Life after hanging up the booties

There is life after football, as indicated by the FIFA report based on a survey of more than 30 leagues and 280 women’s football institutions: there is a future after retirement … and it is thanks to the clubs. According to the document that was released last week, more than half of the clubs (58%) help their players to develop a professional career once they leave the activity. Some of the most common grants consist of training to become coaches or occupy administrative positions and access to continuing and higher education, work placements and mentoring.

The professionalization process that Argentine women’s football began in 2019 opened up the possibility for many players to fully dedicate themselves to their careers as athletes. But turning football into a job also implies more time and dedication, neglecting or neglecting other activities, including formal education. Along these lines, the virtuality imposed by the pandemic meant for many soccer players the opportunity to resume their studies.

Clubs, contracts and schools

Pibas con Pelotas consulted each of the 19 clubs of the Argentine first division about the level of education of their squads:

  • Of the 542 female soccer players in AFA, 53% have a professional contract: 293 soccer players.
  • 7 clubs of the 19 that compete in the official tournament have squads made up entirely of players with a complete secondary school.
  • 9% of the players did not finish high school, a very low value compared to the 50% estimated for men’s soccer.
  • More than 91% of the first division players are studying or finishing high school.
  • 18% of soccer players are in secondary school.
  • 27% are studying a degree or tertiary level career.
  • 10% have a college or university degree.

In first person

“You can’t just depend on football,” Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams says in the FIFA report. “Football consumes you with so many ups and downs and emotional whirlwinds, you have to have something stable, such as studies or a hobby without connection to football,” says the Arsenal player who also played four World Cups with her team.

“Being doing both activities, educational and sports, demands a lot of time, dedication, effort and commitment. Free time is very scarce and rest is a fundamental factor, but from the club they promote, accompany and demand education and give us the possibility and the tools to be able to do it, ”shares Sofía Dominguez, who is in the fourth year of high school and is part of the River campus. The footballer, who is also a member of the Under 17 National Team, highlights that sacrifice and will are essential to sustain both. “Virtuality helped me with the times and the comfort of being at home, but presence helps in understanding”, he analyzes.

Sasha Gigliani, from Estudiantes de La Plata, is studying DT at the César Luis Menotti School. “Knowing that 10 years from now there will be a retirement from my sports career, I wanted to continue adding to the generation of girls who come later. The coaching course feeds my head a lot, it helps me to understand more what happens on the field and gives me the concepts to handle myself as a player, ”says the 25-year-old who works as a model and was elected Miss Argentina Hispanoamericana. The ex-Vélez agrees that virtuality helps to organize the times but also underlines the importance of the adequacy of the career plan for the active athletes: “Being a player, I have a different plan and this way you better incorporate the theory, we can also dump the practices in the training sessions ”, he explains.

Racing defender Eugenia Nardone was led by the pandemic to reflect on her future: “I realized that perhaps football is over,” she says. In the midst of confinement and restrictions, she realized that the coaching course left her time for more and asked for a scholarship for the video-analysis course that she was able to access thanks to the coordination of the club with the Technical Secretariat. Now the 21-year-old Rosario is a student of the Bachelor of Physical Activity and Sports at UNDAV within the Double Career program. “The good thing about the program is that the instances of the race are adapted to the life of the athlete. The truth is that studying and being able to get my head out of the club a bit is doing me very good, because although it is necessary to be 24 hours thinking about that and about my sports career, training for tomorrow gives me great satisfaction ”, He ends.

The contribution of the foundation

The El Futbolista Foundation, created by Associated Argentine Soccer Players (FAA), offers professional soccer players, in training and family members, the possibility of completing secondary education through the Adults 2000 Program. This accelerated system to finish secondary school remotely was developed agreement with the Government of the City of Buenos Aires and grants the official title of Bachelor with orientation in Social Sciences and Humanities. Today it has 9 players attending secondary school and 80 registered in language, computer science and injury prevention courses on the virtual campus.

* Romina Sacher

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