Soccer players retire for a variety of reasons. Some soccer players retire because they cannot play at the same level as before, while others may need to stop playing due to injury. Whatever their reason, when a player retires from professional soccer, they will have to find something else to do with their lives.
This article discusses at what age soccer players retire and why some soccer players decide it is time to hang up their cleats. We will also look at what they do when they decide that their career in professional soccer has come to an end.
At What Age Do Soccer Players Retire?
Retirement in a professional sports career is inevitable. The standard argument for this is that it’s all about money, but there are other factors to consider as well. For example, the average age of retirement from any sport, at which point they have been retired for three years or more, is 33-years-old.
Soccer players retire later than other athletes. Soccer is a sport with a low risk of injury. Athletes can play into their 40’s if they take proper care of themselves and avoid serious injuries that prevent them from playing any longer.
Players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ryan Giggs, and Francesco Totti have all played professionally well beyond 30. Players will generally retire between the ages of 35 and 40.
Retirement for soccer players is usually caused by loss of speed, strength, or endurance, which makes it increasingly difficult to compete at a professional level. Players also may retire because they are no longer enjoying themselves on the field or simply wish to do something else with their lives.
Are There Soccer Players That Retire Early?
Yes, there are soccer players that retire early. Often, these players have a lot of injuries and no longer have the motivation to continue playing. Soccer is also an expensive sport; many young people don’t realize this until they are older and still in school. This means the decision to continue playing must be weighed against how much it costs.
There are also soccer players that retire later in life. Suppose you are still physically capable of participating at a high level. In that case, there is no need for retirement until your motivation starts to decline or if you have an injury that prohibits participation. You don’t want to quit soccer before you’re ready.
Soccer players retire in their 30s and 40s for the most part. Although it is not unheard of, a professional player usually retires by his or her mid-30s because that is when your body starts to decline and injuries become more common.
There are a few reasons why soccer players might retire early, which include:
- Wanting to focus more on school or family life
Footballers are frequently away from their families for excessive lengths of time. While most sportspersons are required to attend training sessions on weekdays and travel for competitive matches on the weekends, they generally do not have much free time to spend with their loved ones.
This is a viewpoint that has been prevalent for many years, and it may have a detrimental impact on their mental health over time. As a result, gamers choose to retire around the age of thirty in order to devote their time to things such as their school-going children’s development and progress.
- Injury concerns that could affect their future abilities and earning potentials
In the latter stages of their careers, football players face greater physical demands. The degeneration of the knee and ankle regions is a typical problem among older soccer players. This makes some soccer players choose to retire earlier.
- Having reached the peak of their game for several years without noticing any improvement in skills
Retiring at their peak is a principal reason for athletes to retire. This means that they are in the best shape of their lives when it comes time for them to quit playing professionally. For many, this will be shortly before or after reaching 30 years old because this tends to be when players have hit their prime and are looking forward to the next chapter in their lives.
- Achieving a goal they have been working towards for years
This is the case in many sports, as it is in life. Players at top-tier clubs have the opportunity to collect numerous cups in a variety of events.
Once they succeed, many professionals experience a lack of interest in continuing their careers. Even if they make a lot of money, it isn’t always enough to persuade them to stay in business. Some of them want to branch out in search of new challenges.
- The financial aspect
Some players choose to leave soccer early because they are not earning as much money for playing soccer anymore, which is why it makes sense that they would want to quit while still at or near to their peak so that they can go try something else in order to make more money.
What Do Soccer Players Do When They Retire?
Retired soccer players often become coaches, commentators, or sports agents. Some retired soccer players can go on to coach at a high school level and take the reins of an entire team.
Many former professional athletes have been able to build successful careers as television personalities after their retirement from playing professionally. These individuals frequently appear as studio analysts for significant sporting events and highlight shows and often work as pre-game or post-game commentators.
Retired soccer players often work in the front office of a team they once played for, such as taking on scouting duties or working to develop young talent. Others move into administration roles and assist with player recruitment, although many clubs prefer retired players who do not have an interest in returning to play for them again.
Former soccer players might work in a more amateur capacity, such as coaching at their old school or local junior clubs. The availability of former professional athletes to coach and run teams in this way is beneficial to the development of young talent. It can help provide an alternative route to professional soccer.
While some retired soccer players prefer not to continue working, others still have a lot to offer the game and enjoy staying involved in soccer. After all, many retired players feel as though their playing days are not behind them just yet.
Soccer Players Who Retired In Their 20’s
At the peak of his career, French midfielder Eric Cantona retired in 1997 at 30. Aside from a drab legacy of overall competence, he also left behind a slew of perplexing quotes, a solid reputation for freakiness, and the most incredible piece of soccer-style since Adidas released its three stripes. He could have continued for at least another five years, or even longer in the lower divisions, had he stayed in soccer. But instead, he departed with four Premier League victories, two FA Cups, and one FWA Player of the Year award.
At an early age, Patrick Kluivert made his name as a football player. When Ajax claimed its last tournament, he scored the winning goal in the Champions League final at 18 years old. After two more years with Ajax and one season at AC Milan, he moved to Barcelona, where he reached his peak. He scored 90 goals in 182 appearances. He retired at 31 years.
Marco van Basten
Dutch striker Marco van Basten is considered to be one of the greatest strikers in football history. He was named European Footballer of the Year three times. He won several league titles with Ajax and AC Milan, but most notably scored 300 career goals before retiring due to two ankle injuries at age 28 after just over five seasons as a professional. With so many accomplishments at a young age, he could have played for many more years.
Northern Irish footballer George Best had a career that was somewhat cut short by his heavy drinking, but he still became one of the most talented players in history. He played for Manchester United from 1963–1974 and briefly with San Jose Earthquakes during 1978-1981. Afterward, he spent time on various other teams until he retired at 27.
David Bentley retired at the young age of 29, but he made quite an impression on his fans during his time as a professional player. He began playing for Tottenham Hotspur in 2005 and continued to play with several other teams after leaving Spurs; however, none could match up to their former rivalry. David Bentley broke down in tears in 2014 as he announced that he was retiring from football.
It is no secret that some soccer players retire at a young age, while others keep going. At what point do they stop playing? That depends on where you live and your profession in the game. For some, it can be as early as 16-years old, while others keep going until they are 38 or older. Most players retire between ages 35 and 40.
The majority of these players go into coaching after retiring from their professional careers to work with younger kids and help them develop skills before starting in the big leagues themselves. There are plenty more things retired soccer players get involved with, such as broadcasting, media coverage, and coaching youth teams.