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Guide on how to get into Football
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Becoming a professional football (or soccer as the Americans call it) player is the dream of many young people across the globe especially here in the UK. At the top level there are rich rewards with big money contracts and a celebrity status to go with it which make it an attractive career prospect. However although it may seem like there are hundreds of teams with hundreds of positions available demand for places in youth academies at football clubs far out strips the places available with only the best of the best getting a chance of making it. However if you are talented and gifted you can make it all the way to the top so we are about to tell you how you can become a professional footballer.

Like any sport the earlier you start getting training the better. At the very early ages this is normally done by parents kicking the football about with the children in the back garden or the park or getting a football for yourself as a present. At this age it isn't about skills or tactics it's about getting use to the ball and what happens when you kick it in different ways or with varying power.

From the age of five young people can start playing mini soccer which is a scaled down version of the eleven side game with smaller pitches and smaller goals. So you need to get a parent to find your nearest youth football teams and get involved. Most clubs will charge a small fee to train with them as this will cover things like equipment and kit. When choosing a side make sure to do some research to find the best team to suit you and/or your child's needs.

A great way to develop as a youngster is to play with friends at any opportunity. It doesn't cost anything as you can use yours or a friend's ball and use jumpers for goalposts. So find a park that is safe and that allows ball games and go for a kick about. Remember to make sure you either have parent supervision or permission from your parents before going though. Learning to play on all kinds of fields and with all kinds of footballs will help you adapt more easily in your later playing days.

School is a great place to learn football so be sure at break times and lunch times to be practising. You can get benefits out of training both individually and with a group of people so never be put off if no one else wants to play but if others do want to play be sure to embrace it. To get noticed by teams and squads you need to have great individual skills but be able to apply them to a team situation.

Whilst you are at school you will also get the chance to do football as part of P.E and your school may even have a school team that play against other schools. To get noticed at schools level you want your school to win as many games as possible so remember to help others to improve their game as that will in turn help you. When you're at school be sure to pay attention during football lessons and games and pay attention to everything your teachers / coaches are telling you. The governing body for football at School level in England is the ESFA English Schools Football Association. Ask your teachers about them and do your own research as they run many initiatives, training days and trials that will help you further develop your career. For more information go to:

http://www.esfa.co.uk/esfa/

To be a great footballer you need to be able to use both feet and have no weaknesses. So don't just use tricks and skills you have already mastered as it is more important in the long run to master tricks and skills that you aren't as good at.

When you are starting out I football try all position until you find the one you excel in. Until you try them all you will never know what is you true best position. As soon as you have found it stick with it and really wok on your skills in that position. To become a professional you have to be at least great in one position if you are just good at all positions you won't be picked. So whenever you play whether it be training a game or a kick about that is the position you need to be in and work on.

As well as practising your skills you should also be watching and analysing football matches from as young as possible. Watch the professionals and see what things they do, what works and what doesn't. Then try and apply these skills to your game. To be a professional you have got to play like a professional. If you don't know how a professional does a trick or a skill try and practising it and working it out or if you can't work it out ask a coach for help. If you can get to a game live and in person all the better as players do a lot during the game which isn't picked up by the camera which are essential parts of their play. Remember practise makes perfect so never miss an opportunity to practice as the things professional players make look easy took years to perfect.

When you get to secondary school level you will be playing with new players which will be a no experience. The standard will improve and there will be more competition so just because you were the best player in your team at Primary School you can't take it for granted that you will be the best in your secondary school. Also at this age you need to start looking again at local youth clubs and youth leagues to make sure you are in the right league and right team for your ability.

Professional teams are always on the look out for young people with talent for their academies so get in touch with them and find out how they pick the boys who make the academy and try and get yourself in there. You also want to find out who does their scouting for them as to get noticed you will need them to come and see you so once you find out these details try and get them to come and watch you.

If you can't get a professional team to look at you for their football academy then go to them. Many professional teams run football in the community programmes where they send their coaches out to schools and also run coaching camps during the school holidays although these normally cost to go on. This will give you the chance to showcase your skills to some of their coaches who may report back to their superiors at the club if they think you have talent.

As well as the professional scene you should contact your local FA as many have their own representative squads for the area which you may be able to get on and they also hold training days and tournaments which again you may be to enter. To find details of your nearest local FA go to the National FA page:

http://www.thefa.com

Also keep in contact with the National FA as they may have details on new initiatives or training techniques for young people on their website or in their literature.

As you grow older you need to start thinking more and more about your fitness. Professional Football Players are athletes and again to become one you have to be like one. You need to start working on your strength, conditioning and cardiovascular. Before you embark on a fitness training programme check with a qualified trainer on what would be the best exercise plan for you.

When you are developing try and work with as many coaches as possible as you need as much advice as possible and the more input the better. Also try and get your hands on training DVD's and Manuals as you can find new drills to practice and set up your own training routine. Your coaches may have some you can borrow if not try and remember the drills they use during practice and do them in your own time.

The one thing to remember is that people mature in football at different ages. Some players who may be top of the pack when you are ten may not be top of the pack when you are fourteen. Never be disheartened if you aren't at the top of the pack it just means you have to work harder to get there that's all.

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