What are the odds of becoming a professional soccer player?

The dream of becoming a professional soccer player burns brightly for many young players. But what are the odds of actually achieving that dream? 

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the numbers and statistics behind becoming a professional footballer and explore some factors that can impact your chances of success. 

Whether you’re a young player just starting or a parent trying to understand the path your child may be on, this information will help give you a better understanding of the realities of the professional soccer world.

The short answer

The odds of becoming a professional soccer player are very low for male and female players. In the USA, according to recent NCAA numbers, 417,419 boys played high school soccer. Of those, 5.7% played college soccer. And of those college players, only 1.4% played professionally in the MLS. That’s a 0.08% chance of being a pro player.

Most players start their careers as amateurs before making the transition to professionals. But this path is not easy, and most players spend years climbing the ladder only to never reach the professional level.

That being said, there are routes to professional soccer stardom for a select few. It often takes a combination of the attributes listed in the article.

Time and dedication

To become a professional who earns money playing the game, you will need time and dedication. Becoming a pro who may someday play in the World Cup takes years of hard work, practice, persistence, and sacrifice. You must be willing to spend hours on the field honing your skills and refining them. 

Soccer is extremely physically demanding, so becoming a professional requires players to be in top shape. You will also need to have good footwork and agility and excellent hand-eye coordination. This skill allows players to pass the ball and shoot the ball with accuracy. 

Finally, you must also have strong mental health attributes. You will need to focus, overcome physical discomfort, and stay motivated throughout the entire process.

Physical ability

You can put in thousands of hours of practice time to be a pro, but you will also need to have the raw, god-given physical ability to get there. This can include the ability to run long distances, jump high, and endure pain and fatigue. 

Of these abilities, stamina, and agility are the most vital. Ideally, you’d want players to have the ability to stop and start quickly on their feet and to change direction fluidly and smoothly. You also need to have good vision, which means you should be able to spot the ball from far away and react quickly. Finally, it would help if you had strong hands and arms and a good reaction time. 

When looking at player attributes such as height or weight, it’s essential to consider that these are only one factor among many when assessing a player’s overall ability. It’s also important to remember that there is no guarantee that anyone can become a professional soccer player.

Although it is often beneficial to be at least 5-foot-11 or taller in soccer, players much smaller have had loads of success in soccer. In fact, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, and the great Pele are or were 5-foot-8 or shorter while playing.

Although certain attributes are associated with being a successful soccer player (such as ambition and determination), other factors, such as luck, can play an equally important role in someone’s path to creating a professional soccer career.

Technical skills

Playing soccer at a professional level requires a great deal of technical skill. For example, professional soccer players need to be able to control and pass the ball with accuracy and precision. Furthermore, they must have solid defensive skills, read the game, and make quick decisions on the field. 

Players can practice various technical skills such as passing, shooting, dribbling, and diving to develop these vital traits. However, it’s important to note that technical skills can only be developed after some time. Without hard work and dedication, you’ll never play for Manchester United.

In terms of training, professional players regularly engage in drills focused on developing their specific attributes. These drills help players develop their technical abilities to become more proficient at the game overall. Plus, no matter how talented a player is, he or she must go through challenges and hardships to reach the top level of the game.

Related: At what age do soccer players retire?

Mental toughness

To have a professional soccer career, it is vital to possess the trait of mental toughness.

Mental toughness is defined as the ability of a person to overcome challenging situations with poise and confidence. It is characterized by a strong desire to win and a willingness to put in extra effort during competitions. 

Mental toughness can be developed through hard work and training, as well as overcoming challenges. Developing mental toughness is essential for any professional player. It helps players cope with the pressure of playing in high-profile games. Developing mental strength also helps players improve their game on the field. 

A number of mental skills are necessary for becoming a professional. These include focusing, interpreting feedback, learning from mistakes, and developing a game strategy. All these skills can be developed through dedicated practice and drills.


There is a chance of becoming a professional soccer player if you have immense talent and a hard work ethic. Many players start as a club or junior before jumping to the professional level. 

Coaching, even more so in recent years, can help players develop their skills and increase their chances of becoming pros. Footballers who have top-tier coaches and trainers have a big advantage. 

Talented coaches can help players build their skill levels, endurance, and mental toughness. They also can put them in better positions on the field to take advantage of their skills and downplay their weaknesses.

It should also be noted that coaches have a huge impact on motivating players and boosting their confidence on the field.

Coaching can come in many forms. Players can receive coaching from private tutors, team coaches, and teachers at soccer academies and special showcase events.

Good health

To become a professional football star, you must have good health. It is vital to have the right body composition and overall fitness level to withstand the sport’s high-intensity play. 

You must have stamina and mobility to run around the field for extended periods without getting tired. It would help if you also had good hand-eye coordination to make accurate passes and kicks and good vision and concentration to read the game and make tactical decisions. 

Lastly, you must be able to play under pressure and in cold weather conditions, as these factors can negatively affect your performance. Investing in your health and ensuring that you are at your best on the field can make you a top player.

That means maintaining conditioning and eating a healthy well-balanced diet that nourishes you on the field and keeps you in shape.

Opportunities to play professionally

There are many professional soccer leagues around the world. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

  1. English Premier League (England)
  2. La Liga (Spain)
  3. Serie A (Italy)
  4. Bundesliga (Germany)
  5. Ligue 1 (France)
  6. Primeira Liga (Portugal)
  7. Eredivisie (Netherlands)
  8. J1 League (Japan)
  9. Major League Soccer (USA/Canada)
  10. Liga MX (Mexico)

There are also many other professional leagues around the world, including the Scottish Premiership, the Chinese Super League, the Brazilian Serie A, the Argentine Primera Division, and many more.

On top of that, there are several continental competitions for club teams, such as the UEFA Champions League in Europe, the Copa Libertadores in South America, and the AFC Champions League in Asia.

Final Thoughts

If you’re hoping to play soccer professionally, it’s essential to put in the time and effort required. You must also be physically fit, technically skilled, mentally tough, and prepared for constant training and development. 

If you have these things in place, plus you’re ultra-talented, your chances of making it are decent. 

At Soccer Stardom, we give insights on how to improve your soccer game by investing in yourself. With our help, you can become the best player you can be.

Adrian Turner
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