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What is a Footballer? The School Leaver Guide


What is a Footballer?

Becoming a professional footballer is a dream job for many young people but the level of hard work and dedication that the profession requires is intense. Premier League footballers join academies from very young ages and entry to that standard of football is hugely, hugely competitive.

However, scratch below the surface and there are alternative routes into professional football. Former Premier League footballer, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, found his way into full time professional football in an unusual way. Originally working as a roofer, he was spotted during a labourer’s charity match and given a contract at non-league club Norwich Victoria. That was his first stepping stone on a journey that culminated in playing in televised Premier League games.

What does a Footballer do?

Footballers have to:

  • Maintain high levels of physical fitness

  • Gain a tactical understanding of the sport

  • Train regularly

  • Follow instructions of managers and coaches

  • Travel to away matches

  • Play matches home and away

  • Play international matches if selected by a national manager

  • Attend club events

  • Take advice from nutritionists and physiotherapists

Skills & interests required for a Footballer

  • Technical ability

  • Work ethic

  • Physical fitness

  • Coordination

  • Tactical understanding

  • Reliability

  • Good under pressure

Working hours

This varies from club to club and league to league. Players in some leagues and countries are part time. Higher division clubs typically demand more hours from their players, however this can depend on the management techniques of the club’s manager.

Work base

Football training grounds and football stadiums, as well as gyms and fitness centres.


Travelling to away matches is an important part of competitive football. Some players may travel nationally and high level players will even travel internationally.

Salary ranges & earning potential

This depends completely on the level of your club. Playing non-league football as a part-time footballer could see you paid a small amount per game, whereas top international footballers might receive as much as £250,000 a week, or even more!

Perks & benefits

Being an elite level footballer means television exposure and fame, but that does not apply to a large percentage of professional football players, though they may still be local stars!

Getting to play a sport that you love for a living is a massive perk though if you can reach the skill level necessary.

Education requirements

Requirements are more physical and skill-based than educational but there are opportunities to study football and football coaching. Otherwise studies in physical education would complement a career in football.

Useful subjects to study at school

  • Physical Education

  • Nutrition