Alternative titles for this job include Football player, professional football player

Footballers play for their club in league and cup competitions, and represent their national team if they're picked.

Average salary (a year)


Typical hours (a week)

44 to 46 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become a footballer

You could get into this job through:

  • doing an apprenticeship
  • working your way up
  • being spotted by a scout


You may be able to start by doing an advanced apprenticeship in sporting excellence (AASE).

Apprenticeship training providers set their own entry requirements.

Once you've completed your apprenticeship, your club will decide whether or not to offer you a professional contract.

More information


You may be able to join a club's academy programme if you show the potential to develop to a high level. Academies will usually hold trials and have scouts watching youth players of all ages.

From the age of 9 you're eligible to join an academy run by a league club. If you're under 12, you must live within an hour's travelling distance. If you're aged between 13 and 16, you must be able to travel within 90 minutes.

If an academy takes you on, they'll ask you to sign forms which may be renewed every 1 to 2 years.

At age 16, the club will decide whether to put you on its Youth Training Scheme. You'll be expected to continue with your education at the same.

You could be on this scheme for up to 3 years. If you're making progress, you could be put in the reserves or under-23s team.

At age 19 you may be offered a contract to play for the club, or you may be released into a central pool for other clubs to make you an offer. These may be lower league clubs to the one you've trained with.

Other routes

You may be spotted by a club's scouts while playing non-league or semi-professional level, and asked to attend a trial. You'll need exceptional talent to join a club in this way.

As well as technical skills, scouts will be looking for the right attitude, tactical knowledge and willingness to work hard for your team-mates.

More information

Further information

You'll find more details about working in professional football through The FA and the Professional Footballers' Association.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • persistence and determination
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day activities may include:

  • training hard to improve your skills and fitness
  • discussing tactics and mental attitudes
  • watching videos of matches to analyse your strengths and weaknesses
  • getting fitness advice from physiotherapists and coaches
  • taking advice from nutritionists about general diet and match-day food
  • playing matches against teams in your league

Working environment

You could work on a sports field or at a sports arena.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, physically demanding and travelling often and spending nights away from home.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

You could progress by transferring to a club higher up in the football leagues.

You could move into related careers like coaching, fitness instruction, refereeing, management, sports development or journalism.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a footballer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Football Academy

  • Provider: Ortu Sixth Form Centre - Stanford & Corringham
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: Stanford-le-Hope

Soccer Elite Football Academy

  • Provider: The Maplesden Noakes School
  • Start date: 03 September 2019
  • Location: MAIDSTONE

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