football player
Sport and leisure

Career outlook for footballer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would play football to entertain the fans and gain success for your team. You’d work hard to keep yourself fit and healthy and constantly practice to improve your skills.

You’d need to have exceptional footballing talent and the discipline to work hard to improve your performance level.

You would play as part of a team in a professional or semi-professional league. You'd need to be a very competitive person but also work well in a team.

You would:

  • Play in matches against other teams in your league
  • Attend regular training sessions to improve your skills and general fitness
  • Work on tactics, sometimes watching videos of matches to analyse your strengths and weaknesses
  • Work with specialists such as physiotherapists, sports psychologists, coaches and your team manager
  • Act on advice on diet and lifestyle from nutritionists and doctors

As a top player you might also give media interviews and be paid to promote products in adverts.

At all levels, you might take part in work in the community, such as helping to coach local children and attending charity events.

Working conditions


You would usually play in matches in the evening or at weekends, often at times scheduled to suit the media, particularly television companies. You would train on most days during the week.



You would travel with your club or national team to away matches all over the country or abroad, which would involve spending time away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Persevering
  • Self awareness
  • Taking responsibility
  • Motivating others
  • Self esteem
  • Listening
  • Cooperating
  • Building relationships
  • Observation
  • Evaluating

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Getting in

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There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role. Most employers value a good general education including English and maths.

Footballers are usually spotted by scouts when playing for secondary school age teams. They are then invited to train with a team and may be offered a contract once they leave school.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) offers an opportunity to gain relevant work-based qualifications through a Modern Apprenticeship with the SFA. This is a two-year programme which leads to a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance at level 3.

Useful subjects

  • Physical education
  • Psychology
  • Sciences, in particular biology/human biology

Helpful to have

Involvement in sports clubs or amateur organisations from an early age. 

Qualifications and experience that show fitness and sporting skills such as Sports Leaders UK Award or Skills for Work Sports & Recreation (SCQF level 4).