What Age Do Soccer Players Retire?

A professional soccer player is a career that is coveted by the masses. How many young boys and girls dream of becoming soccer stars? It’s in the hundreds of thousands. And for a select lucky few that dream becomes a reality.

They get to step out on that pitch playing for the team of their dreams. And it’s everything they could have wanted and more. 

What Age Do Soccer Players Retire?

However, due to the nature of the job, it is a dream that is somewhat short-lived. Most soccer players will start their journey relatively early on in life, but their career tends to end by the time they hit their mid-30s.

Simply put, this happens because the player’s bodies can no longer keep up with the physical demands of the game, and soccer is one of the most physically demanding games in the world.

Players have to be at their physical peak in order to deliver results, and sadly as they continue to age, they just don’t have the stamina and strength to keep it up. 

As you can imagine this can be a terrible blow for players who live, breathe, and die the game. And, in fact, there has been a push for there to be more mental health support after the end of a player’s career as many find themselves battling with depression.

Most players can’t let go of the passion they have for the game and that is why many retired players often become commentators or managers. This allows them to still be immersed in the world of soccer. 

If you are interested in learning more about when and why soccer players retire, keep reading. 

Why Do Soccer Players Retire So Young? 

Mid-30s seems pretty young for retirement, right? You’ve still got your whole life ahead of you at 35. So, then, why do all soccer players retire at such a young age?

As I mentioned above, the simple answer is that their bodies give out a long time before their minds do. Most players don’t want to stop playing, usually, they couldn’t think of anything worse.

But in most cases, a 35-36-year-old player is just not going to be able to match the stamina of say a 20-year-old player. 

Typically when a soccer player retires it is almost always because of one of the following reasons: 

Skill Level

We’ve spoken about this a lot now, so you probably get the gist. Somewhere within their skill set, things have started to slow right down. Maybe they just aren’t as fast as they once were. Maybe they can’t be as aggressive in challenges anymore.

Maybe they just don’t have the coordination they used to. But for whatever reason, their performance is no longer at the standard that it once was. 

This can be a very difficult thing for any professional player to come to terms with as they really struggle to accept they must give up the game.

Sometimes, a player will retire a little early so that there is never a witness to a lower-standard play – they bow out before they reach that deterioration. Others push themselves a little further than they really should and hold on for too long. 

Loss Of Passion & Complacency

Soccer involves a lot of dedication and determination, and this couldn’t be more true as a player ages. To keep up with the younger members of the squad, older players must be even more disciplined and work even harder.

For some older players, though they might not want to admit it, they just either can’t or don’t want to keep up this strict lifestyle. 

You have to remember, as well, the money that these serious players earn. It’s in the hundreds of millions. And for some players, the idea of retiring into a more comfortable and stress-free life can sound pretty inviting.

Because of this, the passion and drive for the game start to slowly dwindle and some players can become pretty complacent. 

What Age Do Soccer Players Retire?


Soccer is grueling on the human body at times. Players can face all kinds of injuries during their careers.

Players are constantly running and sprinting the length of the pitch and that’s going to start causing some wear and tear on their bodies. And that’s without counting the physical play. 

Players can suffer head injuries, leg injuries, groin injuries, ankle injuries, you name it, a player has probably sprained, twisted, or broken it at some point.

And sometimes one injury can be that one injury too many and players have no choice but to throw the towel in for the sake of their health. 

Will The Age Of Retirement Change In The Future? 

We very well might see a push in the retirement age in the next couple of decades. Some may argue that it’s something you can already witness. Medical advancements mean that players can stay at their physical peak for longer. 

And really, you only need to look at players such as Ronaldo or Messi who still show great promise despite approaching their late 30s. 

Whether or not we’ll be seeing many players in their 40s on the pitch does still seem somewhat unlikely at this point though.

No matter what way you look at it, a 40-year-old body just doesn’t seem like it’ll be able to compete against youth players who are only just approaching tier 20s. 

I guess it’s something we’ll just have to watch out for and hope for.

Final Thoughts 

Most soccer players retire during their mid-30s as their bodies fail to keep up with the physical pressure that the game demands. However, that doesn’t mean that they have to disappear from the soccer scene forever, and many don’t. 

You’ll often see retired players involving themselves in either lower-league football, commentary, or management. This just goes to prove the absolute love and passion most players have for the game as they cannot let go. 

Adrian Turner
Latest posts by Adrian Turner (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *