Professional soccer players have discipline, drive, passion and exceptional talent at their chosen sport. Most soccer players begin their career on a low-ranking team. From there they work hard to showcase their skills and set themselves apart from other players to catch the attention of higher ranking teams. Similar to the corporate ladder, they're goal is to climb up the rankings.
As a professional soccer player, you make a career of competing as part of a professional or semi-professional league. To stay in peak physical condition, you train at least five days out of the week for a few hours each day. In addition, you practice with the rest of your team nearly every day of the week, which includes having mock matches, performing skill drills and putting together a strategy for your upcoming season. As a top player you may give televised interviews, appear in commercials and advertisements and get paid to promote products and services.
The soccer season depends on what league you play for. In the U.S., the Major League Soccer season runs from March to October. Teams are divided into Eastern and Western Conferences and each team competes in a total of 34 games. Throughout the season you spend a lot of time on the road traveling to compete against opposing teams.
Characteristics of a Professional Soccer Player
Professional players have exceptional soccer playing skills that they've honed for years. Most pros begin learning soccer at a young age. Having a naturally competitive nature and self-discipline are two other critical characteristics. You must also be a team player and have a high-level of physical conditioning. Other characteristics of pro players are persistence, determination and the ability to cope with the stress of pro-level competition. Most of all, you must have a burning passion and dedication to player soccer on a professional level.
Professional Soccer Salary
Like other competitive sports, the salary and total earnings for professional soccer players ranges widely depending on a number of factors like skill level and team rank. The salary may range from $25,000 to $106,000 per year. The median salary for U.S. sports competitors is about $40,000 annually, according to the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lesser known players on lower-ranking teams earn on the lower end of the scale. In addition to their salary, players on higher ranking teams often increase their earnings significantly with performance bonuses, appearance fees, endorsements and sponsorships.