Job type


£20k - £2.3m

Typical salary

30 – 46

Hours per week

Footballers play for their club in league and cup competitions, and some represent their country at international level.

More info

  • Play football for a living in one of the professional leagues
  • Pay varies between the lower leagues and the high profile premiership
  • You'll usually retire before 40 but there are many progression routes that being a footballer can lead to

As a footballer, you'll play either in league or cup competitions, and might progress with great talent to represent your country at international level.


  • Train to improve your skills and fitness
  • Analyse areas for improvement with coaches
  • Strength and conditioning in the gym
  • Play competitive matches
  • Take part in promotional and media activities for your club


Your salary will vary widely depending on your reputation as a player, and on the club's finances. You may earn extras like appearance fees, sponsorship and bonuses based on performances and results.

You'll train most days. Match fixtures are usually evenings and weekends. You'll travel with your club or team to matches all over the UK or abroad, so you may spend time away from home.

You'll need

To be a footballer, you'll need thoroughness and attention to detail, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, ambition and a desire to succeed, excellent communication and leadership skills, as well as good physical fitness and endurance.

There are no set requirements but you'll need a high level football playing skill and physical fitness.

You may be able to start by doing an advanced apprenticeship in sporting excellence (AASE), which you'll need the support of your club to do. After completion, your club will then decide whether to offer you a professional contract.

You could join a club's academy or centre of excellence development programme, if you can show you have the potential to play at a high level. Academies hold trials during the year and scouts watch male and female players of all ages. These trials usually operate from under 10s to under 16s level. After the programme at age 17, you can be offered a professional contract.

Other routes to becoming a footballer include being spotted by a club's scouts and offered a trial, if you're playing at non-league or semi-professional level. This would require exceptional talent.

You must live within 60 minutes travelling distance of a club to join its youth development programme, if you're under 12. If you're under 16, this rises to 90 minutes. There is no time restriction for under 17s and older.

Get involved with local and community sport as early as you can, and take every opportunity to build and demonstrate your skills.


With experience and success, you could progress by transferring to a club higher up in the football leagues. You could move into related careers like coaching, fitness instruction, refereeing, management, sports development, physiotherapy, or journalism.