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A 10-Year Study Of Soccer Academies In Spain Revealed That Just 6% Of Kids Actually Make It To The Professional Level

matimix - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

If you’re a parent who thinks your child might go on to become a professional soccer player, I hate to shatter those dreams, but it’s highly unlikely that will ever happen.

After a 10-year-long investigation of soccer academies in Spain, researchers from the University of Essex in England have found that only six percent of kids actually make it to the pros.

In the study, the researchers looked at 198 male soccer players from two professional clubs in Madrid. Over the next 10 years, they monitored the players’ progress. They assessed their technical skills, including shooting, passing, dribbling, and ball control.

They also evaluated psychological traits, such as motivation, concentration, self-confidence, and emotional control. Additionally, they analyzed the players’ career outcomes, placing them in categories of professional, amateur, or retired.

The findings shed light on the challenges that young athletes face in the highly competitive road to soccer stardom. They must suffer through the trials and tribulations of rigorous training and often sacrifice other educational opportunities, all without any guarantee of a professional career.

“As many as 95 percent of teenage players aren’t making it to pro football, yet they are continuing through these academies, incurring the stresses and strains that go with intensive professional training, before they are eventually deselected,” said Dr. Jason Moran from the School of Sport, Rehabilitation, and Exercise Sciences.

Results showed that only 12 out of 198 players reached the professional level, and out of those 12, only seven made it to the highest professional league in Spain within 10 years.

Players who were categorized as professional demonstrated better ball control skills and higher self-confidence levels in comparison to their amateur counterparts. There were no major differences in shooting and passing abilities between professional and amateur players.

In conclusion, it seems that certain technical and psychological skills may be more important in predicting future professional success. But as with any study, this one has its limitations. For one, it only tracked players until 2021, so some might still go on to the pro level in the future.

matimix – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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