Five great career options for former soccer players after retirement

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Professional soccer offers a unique career path that can be short but extremely rewarding. Becoming a professional footballer does not necessarily mean an academic degree, but talent, skill and experience that could literally make a good player a millionaire overnight.

The duration of the race is short due to the early decline in the physical fitness of the athletes. Players usually sign their first professional contract in their twenties, with the average length of their football career being 15 years. Most retired on average at the age of 35.

The question then is what to do when you retire. Fortunately, there is a wide range of career options that former soccer players have explored. Plus, with your fame and popularity, your options are limitless.

Most soccer retirees are in soccer management and coaching, in the media as soccer commentators or presenters, in business, in professional careers, etc. Some of those who had regular jobs before their soccer careers retire to have businesses of their own in the industry they are passionate about.

Here are some well known retired players or former footballers who are now involved in different careers:

1. Manager or trainer: Ever since the likes of former football great Johan Cryuff introduced dynamism and flair into football coaching, we have seen more and more footballers retire from the game only to join the coaching ranks.

  • Even in Nigeria, our own Christian Chukwu and Augustine Egwuavoen were all ex-footballers who found success as managers.
  • Former Nigerian Super Eagles captain, the late Stephen Keshi, won the Nations Cup as both player captain and manager. There are several other former players who have been successful managers around the world.

While some coaches don’t earn as much as they did when they played, they continue to have very successful careers. We also have former footballers who may not have had great footballing careers but did have great coaching careers. Notable examples are Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.

2. Entrepreneurs or serial entrepreneurs: Former soccer players with a talent for business have built incredible businesses as entrepreneurs. Some of these guys accomplished this while playing soccer or immediately after retiring. And it makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider how much they earn during their playing careers, which as we all know is only for a period of 10 to 15 years. Smart, gamers, take some of the money you’ve earned over the years to start new businesses. Here are some examples;

  • Kanu Nwankwo is a Nigerian former professional footballer who played as a striker for the Nigerian national team and for foreign clubs such as Ajax from the Netherlands, Inter Milan from Italy and English clubs: Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth. He retired in 2010 and now runs a hotel in Lagos and other business ventures along with his NGO, the Kanu Heart Foundation.
  • Oliver Kahn, a former German goalkeeper, has been commentating matches for the German broadcaster ZDF since 2008. In January 2020, he became a board member of FC Bayern. Kahn also founded the company Goalplay, which offers a special app for coaches and sells gloves and bags for goalkeepers.
  • Gerard Piqué, a former FC Barcelona defender, is now successfully participating in poker tournaments and investing with his company Kosmos Global Holding in various industries, including tennis and media. He is also the owner of the Spanish third division club FC Andorra.
  • Pirlo is not the only ex-soccer player to have retired as a winemaker: Andrés Iniesta and Johan Micoud are also wine connoisseurs.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the former Swedish striker, still playing at 40, launched an app called “Zlatan Unplugged” and created a mobile game called “Zlatan Legends”. In 2016, he started a sportswear brand called AZ.

3. Employees in other sectors: Not everyone can be an entrepreneur and this also applies to footballers who prefer to work. Here are some examples we can point to.

  • Stuart Ripley is an English former professional footballer who played as a winger from 1985 to 2002. After football, he studied at the University of Central Lancashire, graduating in 2007 with a first-class combined BA in law and French. In 2010 Ripley became a qualified solicitor and is now a member of the FA Judicial Panel.
  • Jeffrey Whitley from Zambia is a former professional footballer who played in the Premier League for Manchester City and Sunderland. He now works for the Professional Footballers Association as a player welfare executive.
  • Arjan De Zeeuw is a Dutch former professional footballer who played as a centre-back. Following his retirement in 2009, De Zeeuw began working as an investigative detective in Alkmaar, specializing in forensic medicine.

There are several others, especially in Nigeria, who have taken up new careers other than football.

4. Owners of football clubs: Some former footballers not only leave football but end up owning a franchise, so they employ footballers and people in football management. We don’t have many of them in Africa or in the world, but we are seeing a growing number of former footballers owning football clubs. Here are some examples;

  • David Beckham, a former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, was one of the first footballers to make a name for himself outside of football. He is the current president and co-owner of Inter Miami CF and co-owner of Salford City.
  • Some former players have even gone so far as to buy a football club. Former Manchester United players: Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt bought Northern Premier League semi-pro Salford City in 2014.

5. Experts or media personalities: In recent years, we have seen more and more footballers turn to the world of entertainment and media. I mean, who would have thought that people like Victor Ikepba would be on the radio or TV talking about football like experts? But it makes a lot of sense! These are people who have played at the highest level, so they provide unique insights by looking at pre-, during- and post-match analysis. Here are some.

  • Austin ‘JJ’ Okocha played in the Bundesliga, Turkish Super League, French Super League and others before retiring in 2008. He is an insider and runs a nightclub on Victoria Island, Lagos. He is a brand ambassador for BetKing and some consumer brands.
  • Elsewhere in Africa, former Ghanaian footballer Asamoah Gyang is a leading expert on Super Sports, providing unique insight into the games.
  • On the foreign scene, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen have also experienced football experts.
  • We also have the likes of former Super Eagles player Efan Ekoku, who has made a remarkable career as a football commentator for some of the UK’s biggest sports networks.

What about the likes of Segun Odegbami, who played for Shooting Stars of Ibadan from 1970 to 1984? In June 2022, he launched a radio station called Eagles 7 Sports Radio 103.7 FM in Nigeria.

  • Gary Neville of Manchester United, Jamie Carragher of Liverpool and Thierry Henry of Arsenal all became television or radio commentators in the days of their retirement from football.
  • Gary Winston Lineker OBE is an English former professional footballer and current sportscaster. His media career began with the BBC, where he has presented the flagship soccer show Match of the Day since the late 1990s. He has also previously worked for Al Jazeera Sports, BR Sports and others.

… Five great career options for former footballers after retirement Read more at … Naijaonpoint.

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