If you’re dreaming of becoming a professional footballer, you aren’t alone. This is an incredibly competitive career path and there is a lot of luck required to get ahead along with a high amount of skill and talent. However, there are quite a few things you can do to increase your chances of success and even create a bit of luck for yourself – after all, some say that luck is simply where hard work, preparation, and opportunity meet.

It’s probably fair to assume that you are already training and practising as much and as hard as you can (if you aren’t, you should start today!), but you may be wondering what else you need for a career in football?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you may need some formal qualifications to be a footballer. After all, pretty much every career you may pursue requires some form of study or certificate. As a professional footballer, there aren’t any formal qualifications that are required as many players receive their first contracts around 16 when they are still in high school. However, this doesn’t mean that your education should not be a priority.

Here are some qualifications and certificates that can help you in your career:

High School

Despite the fact that many players receive contracts in their teens, clubs will expect you to still demonstrate academic ability and to complete high school – like your GCSE’s in the UK for example. If you are able to study any form of sports science, nutrition, or physiology this can be greatly beneficial.

Football Academies

Another helpful qualification is progressing through a football academy. These pressured environments offer exposure to intense soccer trials, high-level coaching, and the chance to prove yourself in front of club connected and freelance scouts. Furthermore, adding these academies to your football resume will go a long way towards impressing scouts and agents who can help further your career.


On the academy pathway, many clubs will place young players into apprenticeship programs where they will be working towards at least one of the following:

-BTEC National Award and Certificate in Sport.

-BTEC First Diploma in Sport.

-FA Coaching Certificate.

-NVQ/SVQ Level 3 in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance.

These are typically undertaken over a two year period and studied one or two days a week. They address numerous aspects of life as an athlete, including teamwork and management. These can be accessed outside of a club apprenticeship; however, they aren’t as valuable when undertaken outside of these programs.

Any certificates you can obtain in sports science, nutrition, and physiology can go a long way to helping in your career. This will give a foundation of knowledge that you can apply in your own life to progress your body and skills. They can also be helpful in careers related to football that aren’t a professional player.