Updated: Nov 1, 2022
I recently had a player reach out who was feeling uncertain about their future.
They didn't know whether to drop the dream of becoming a pro footballer and focus on their studies instead as it was looking like the more stable and predictable option for their future.
I get this question quite alot, this was my response, remember, this is just my OPINION which they asked for...
If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope my response can help you find the right path for you.
Here's what I said:
"...obviously with becoming a pro there's an element of luck involved. Every footballer on the planet has to accept that. All you can do is what's in your control to make that opportunity flow to you, don't chase it, let it come to you.
What's in your control? Making sure your mind and body is ready for that level, making sure you're at the level technically, treating every match like its your last, eating to fuel high performance and recovery, making sure you're in the right environment to thrive and surrounded by people who support you, reaching out to clubs even though 99/100 will not get back to you, trying to make connections, attending trials and being able to handle setbacks and keep going, being available for as many training sessions and matches as possible.
Yes there's an element of luck, but you can make choices that are luckier than others. You can decide to spend 10 minutes visualising your best performance, or you can decide to skip it. You can decide to spend 5 minutes working on your first touch every day, or you can think it won't make any difference. Which choices are luckier? That's just an example.
Focus on becoming the best player you can be, that's all you can do. Follow the course your heart is telling you is the right one, not your head. I did everything I could to get back to pro level after my 4 year injury because that's what was most important to me, that mission alone lead to alot of good things, one of them being creating Matchfit and sitting here typing this message to you, that would never have occured unless I followed my true passion.
Why does it have to be one or the other? And we must be careful not to fall into the trap that good grades = good job or good life.
There are many people who come out of university and end up stacking shelves, there are many people who got great grades and ended up in a job they despise, there are people who struggled at school who are changing the world, there are also people who got good grades and have a life they love, as there are people who didn't get good grades and struggle every day.
You're young, there's no reason why you can't work hard at school and pursue football too and see which way you want to go further down the line. There are people stuck in jobs they hate at 50 because of something they decided on when they were 17, it's crazy. Hope this helps."
Again this is just my point of view, but I hope if nothing else you can see that there are many things within your control that you can do each day to move closer to achieving your goals!
Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.