Unless you have a foreign passport, the easiest method to play professionally in Europe is to first make your way through the pro ranks in America. When you play like a stud in the MLS, NWSL, and for the US National Team, scouts in Europe will take notice. At this time, you will also have an agent assisting you in making contacts. If you are selected in the MLS SuperDraft or US Women's National Team Draft, then your career path may diverge significantly from those who aren't selected. In that case, we'll discuss what steps you need to take next.
The most popular sports in Europe are football (soccer), basketball, and baseball. There are many ways to become a professional at any of these games, but only some lead to success in Europe. You can be recruited by a club while you are still playing college soccer, or you can try out for their team pool of players. Most top clubs will have a training camp where they give all candidates a chance to show what they can do. Some players will make the cut, others won't. If you don't get invited back for another tryout, that's fine too. Sometimes there are just not enough spots open on a team for everyone who wants to play in it.
There are two ways to get paid as a professional soccer player in Europe: with a contract or without one. With a contract, you will be given financial terms (such as salary) by the club if they decide to hire you.
Europeans often begin their quest to becoming professional soccer players in Europe by playing for their local teams or for the official youth teams of professional soccer clubs in their respective countries. The following sections go into deeper information about youth teams. For more information about professional leagues in Europe, see our article on how to become a professional soccer player.
Training for professional soccer players is intense, and they usually have many games per month during all seasons of the year. Professional players are also expected to travel long distances for tournaments or matches, so having a stable family life is important for them to be able to focus on their career.
Players usually need at least three years of professional experience before they can consider themselves fully qualified soccer coaches. During this time, they can continue to play in order to maintain their status as professionals. Once they reach the required level of experience, they can apply for a license which would allow them to coach children's teams.
In conclusion, players need to be aware that becoming a professional soccer player is not easy, but it can be done if you are willing to put in some hard work. The first step is to find a good team that is looking for new players, and then show what you can do on the field of play.
Yes, if you play at a lesser level than D1, you may go pro. I played D2, however getting scouted at the D1 level is typically simpler than at the D2 or D3 levels. Participate in a paid pro tryout or combine. If you are not discovered and signed in the MLS draft after graduating from college, you still have possibilities. Some smaller leagues (including the NPSL) will sign players like us if they are good enough. Also, look into joining a club in another country where the game is more popular such as Canada or England.
In Europe, many players come through the youth system and then move on to other things when they are older or if they aren't picked up by another team. This can be done directly with a club or with a private coach. There are also opportunities in South America. The list goes on and on.
If you don't make it big with either of these routes, that's okay. You had fun while it lasted and made money. That's what being a professional athlete is all about!
Most professional teams (MLS, NWSL, and lesser divisions) have paid tryouts that you may attend. Go to a team's website and look for tryout dates and times, then sign up for them. Many teams will also hold regional combines where you can show off your skills against other potential players. The best way to get noticed by coaches is to play well at these events.
In addition, there are many other ways to get drafted by a professional team. You can be selected in the amateur draft, which is held each year before the start of the season; or you can be chosen in the supplemental draft, which is held if a team wants to sign an existing player outside of the draft order. A player can also be picked up as a free agent by any team who signs him. Finally, some teams will invite retired players to train with them or give them a chance to be a scout. These opportunities are called "associates" programs and provide a way for former professionals to continue their careers in some capacity while earning a salary.
If you aren't drafted but still want to play professional soccer, you need to find a way to make it happen. Try out for a club in the lower divisions of professional soccer. These teams often have open spots available because they are looking for new talent or want to expand their program.