developing a winning mentality

In Summary

The article has provided 8 tips to support players on their journey to becoming professional soccer players. There is no guarantee of success but the important thing is to take note of the hints, tips, and ideas provided. Professional soccer is a tough business to get into. It will take years of practice, determination, and dedication. Players must be really sure that’s what they want and push themselves to keep improving.

Your dream is your dream. the rise to the top is more like a rollercoaster than a straight line. Expect lots of ups and downs. Take pride in the journey. The difficult times often lead to the greatest destinations. Players are never the finished article they can always seek to improve. If you do not have the skills or ability to do something remember to keep working hard and keep getting better at things.

Success is not always guaranteed but growth and self-development are. Always keep in mind that the road to the top is a journey. You must keep moving forward and believe in yourself. Surround yourself with good people who can help you. Success leaves clues, and this article has provided 8 tips to help you. There are no limits to what you can achieve as long as you keep growing.

If you are interested in becoming a coach or learning more about how the minds of coaches work. I have linked some articles below to another site where I write articles for. Each article will open in a new window

Frequent Questions

What age is too late to start soccer?

23, It is, typically too late to become a professional player if you’re older than 23 because soccer is a sport that demands one to go through many stages.

What are the chances of becoming a professional soccer player?

Even if you follow all the rules and are talented enough to win a prestigious full-ride scholarship to college, just 1.7 percent of collegiate soccer players in the United States go on to play professionally. The percentage of high school athletes who play professionally is 0.08 %.

What are the chances of becoming a professional soccer player in the UK?

What the Data Indicates If you want to play professional football in the UK, the statistics aren’t likely to give you much hope. Less than 1% of all kids who start playing in academies at age nine will go on to play professionally at any level of the game. In the UK, just 180 of the 1.5 million young football players are likely to make it all the way to the Premier League.