A lot of young academy players and their parents have a serious dilemma – should they focus exclusively on football or should they focus also on their education?
Based on data from the FA and newspapers, only 10% of academy players will sign a professional contract after finishing the entire course of the football academy.
Meanwhile, the other 90% will have to get used to the fact that they spent up to 10 years in vain, ultimately the goal is to become a professional footballer.
The football world is tough and very few players will become professional players. Even from that 10 % that are successful and sign a professional contract after finishing at the academy, no one can be 100% sure how long their professional football career will last.
Even if they sign a professional contract at the age of 16-18 they can be released after the contract is finished, however, the good thing is that they will manage to get some money from their career and start a new occupation if they can’t find another club.
At every end of every season, young players and their parents await the head of the academy to give them either another contract or a release form. This is the most stressful moment in every academy footballers career.
The parents and the players should be aware that only 10% of all players from each generation will become professional after their academy course and the rest are there to help those few players to be trained and to develop. When the rest of the players are not needed anymore, they will be released and replaced with others that are better than them.
Even if you are in the group of players that have the chance to become professional, it’s not guaranteed. At any time, you can be replaced by a better player that is transferred or released by top academies with more talented players. Personally, I know several cases where the best players from these academies have been released without any good reason. Usually, the clubs will not give them a reason why they are being released and everything will happen at a very fast pace without further notice.
Another thing that the parents and player are not aware of is the release form which can stop the player from getting signed by another academy.
There are two types of release form: the YD10 form which not allow another academy or club to sign the player without paying a training compensation fee, and the YD7 form which releases the player and other academies and clubs will not need to pay compensation.
My advice for parents is to think twice before signing an academy contract or an academy release form, also to contact a lawyer if is necessary. An academy contract is a one-way contract, the club/academy owns the player after signing.
The release form can be a nightmare for both parents and academy players. They can contact also the professional parents association for advice.
Most of the young players forget about the importance of their education while trying to focus on football; being hypnotized by the idea of becoming professional players. There are millions of young football players who forget that the football world is nowhere near as easy as they think it is, and you can’t blame these kids for having big dreams. Training several times a week at an early age and missing school classes often will make it difficult to keep up with your education at the same time. Only a few are able to study well and play football at the same time, the same ones who have a second option if the first fails.
The families are 100% involved, they have to follow the same dreams and aspirations of their children hoping that one day they will become professional players and all their effort will be worth it. Little to none of these parents have a clue that the chance of becoming a professional is like a lottery. When their kids are released, they will regret the time and money they have spent during the academy course.
It’s arguably better to release them at a very young age, although this will crush their dreams, the kids will then have a chance to update their knowledge and pursue a new career. But what will happen to the ones released at an older age (16-18).? They have lost precious time training to become a pro and suddenly they have to start from 0 again. All of them will go through a depression over the change. For the ones with strong character and full support from parents, it won’t affect them too much. For others, this is a nightmare that is going to follow them their entire life.
A common advice for the parents and young players is to give a relevant importance to education as a second option, ready in case they are released. All football academies are offering education during the academy course and some offer it after the players are released but all of it is focused on sports education only.
The vast majority of players don’t value their education during the academy years, living with the high dream of becoming a premier league player. Sadly, after being released from football academies they struggle to adapt to the real world.
In conclusion, the education is the second option for the young footballers in case of failing to become professional players. Education can help them to get out of depression and start a new career path.