Life after a pro career

10 February 2014

Travelled to Utrecht on Sunday to play against Hercules. We won 4-1 which makes it a long time since we last lost a game. I played the 2nd half as a right winger and played okay, though on the ball the things I was practicing in individual training’s weren’t coming to life which was frustrating and I lost the ball in a few stupid positions.

Our central midfield comprised of Erik Piket and Didi Longuet, two guys who are both products of the famous Ajax youth system. Erik ended up making 1-2 appearances for the first team and Didi played in the Ajax 2 side, so at age 20-21 their careers were set for bright futures. They ended up playing in the professional leagues of Holland and overseas, and now they’re now playing along side each other in their early 30’s in my team at JOS. It’s funny how players careers go. They’re both really humble guys and good to be around on and off the field.

Our other central midfielder was Arthur. Another great player who was kind enough to give me a ride back home. He played in the Dutch professional ranks, most prominently for HFC Haarlem (now defunct) and once played against the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovich. Then in his mid 20’s, you would think he’d be crazy to stop playing, but that’s exactly what he did. He decided at the peak of his career that his maximum potential was at the second division level or at most the lower level Eerdivisie player. He told me that at that level you’re earning good money, but not great money. At that point he started thinking that it’s likely (as it is for 95% of pro footballers) he’s not going to become a millionaire from football. He also didn’t want to become a coach or a personal trainer, which is what alot of ex-pros do when they retire. So he quit, got his degree, he traveled all over the world and now works as an Account Manager at Microsoft.

Didi and Erik had good careers, so the question now becomes what do you do after your career? If you stop your career in your 30’s and want to get into the working world, you’ll realise there are people 10 years ahead of you in work experience and maybe you gotta start from the bottom. That probably explains why alot of players get depressed when they stop playing. It’s something you gotta thik about.

Anyway, it’s great to learn from these guys and have them playing alongside me, knowing that just a few years ago they were playing with and against teams that I would have been very proud to play with.

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Not much to report on other things. This week I began my first week of the new school semester,so it looks like I’ll be staying in Amsterdam until at least the summer now.

Quick update on opportunities. You may remember 3 or 4 months ago an agent set me up at a showcase game in England and offered to pay my flights for the next opportunity. I think that was complete rubbish and haven’t heard from him since. That opportunity in Ovada, Italy is something I could take up, but don’t have confidence in the organisation. That meeting I had in London with the 21st club never came to light either, although I’m still in contact with those guys. Finally, there’s a opportunity being talked about with Kaposvar in Hungary.. nothing coming to light yet, even after all these months.

But that’s all to be expected. Onto the next week!

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P.S. The article I wrote for Fieldoo last week now has over 2,000 views.

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In 2009, I was an average soccer player with a dream. I started this blog to document my journey from local underdog to getting offered over $100,000 in soccer scholarships, a contract to play professionally and the experience of playing in Europe.
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