The importance of training and education for retired soccer players

Let’s take a look at certain recommendations for professional soccer players who want to meet, with a positive attitude, the time of their retirement. Having assumed their role change, former players must choose the activity with which they’ll engage in the near future. To make that decision, it is very important to know the circumstances of each case and it’s also essential to analyze the training received by each person.

There should be no reason for pessimism. The range of career opportunities for retired soccer players is quite broad. But it’s a serious mistake to think that the inertia of achieved success is enough to also succeed in this new stage. Sporting achievements of an exemplary record should be an added value that puts former players in competitive advantage, but no one will give them anything for their goals, their titles or good games. Once the boots have been hung, it’s time to show other skills that can be acquired or perfected in many ways, but mainly through a particular tool: training.

A common offer for some players who reach their retirement years is to go to distant countries in exchange for money, either by playing in lesser category leagues or performing other secondary sports-related tasks that are well paid. It seems like easy money for a little effort, but it’s not. Going to countries with different customs and ideas requires facing another lifestyle and another way of working. And this task is very complicated if you don’t have a basic education that goes beyond a learned language.

Sports management seems like the ideal subject to enrich the knowledge of those in this situation. This training area provides the basics for the retired athlete to function easily in the business world and in society in general. During their professional career, players don’t usually know the productive mechanisms that generate wealth out of their activity. Due to their role within the organizational charts of clubs, they assume a very practical and not very theoretical task, which is also not a very reflective one from an organizational point of view. It’s a very special situation: the soccer player doesn’t have to make decisions, he only limits himself to playing, but his work is rewarded as if it were the one of a top-level manager. However, after retiring, the situation is completely different. The former soccer player should be at the forefront and take responsibility to make very important decisions for his organization in exchange for economic amounts that may not resemble the ones that he received previously. Therefore, it is essential to have a good theoretical basis on which to choose the right option and still enjoy a privileged personal situation.

Why train in sports management?

The benefits of the knowledge acquired regarding sports management are many, and one of them is its application to very different professional sectors. On the one hand, learning how to manage means introducing yourself into the complex world of business with guarantees. It’s better to receive specialized training prior to every business than to learn directly from actual practice, without underestimating the lessons of the market.  Some former soccer players spend a lot of money in real estate thinking that this type of business is simply based on investing and making profits, when in reality the situation is much more complex. Control of economic activities, when not properly managed, is lost, and those activities stay in the hands of the uncertainty of financial or political situations.

A good manager is also a good entrepreneur, a person with initiative who decides his future and that of his business and tries to satisfy a particular audience with a complete knowledge of his environment and the activity he performs. And that is what the former soccer player usually lacks, as they face new circumstances to which they don’t know how to react due to their lack of experience. In the new situation, they will have to improve their personal communicative skills. During sports, many people wish to contact the players for various reasons, since this is an attractive position. After retiring, the former soccer player must be humble and assume that he will establish relations on equal terms with many people or groups. They go from receiving calls to having to knock on other people’s doors, and this must be done in an appropriate way.

Sports management also teaches other concepts that are secondary but that acquire great importance because they are basic to the concerns of retired soccer players. Many former athletes haven’t heard of the idea of synergy, even though they have long been applying the concept to their team sports. With that in mind, they will be able to understand that if several former soccer players share their situation and come together for a common project, it’s very likely that they will succeed. As another example, it can be said that the sports manager also learns to distinguish between global and local aspects. This distinction will help him realize that, in certain cases, it’s not a bad idea to go back to their origins, to the small town they left when they started their career in sports. Sometimes they have expectations that are too utopian and end in frustration, in contrast with good projects that are born with modesty and end up growing bigger.

Another one of the skills acquired when you train in sports management is the ability to function in public sector issues. Sports have become a very important matter for local administrations. Governments have their own initiatives in sports or they get involved in private sector projects through financial contributions, technical assistance and so on.

On the other hand, administrations are also in charge of regulating sporting activities and limits or special demands are set for their development. There is no doubt that the relation must be fluid between the former soccer player and politicians. You could even think of taking things one step ahead. There are athletes who, after leaving their professional practice, have a vocation to provide public service in matters related to their specialty. If they have the appropriate training and experience, surely there will be room for them in any of the public bodies involved in sports.

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