By Doug Reed
Players often see their options after they finish playing limited to staying in football through coaching or media work. The true possibilities are much wider.
Becoming a coach or a media pundit are viable routes, with players already possessing the understanding of the game that are fundamental in these roles. At Player 4 Player we help those that want to pursue these careers but, whilst it may seem the easiest option, you must be aware that it is very competitive and can fail to meet expectations.
Football is a large industry and there are many alternatives if you want to stay in the game. We previously highlighted some former players now excelling in executive leadership roles within clubs
5 Former Players Now Top Football Execs
The end of a playing career also offers the chance to redefine yourself and begin afresh.
A New Beginning
Whilst playing football may have been your dream career, this doesn’t necessarily mean that second on the list is another role within football. After so many years embedded in the game, it is inevitable that some of your personal identity has become intertwined to the sport, and many people define themselves by their career.
It can be difficult to imagine yourself somewhere else and feel unnerving to consider switching to an unfamiliar environment. However, once you take the step, you may find it refreshing and invigorating to be involved in something completely different.
Some examples of players that have gone into different fields include Arjan de Zeeuw (police detective), Stuart Ripley (lawyer), David Hillier (fireman), Barry Horne (teacher), Marco Gabbiadini (hotel manager) and George Weah (politician).
As we highlighted in our previous post,
5 Key Attributes Players Offer in Their Next Careers
Former players offer lots of qualities that will help them be successful in any role. Whilst it will require learning new skills, this is equally the case with coaching, media or executive roles in football, which all require you to gain specialist knowledge.
It is normal to struggle to identify what you would enjoy other than playing football. The key to finding a path that will be rewarding is understanding your interests, preferences and core values. Our partner Little Bird can help you understand a direction and purpose that will be right for you.
Little Bird founder Alison Delaney says, "At Little Bird, we believe everyone has the ability to change direction and adapt to their desired future. In reality, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with possibilities causing confusion and self-doubt, but this is where Little Bird can offer the support required to find clarity and the confidence to move forward."
Players have found their services very beneficial. One player who spoke with them encouraged others to do the same. “I did not see some of the problems stopping me from achieving my goals before Alison just let me open up about them. It was an amazing experience and I know what to do now. Honestly, I advise, again, for more of us to chat with her. I was able to talk deeply about situations and just through her questions realised I had the solution.”
Once you have some ideas, it is about gaining more insight by speaking with people that do roles you’re interested in or getting involved in some related projects to understand the career better. That way you can see if it meets your expectations before narrowing your options and committing, and you will have a bridge to your new career rather than facing a huge gap you need to overcome once you stop playing.
Football may have been your career until now, and it may be that it is right for you, it continues to be after you finish playing. But it is important you don’t feel limited to this and that you review your journey and understand you can go in a different direction if you wish.
You don’t have to do this alone, and we are available to support you whatever stage you are currently at.