In America, young and talented soccer players go through a set pathway – play for a local team, play for the high-school team, get a college scholarship, then hopefully secure a professional contract. In Europe, however, the system is completely different. Young European players go straight from a youth team to a team with a professional affiliate. They are scouted from a very young age to become professional players. Here are six reasons that soccer players in Europe don’t go to college.
Lack of time to dedicate to school and soccer
To make it in Europe as a soccer player, you have to be really good. The standard is much higher than in the U.S., and players need to dedicate their time solely to soccer. In addition, players in the U.S. are expected to do well at school and improve their soccer skills. The European system produces better soccer players, but it doesn’t promote education.
Players can save enough money
Players in Europe start getting paid much earlier than their American counterparts. So even if they haven’t secured a full-time professional contract with a top club, players will start getting paid from around the age of 16. This allows them to start saving money early, which means they don’t need to attend college. Then, if they make it to the big leagues, they can expect to be on a huge wage.
European university is more about education than sports
In America, the college system focuses heavily on sport. Everyone that attends a college will support the team, college athletes gain nationwide attention, and college sports draw huge audiences. This is not the case in Europe. Playing sports at a college in Europe comes second to education. That’s why most European athletes don’t attend college.
The long-term prospects of a career are better
Becoming a professional soccer player in Europe is a big deal. If you make it to the top level, you can expect a 7-figure salary and worldwide fame. Even if you don’t make it to the top leagues, you will be able to carve out a healthy career as a pro. Furthermore, if you make it at a pro-level, your skills as a trainer, coach, and manager will always be in demand. The long-term prospects of a career in soccer are considerably better in Europe. That’s why many young American players dream of playing in Europe and why programs like Soccer to Football are so valuable.
The development of soccer players begins early
Ever wondered why many of the best players in the world come from Europe? The reason is that they start developing their skills early. If a player is going to make it as a professional, they will have to start playing as young as 4 or 5 years old.
The professional club system is different
In Europe, there is a bigger appetite for soccer. In England, for example, there are four professional leagues with 92 different clubs. That’s over three times as many as there are in America. That means that the chances of making it at a professional level are greater in Europe, so there is less need to attend college as a backup.