You’ve done all the keepy ups you can manage, punted a ball into the back of the net from 70 yards and become more balletic than Ronaldinho at his peak. So where do you go from here?

If you don’t want to head offside in your footy career path, you’ll have to keep your head down and train like it was the only thing in your life.

In every vocation – whether it be sports or writing or music or what have you – dedication is the key to success. But while you might think that means spending hundreds of hours on the pitch, there are other, more academic routes to success.

Study crams and exams might not sound like the way Messi spends his afternoons, but a football degree could be the perfect route into the big leagues.

The beautiful game is about more than free kicks and silken goals. It contains a broad smorgasbord of tasks necessary to ensure that every 90 minutes goes off without a hitch.

Moreover, everyone knows that being a football player isn’t a long-term occupation. Even world-class players can eke out around 15 years of life from their playing career. And once the lights have dimmed on the world stage, finding other means of income is vital.

More charismatic (and famous) players will become pundits, while those who flourish with a pen might become sports writers for newspapers. But many more will work behind the scenes, becoming coaches, managers, physiotherapists or even join the board of a major team.

Yet these skills don’t develop because you can ace a corner kick – they’re earned through hard work and application.

But what academic routes can you take to remain part of the beautiful games once full time has been called on your playing career?

Coach to victory

Coaching requires more than being able to play well. You need to be an expert communicator, great motivator and a team player if you want to craft well-rounded footballers.

Take a degree in football coaching and you’ll learn exactly how to create a perfect team. With the theory in your brain, you’ll motivate people like it was second nature.

Brains for management

Whether you’re managing Aston Villa or Arbroath FC, coordinating a team down to the finest detail takes a keen eye, great knowledge of the game and a meticulous attention to detail.

Most of these skills can be found in any management and leadership qualifications. Study as though you were a middle manager in any company and you’ll find a huge array of transferrable skills. The more mundane aspects of football management will never puzzle you again.

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About Author

Charles Whitworth is the Editor of the Young Academic publications. Graduating from the University of Liverpool with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 2008, Charles learnt his trade in newsrooms such as IPC Media and Sky. He has now developed as a top sports, music and current affairs journalist and has been printed in a range of publications including The Guardian. His interests include Cricket, Football, Rugby, Music and Current Affairs. Fresh from the editorship of Student Times he now takes the reins at Young Academic - the premier student news portal. Connect with me on Google+

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