If your child is a youth elite soccer player, you might be wondering how to help your child become a professional soccer player and accomplish their dreams on the soccer field.
Children with such passion are certainly special, but their parents often feel an immense amount of pressure while supporting their children to chase their dreams.
Many parents of talented children simply don’t know much about the process of becoming professional soccer players. Other parents are afraid that if their child is too focused on their professional soccer career, they’ll forget about the importance of their education.
This article discusses the process to help your child become a professional soccer player and also discusses the BEST OPTION for children to continue their studies while participating in elite soccer training.
HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD BECOME A PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER
You’ll find the basic steps to help your child become a professional soccer player below. Continue reading for more information and advice about each step to help your child become a professional soccer player.
- Educate yourself about the path to becoming a professional soccer player
- Send your child to summer camps in their home country and abroad (ages 5-12)
- As adolescence approaches, don’t compromise their education for soccer training
- Consider sending your child to a high performance academy in the USA
- Consider sending your child to a high performance academy in Europe
- Decide between Europe or the USA
Educate yourself about the process to eventually playing professionally
The paths to become a professional soccer player differ around the world. There’s a great difference in the journey of a professional player in Europe and in the USA for example. By educating yourself about the journey of professional soccer players around the world, you’ll get a better idea of what kinds of elite soccer training your child should be participating in at various stages and ages of their life. Therefore, educating yourself about the process is step one.
Compare the basic paths of professional soccer players in both the USA and Europe below:
Youth elite soccer player path to playing professionally – USA
Ages 5 – 9: Join local travel teams with good coaches and good connections.
Ages 9 – 12: Join your first USSDA team and work hard to become one of the best in your region. Attend soccer camps abroad to broaden your knowledge of the game.
Ages 12 – 17: Join the FC Barcelona High Performance Soccer Academy in Arizona USA for 1 – 4 years.
Ages 15 – 18: Connect to college coaches and join college try-outs and trials to gain recognition. Consider training at a High Performance Soccer Academy in Europe for 1 – 4 years to broaden your knowledge of the game.
Ages 18 – 21: Play at a Division I university with coaches who know how to get into the MLS and have a history of producing professional players. Prepare to be invited to the MLS Combine (make connections with college coaches and MLS coaches). Or prepare to be signed by Generation Adidas to play professionally early and then eventually attend the MLS Superdraft.
Ages 21 – 22 (perhaps earlier): Attend the MLS Superdraft and get selected to play professionally.
Youth elite soccer player path to playing professionally – Europe
Ages 5 – 9: Playing on their local teams or playing for local official youth teams of professional soccer clubs. Attend summer soccer camps affiliated with great club teams to improve their skills
Ages 10 – 15: From 10 – 15 years old, players can either continue to play on smaller local youth teams without residences, or they can join larger youth teams at more successful football clubs that have residence options. Read more about youth teams for youth elite soccer players here.
Ages 13 to 18: Youth elite soccer players have the opportunity to join high performance soccer academies. Although more costly, high performance academies are the safest and best option for students who have the potential to become professional soccer players.
*Consider joining a high performance academy in the USA to win and soccer scholarship and study and compete at an American university.
Ages 16 – 21: At the age of 16, players are eligible to sign professional contracts. Football clubs sign professional soccer contracts with players on their youth teams because they believe that they can either play on the club’s first team or because they believe that they can rent or sell these players to other clubs for a decent profit.
Youth elite soccer players from about ages 5 – 12 should be exposed to as much soccer and as many different coaches as possible. This exposure makes them well-rounded and versatile players.
It’s particularly important that your child is exposed to different coaches. Each coach will likely have a slightly different perspective (sometimes drastically different perspective) about your child’s natural strengths and weaknesses. As a result, each coach might see them prevailing in different positions on the pitch.
By allowing many coaches to coach your child at a young age, your child will be more likely to try new positions and styles of play. They’ll learn to adapt to the styles of play that their coaches demand as they grow older and join more serious teams.
Additionally, by being exposed to different positions on the pitch, your child will become a well-rounded player with extensive knowledge about all field positions.
To ensure that your child is exposed to many different coaches and styles of play at a young age, it’s a great idea to send them to summer soccer camps where they’ll be exposed to different coaches, players, styles of play, styles of coaching, etc.
When your child reaches adolescence (around 13 years old), their soccer training becomes more intense. At the same time, their studies become more rigorous.
It’s extremely important not to dismiss the importance your child’s education. While becoming a professional soccer player would be a dream come true for these children, even the most talented players have a slim shot at becoming professional soccer players.
Of course it’s important to help your child reach their full potential on the soccer field and, hopefully, help your child become a professional soccer player. But, it’s even more important to make sure that they also receive a top-of-the-line education in case their plans fall through.
High performance academies seek to provide balance to youth soccer players who have the potential to become professional soccer players.
They are essentially boarding schools for high school students. Except, unlike normal boarding schools, these schools are designed to turn talented young soccer players into professional soccer players.
At the same time, they place great emphasis on education and on character development. So, even though your child may be far from home at a high performance academy, they’re still receiving sufficient guidance from staff, teachers, coaches, and academy personnel to ensure that they mature into responsible and respectful young adults.
Whether you live in Europe or the United States, sending your child to a high performance academy in the USA might be your best option to help your child become a professional soccer player.
The U.S. education system does a great job incorporating sports to ensure that athletes participate in sports training as a supplement to their education. However, whether or not your child has a chance to win a college scholarship and/or become a professional in their sport has a lot to do with the talent in their area.
If local teams in your area are not famously talented, your child won’t be exposed to many scouts and therefore won’t be offered scholarships or other opportunities.
High performance academies offer the perfect solution to the problem. They only accept elite athletes and only compete with the best teams in the nation. Therefore, competition is guaranteed to be fierce, and children at these academies are constantly receiving attention from scouts.
Likewise, since these academies are like boarding schools, they can accommodate students and accept students from all over the world. This means that talented soccer players who attend high schools which don’t receive attention from college coaches can join these academies to get the elite training, fierce competition, and attention from scouts that they need to eventually become professional soccer players.
You can also help your child become a professional soccer player by sending them to a high performance soccer academy in Europe.
Spain is home to the BEST high performance academy in Europe which has a very high success rate in terms of producing professional soccer players.
Professional players like goalkeeper Keylor Navas of Real Madrid, Oliver Torres of FC Porto, and female player Berta Pujadas of Real Club Deportivo Español, along with a long list of successful professional and semi-professional players have passed through this academy.
There is also a great high performance academy in the UK which has educated and trained players like Calum Jahraldo-Martin, who plays in the second division of the English league, and Emmanuel Oyeleke, who currently plays for Aldershot Town in the National English League.
There are many opportunities in Europe to play soccer at an advanced level. Many players join youth teams of official football clubs at a young age in the hopes to move up the ranks and eventually be signed with the first team.
While these clubs provide residences for their students and have agreements with private schools so the students can train and receive an education at the same time, clubs place great emphasis on training, and are famous for neglecting the students’ education at the expense of their football careers.
Furthermore, football clubs always work in their own best interest and offer little guidance to the players as individuals. Therefore, if a player is good enough to become a semi-professional player but doesn’t have the skills to make money for the football club where they train, they’ll be released without support or advice.
Fortunately, there are other safer options to help your child become a professional soccer player.
High performance academies offer the perfect solution to the problem with the European youth system. Therefore, they might be your best option to help your child become a professional soccer player in Europe.
High performance academies place great emphasis on education and character development. Additionally, since they’re usually not affiliated with any specific clubs, they always work in the best interest of their students and find them their best opportunities as professional or semi-professional soccer players according to their unique style and level of play.
Europeans can join high performance academies in the USA, and likewise, Americans can join High Performance Academies in Europe.
High performance academies in Europe have more connections to the European football leagues. For example, the high performance academy in Barcelona has more connections and produced more players to La Liga Spanish football league. The high performance academy in the UK, on the other hand, has more connections and produces more players to compete in the English Premier League.
High performance academies in the USA have more connections to American universities where players can win scholarships and compete with American universities before getting into the MLS (Major League Soccer).
You should decide which academy you want to send your child to depending on the outcome you’d like to achieve.
How Ertheo Sports and Education Agency can help
We know all about how to become a professional soccer player, and we also collaborate with world-famous football clubs and offer soccer summer camps with clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool, AC Milan, Arsenal, Paris Saint Germain, Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, and Chelsea.
We are well-informed about the details about each camp and each academy we offer from training, to staff, to coaches, to accommodation, to education, and we can help you choose the best option for you and your personal needs as you continue your journey to becoming a professional soccer player.
For more information about any of these programs or advice about which summer camp or high performance academy is best suited to your needs, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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