Thanks to the availability of international television broadcasts, soccer -- , called football in most of the world -- has become as popular in the United States as it is around the globe. The 2014 World Cup match broke a record with 16 million TV viewers for the U.S. game against Belgium. For lovers of the sport, jobs in the industry are coveted and may include playing for a professional team, coaching a team, scouting for talent or taking care of the books.
Professional soccer players typically begin as children in youth soccer leagues and continued playing through school and municipal leagues. As you develop your skills, your chances of getting spotted by a professional league scout grow. Increase your chances by getting accepted into a soccer training school, such as LaMaisa in Barcelona, or into a U.S. soccer school launched by Major League Soccer. Join teams that play in tournaments, or play soccer in college. Scouts attend games at schools and tournaments to look for players who not only have excellent ball-handling skills, but also a strong, positive attitude to support the team. Competition is keen. According to "Business Insider," only .04 percent of high school soccer players make the pros, and about 1 percent of college players go on to play professional soccer.
Work in Administration
The Major Soccer League, or MLS, hires communications and financial professionals, lawyers, technical developers and administrative managers in its New York City headquarters. In addition, local clubs in major cities rely on employees to run their operations. Find a list of postings for the main office and local clubs on the main MLS website. Clubs hire special projects managers with graduate business degrees and extensive experience in management. They look for communications professionals with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a passion for soccer; CPAs with accounting degrees; and IT specialists to help manage networks. Lawyers are hired to draft contracts, and salespeople with a sports background in sales are recruited to sell season ticket packages.
Coach Soccer Players
Many professional coaches come from the ranks of professional soccer players. You’ll need to know the laws of the game, how to manage players and ball-handling skills. To work as a coach in a school, you’ll need a teaching certificate and a bachelor’s or master’s degree in coaching. Earn a master’s degree in recreation and sports science with a focus on soccer from a major university, such as the program offered at Ohio State University. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America, or NSCAA, offers coaching workshops and courses, networking opportunities, job listings and mentorship for budding soccer coaches. Find positions for all levels of coaching on the jobs page at the NSCAA website.
Scout or Manage
Agents and scouts play important roles in professional soccer. Agents find jobs for promising players, while scouts watch for players to sign for their teams. Agents and scouts travel extensively and watch players in action -- often for years -- before offering them a position. Many start small with local, regional teams and grow their reputation before earning a professional license. Agents are licensed through the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, better known as FIFA, in Zurich, Switzerland. Study for and take the examination to become an agent. Take soccer business management or soccer operations and scouting courses to land a job as a scout with clubs in the MLS or FIFA.