Beyond the Field: Career Pathways for Footballers Post-Retirement

One of the biggest challenges facing professional football players who have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to the sport is the difficulty of leaving the centre stage. Despite not feeling old or tired. Yet, the question of what to do next looms. This challenge is often not due to a lack of support or resources but rather a lack of education and preparation, as many players do not have an educational background that would allow them to transition into a different job or occupation.

Fortunately, there are jobs into which footballers can easily transition once they retire that do not require much of a formal education or degree to excel necessarily; here are 5 of several top jobs retired footballers can easily transition into.

The first of these is Punditry. Many footballers have successfully transitioned into sports commentary, working for some of the most extensive sports networks, such as BBC, ESPN, and more. Punditry allows players to remain involved in the game they love, and the passion they bring to it is similar to what they experienced on the field. Notable players like Micah Richards, Thierry Henry, and Jamie Carragher, to mention a few, have all found success in the world of Punditry as much as they did while playing the game.

Thierry Henry, Jamie Carragher and a couple of other footballers that have made the jump from football to punditry

Coaching is another popular career path for retired footballers. Coaching is a popular career choice for retired players as they understand the game from their experience with different coaches at both club and international levels. Some players even obtain coaching badges before retirement, allowing them to work with youth teams while actively playing. Former footballer Fernando Torres is a prime example of a player who successfully transitioned to coaching while still playing active football. Coaching roles provide an environment, network, and mode of operation similar to playing football. It is a natural fit for players; many have succeeded in this career path. Xabi Alonso is a recent example of a retired player who has become a successful coach

Xabi Alonso as a coach at Bayer Leverkusen

Retired footballers often find it easy to transition into the entertainment industry, which includes filmmaking, music, cinematography, and acting. Some have even become successful movie stars, such as Eric Cantona, who became a singer. David Beckham is also known for his numerous movie appearances. Footballers have an advantage in becoming actors due to their exposure to media and camaraderie while playing. Some have also had experience filming commercials for brands like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Hyundai, which prepare them for a life in front of the camera. Unsurprisingly, the film industry wants to capitalize on their global fame and popularity among fans. Even Jesse Lingard has expressed interest in acting after he retires from the game.

Popular Actor, David Backham featuring in the popular King Arthur movie

Podcasts have become a popular business venture for retired footballers, as they can monetize their brand and continue to engage with their existing followership. Peter Crouch is one of the ex-players whose podcast has gained popularity among football fans, as he discusses life after the game and offers inside details of what happened during his career. Similarly, Mikel Obi’s podcast has attracted a host of players like John Terry, Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard and football favourite Jose Mourinho, making it a must-listen for football enthusiasts.

John Mikel Obi on his Obi One Podcast

The appeal of podcasts for footballers lies in their ease of setup and maintenance and their potential for digital marketing revenue. Unlike Punditry, podcasts are a sole proprietorship and a viable business opportunity for players who want to invest in a new venture. With no formal education required, footballers can quickly excel in this space. Moreover, podcasts offer a way for retired players to escape the noise and glamour of coaching while remaining connected to the industry. It provides a means of survival for footballers, as they can sustain their lifestyle long after retirement. Podcasts are a lucrative and accessible way for ex-footballers to continue their legacy and share their experiences with fans.

Although Entrepreneurship is widely viewed by those who are not entrepreneurs as an easy career choice, it is a challenging job that requires resilience and hard work. However, many footballers have successfully transitioned into entrepreneurship after retiring from the game because the skill set necessary for entrepreneurship is similar to that of a successful athlete. Most footballers have developed a strong work ethic and understand the importance of hard work. In addition, many have accumulated significant wealth during their playing career and can take risks with their finances.

Some footballers have started their businesses or invested in existing ones after retiring from the sport. One notable example is Flamini, who has successfully invested in the biochemical and industrial fields. Others have diversified their income while still playing football by investing in different types of businesses. Sometimes, their spouses or partners manage the businesses for them, allowing them to focus on their football careers.

Lukas Podolski is the latest to have made the football to entrepreneurship transition with his $180m kebab enterprise

Many retired footballers have ventured into different businesses, such as fashion merchandise, hotels and hospitality, fast-food restaurants, etc. Overall, footballers’ success in entrepreneurship can be due to their work ethic, financial resources, and willingness to take risks.

In conclusion, the transition from a career in professional football to retirement can be a daunting challenge for many athletes, especially considering the lack of formal education and preparation for alternative professions. However, there are several viable career paths that retired footballers can explore, leveraging their unique skills and experiences gained on the field.

From punditry to coaching, entertainment, podcasting, and entrepreneurship, there are diverse opportunities available for former football stars to continue their professional journey. These pathways not only allow them to stay connected to the sport they love but also provide avenues for personal growth, financial stability, and continued engagement with fans and followers.

While each career path presents its own set of challenges and opportunities, retired footballers possess valuable traits such as resilience, work ethic, and a deep understanding of teamwork and strategy, which can contribute to their success in various fields beyond the pitch.

Ultimately, the transition from professional football to retirement can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience for players who embrace new opportunities and remain open to exploring different paths. With the right mindset, support, and determination, retired footballers can embark on exciting new chapters in their lives, leaving a lasting impact both on and off the field.

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