What happens to footballers when their careers and dreams are over?

What happens to footballers when their careers and dreams are over?

In football, when academy players or professional players are rejected and released from their clubs, the consequences on the remainder of their life can be devastating. In the game, the moment they are dropped and told they don’t have a future in football is known as “the red, misty-eyed moment in the car park.” After years of dedication players as young as 16 are told their dreams are over and they are cast adrift with little or no idea of what they can do next. Professional football clubs and soccer academies now do what they can to support young people and players through this process, but few have the skills, resources and training they need to manage this extremely challenging transition to life beyond the game. For the player or academy star, the world they know has gone and their dreams and ambitions are left in tatters. At Newleaf, we know first-hand how devastating this can be. We specialise is helping players through this transition and support them to create a new prosperous and fulfilling future. Common problems for footballers who are released Players are recruited by football clubs and academies at just nine-years-old. For the next seven years they will receive expert training and guidance to become professional players. However, at 16, more than half will be released and told they won’t go any further. At 19, when they finally get contracts with a club, just one per cent of those who started at nine will succeed. In the world of professional football, around 700 players each year in the UK are released by clubs and told their...
What can football learn from business?

What can football learn from business?

The football career pathway is tough and highly competitive. It’s also very short. The Premier League and Football League say between 60% and 65% of the 700 or so scholars taken on each year are rejected at 18. Half of those who do win a full-time contract will not be playing at a professional level by 21, according to the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA). Even successful professional footballers often retire at an age when the careers of those in business are usually just starting to take off. Former Crystal Palace midfielder Gavin Heeroo  knows only too well how quickly the outlook can change. After being released in 2004, he developed a gambling addiction. “I think there’s a lack of support [for young players],” he says. “Organisations need to be more accountable. I always strongly believed that if football didn’t work out, I could do anything I put my mind to. Other kids might not be so lucky.” Gavin conquered his betting habit with the help of the Sporting Chance clinic and now runs his own business. But what can the football industry as a whole do differently to better support players during and after their football career? By drawing parallels with other industries and their HR, recruitment, training and development and career transition practices, football clubs and academies can examine and implement best practice to provide better structures and support. 1 The recruitment process The heavily regulated recruitment industry in the UK means that the recruitment process for businesses is required to be robust and fair. Candidates are given multiple opportunities to show employers what they can do. Recruitment...

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