” The first team players are part-time and get paid 50 quid a week said the assistant coach. “
By age 21, Drogba realized that he had to establish himself as a player soon or else he would have little chance of becoming a professional footballer. He made his first team debut for Le Mans soon thereafter and signed his first professional contract in 1999.
Miroslav Klose worked as a builder and brick-layer before starting football, and while playing at FC Homburg (who were in the 5th division of Germany when he played) in 1999. After this initial phase of developing his foundations, his talents were fully fledged and demonstrated suddenly and dramatically on the world stage at the World Cup 2002, where he claimed the Golden Boot.
Luca Toni, now 33, was a journeyman of Serie B and Serie C1 before signing for Palermo (then an ambitious Serie B outfit) in 2003. 30 goals in his debut season brought promotion and 21 goals the following year, his first inSerie A, brought acclaim. For Fiorentina he scored 33 goals and for Bayern Munich an incredible 39 goals in his debut seasons for the respective clubs. Luca Toni went from obscurity to being one of the most prolific goal scorers in Europe for five years (and this all happened after the age of 25 in the topflight.
Ian Wright came to professional football relatively late. Despite having had trials at Southend United and Brighton during his teens, he was unable to attract sufficient interest to win a professional contract offer. Reverting to playing for amateur and non-league teams, he was left disillusioned about his chances of a career as a professional footballer. A Crystal Palace talent scout, Peter Prentice, happened to see Wright playing for Dulwich Hamlet and invited him to have a trial at Selhurst Park. Having impressed then-manager Steve Coppell, he signed professional terms for Crystal Palace in August 1985, just three months short of his 22nd birthday. Good article on those players mentioned here.
Van Nisterlooy started his career with second division dutch team Den Bosch when he was 19.
Kevin Phillips (born July 25th, 1973) was released by Southampton in his youth and signed for a non-league semi-professional side, Baldock Town, where he was moved to a striker role; eventually he was signed by Watford on 19 December 1994 for £10,000. He went on to play over 500+ games for teams like Sunderland and Aston Villa. He also represented England for a short time.
D.J. Campbell was released by Aston Villa when he was a trainee. When he was 18, he moved to English 7th division club, Chesam United. After moving around clubs in the non-professional, 5th – 7th level of English Football, he finally got his chance when he moved to Brentford when he was 24 years old! He later played for Blackpool in the EPL.
Maurice Edu is all the more amazing when you consider his story. Freddy Adu and Santino Quaranta were called into the US team at 16. Landon Donovan and Bobby Convey at 17. All of the previously mentioned players featured for a US Youth National Team before the age of 16. Maurice Edu’s first ever appearance for any US team was at the age of 21, in a full international against Switzerland. Maurice played three years for his college team (Maryland) and got drafted to MLS club Toronto FC when he was 21. He then signed for the famous Glasgow Rangers in 2008 and has made 72 apps for them since.
Anton Peterlin was playing for amateur teams in the USL and PDL and played for his American college team at California Polytechnic State University. It wasn’t until he was recommended by Graham Smith coach of the Fusion in the USL, recommended Peterlin to David Moyes, manager of Premier League club Everton. After impressing during a ten-day trial during the 2008–09 season, Everton announced on July 6, 2009, that they would sign him to a one-year contract. Since then he has played for Plymouth Argyle and Walsall.
Javi Varas arrived at Sevilla FC aged 23, after having only played amateur football in Andalusia (although he had been bought by the club two years earlier). He spent his first three seasons with the B team, contributing with 13 games in 2006–07 as it promoted to Segunda División for the first time ever, and training now and then with the main squad. Although he was spotted by his mentor at Sevilla, Pablo Blanco, when he was 11, Varas didn’t make his competitive debut for the first team until close to his 27th birthday. The highlight of his career has been stopping a penalty taken by Lionel Messi. This story is pretty inspiring, the story of a late bloomer in detail. Read more here.
So there are 10 players that didn’t go pro until late. Proof that I have every chance to delay and do the same! There is absolutely nothing to worry about.
Have been watching the football and trained just about everyday. Just under 15 hours I’m guessing. Next Week will be under 15 aswell during this trial/learn period.
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