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Mind the Gap: Take control of your next career

30 October 2019
Whether you’re 16 or 36, it’s never too early think about the day you call time on your career as a professional footballer.That way, you’ll be much better positioned to bridge that gap between your playing days and the rest of your life.

Here's some advice from Giorgio Chiellini.

“I studied when I was away with the team. It helped to take away the tension.”

— by Giorgio Chiellini, Juventus defender & university graduate

To be sure, to study while being a professional football player can be a challenge.

To perform at your best, you have to fit so much of your life around training and competition schedules. And you never know when you’ll have to drop everything to go to another city or country to secure a contract.

But with determination and organization it can be done.

For instance, many universities and college offer the possibility of online courses that make it easier to fit study around your playing commitments.

“Start planning, start thinking about what you want to do and go for it”

— by Rob Hulse, former West Bromwich Albion player and physiotherapist

Studying is likely to boost your playing performance

There is academic evidence that studying-while-playing will pay off earlier than you ever expected.

Research by Professsor David Lavallee at Abertay University, Scotland shows that players involved in post-sports planning are more likely to be selected for matches and enjoy a longer career.

His report states: “Many athletes experience feelings of loss following retirement from sport. Athletes who are effectively supported in preparing for this loss can realize a potential competitive advantage in their sport.”

To put it simply, studying is likely to extend your playing career.

Download Professor David Lavallee's report engagement-in-sport-career-transition-planning-enhances-performance-eng.pdf, 938 KB

Watch the video below to find out more.

We’re here to help

FIFPRO and our affiliated player associations are here to help provide that support you need.

Our network of unions have developed:

  • Partnerships with universities offering discounted courses

  • A network of companies offering work experience and jobs to players

  • Advice on writing CVs and job applications

  • Personal guidance to guide you towards your next career

“My union was a great help in making me explore. Gradually I figured out I wanted to be a teacher.”

— by Thomas Kortegaard, AC Horsens player, Denmark

Mind the Gap: Player Development Managers

Thanks to our Mind the Gap campaign with the European Union’s Erasmus+ program, Player Development Managers are working at five more national player associations.

In Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland and Sweden, these PDMs are working to support players, with psychological, academic and financial advice.

Do you want to know more about this topic?