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17 Ways to Become a Professional Soccer Player

Reuters Pictures

So how do you become a professional soccer player? Or how do you become a better soccer player so you can eventually play pro or college soccer? Those are both good questions we get a lot. To start, it takes dedication and a love for the game of soccer. But there's much more you'll have to learn if you want to become a top level soccer player.

There are many paths to the professional soccer ranks, whether it’s getting picked by Barcelona at age 6 to train at their development school (you never know, it could happen). Or moving up the ranks of youth soccer leagues as you keep getting better and better and then playing for a youth academy soccer team and eventually getting drafted or getting your rights purchased by a pro soccer team.

One thing is for sure, players who make it to professsional soccer ranks possess five or six of the traits listed below or have followed some of the advice in this list. Below are 17 ways to fulfill your dream and become a professional soccer player.

Sure, some of these are jokes but most are required if you want to become a pro soccer player. And to get to the pro soccer level it takes some luck too, but also a lot of hard work and perseverance, since sometimes things won't go just as how hoped or planned but that means you just have to keep going.

If you get cut by one soccer team you don't just give up but find another team to play for and keep trying to learn and get better. A lot of great soccer players who cut by teams or didn't find success right away, it's just part of the process of finding the right team and coach you believes in you:

17) Have an idol. A professional soccer player you admire and watch all their games on TV. Copy what they do on the soccer pitch.

16) Enjoy the game of soccer. Don't be too hard on yourself when things go wrong. Get right back out there. Forget your mistakes.

15) Work hard every time you step on the soccer field. And practice like you're playing in a game.

14) Practice every single day. Spend time with the soccer ball. Master it.

13) Never give up on your dream of being a pro soccer player. If you're cut by one team try to find another team. If you're not starting on one team, work hard and fight for a place on that team.

12) Replace your brain with the brain of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs or Andrea Pirlo. Well, you can't do that but try to play like those players play soccer.

11) Strive to make one of the MLS youth academy teams. Play indoor, outdoor, pick up, beach, futsal, or any type of soccer you can play.

10) Always want to get better. Even Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are trying to get better and improve different aspects of their game. They both stay after training and work on free kicks.

9) Get picked to train at La Masia. It could happen. You never know. But at least strive to become the best soccer player you can be.

8) If there’s a pro soccer team in your area, go to their camp, go to their games, go to their practices. See if you can pick up cones after practice or become a ball boy if you have to. Get involved with the best team near where you live. If there's a college soccer team in your area, then go to their games, camps, and practices.

7) Copy everything Xavi and Iniesta do on the pitch. These are two artists on the soccer ball who rarely if ever lose possession.

6) Get a mentor, someone who’s better than you and train with them. Once you’re as good as that mentor, find another one who’s better than you and copy what they do.

5) Watch soccer. Don’t just watch one soccer league but watch a variety of soccer from all over the world, from the Italian league to the German to the English Premier League.

4) Take care of yourself, eat well, get a good night’s sleep, and stay positive. Hang out with the right people, those who have big dreams like you.

3) Master a soccer skill, whether it’s crossing the ball like David Beckham or dribbling and taking players on like Messi. What is one thing on the soccer pitch they you do better than everyone else? What's one unique soccer skill that you can do that others can't?

2) Learn how to shield the ball and hold the ball when you’re under pressure. Don’t worry about defenders coming at you or trying to win the ball. Instead, know that you can shield the ball in traffic in any part of the field and still keep the ball and find a teammate with a pass. Shielding is an aspect of the game that doesn't get as much credit as it deserves.

1) When you step on the pitch, want the soccer ball all the time. Try to have an impact on the game and make something happen. Ask for the ball if you're not getting it enough.


Extra
: If you're the best soccer player on your local soccer team then it might be time to find another team to play with where you're NOT the best soccer player and will be challenged. Perhaps you might even need to play with older players or travel to another state to play with a regional or select team.

And it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, if you spend time with the soccer ball on your own, if you love the game, if you seek out the best players to compete against, whether that's pick-up soccer or playing with more experienced players, you'll have success as a soccer player.


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