What percentage of UK footballers turn pro (after all attempts)? Evidence? Watch

special1ne
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So I've just watched 5 minutes of the BBC Three pop-documentary Football's Suicide Secret, and Clarke Carlisle has just gone on camera to state that "Of all the guy's who come into football, there's only 1% who will make it [as a pro footballer]." I could take his word for it, seems realistic, though football dunces like me can't verify where the 1% figure comes from, or who measures these stats.

Does anyone have any hard numbers about this? A 2009 Telegraph article states that 90% of students in a Premiership academy fail to turn pro (by joining reserves or whatever the "first team" is) so presumably 10% end up turning pro (minus those who turn down new contract offers) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/foo...screaming.htmlhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/foo...screaming.html
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llys
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Hey, this is is a very interesting question! OK, before I give my own opinion, what does it mean "all the guys who come into football"? If I take that as "all the guys that play football" then 1% seems WAY too high!

OK so my opinion is that obviously it has to be a low percentage - you will never be able to make that a really high percentage - because there are only so many pro places to fill, even if you removed all foreigners and even if some young players were to try to break through abroad, which very few do for some reason. So I think it is normal that the percentage is low. However, that does not mean that the overall quality shouldn't be higher.

I also think that football academies should be organised completely differently, but that is probably too much to go into now.

I have a related question: it seems that here, quite a few people think that if a player hasn't broken through at 21, they never will; but I looked at some Bundesliga clubs recently and in general very few of the first team players are under 20. Also, they have a U23, and no U21. I do wonder if that is significant: do they expect players to break through at a later age than you do in England, and why?
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llys
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Here are some interesting stats from the US, which is of course a completely different system, but I guess it's interesting (I couldn't find the numbers for the UK).
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special1ne
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(Original post by llys)
Hey, this is is a very interesting question! OK, before I give my own opinion, what does it mean "all the guys who come into football"? If I take that as "all the guys that play football" then 1% seems WAY too high!

OK so my opinion is that obviously it has to be a low percentage - you will never be able to make that a really high percentage - because there are only so many pro places to fill, even if you removed all foreigners and even if some young players were to try to break through abroad, which very few do for some reason. So I think it is normal that the percentage is low. However, that does not mean that the overall quality shouldn't be higher.

I also think that football academies should be organised completely differently, but that is probably too much to go into now.

I have a related question: it seems that here, quite a few people think that if a player hasn't broken through at 21, they never will; but I looked at some Bundesliga clubs recently and in general very few of the first team players are under 20. Also, they have a U23, and no U21. I do wonder if that is significant: do they expect players to break through at a later age than you do in England, and why?
Thanks for the post, Ilys Right, I've read that the Professional Footballer's Association currrently has around 4,000 members - unless any major reason exists why any pro footballer wouldn't join the PFA, I'll assume the 4,000 figure to cover all the pro footballers in the UK - and if I've got the gist of your post, you're saying that it is a low percentage of all players who try that end up turning pro.

So, for argument's sake, let's presume Carlisle knows more on this than us and take his 1% to be true. It means 4,000 make it out of 400,000 hopefuls :confused: Almost worth me trying to turn pro this year too, if my chances aren't statistically much worse than a physically fit and skilled player!

They don't need my pity, but I kinda feel for all those hundreds of thousands of young men just left there. Even worse is if you get signed, and you're dropped again before, say, age 21. Football must be the 21st century version of a pipe dream
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llys
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(Original post by special1ne)
So, for argument's sake, let's presume Carlisle knows more on this than us and take his 1% to be true. It means 4,000 make it out of 400,000 hopefuls :confused:
Hey yeah, basically what I'm thinking is that if (let's say) there are 400 000 hopefuls and 4000 can be pros, then the maximum success rate you can get is 1%; the only way you can get higher than that is if you reduce the number of hopefuls, and there's no real reason to do that.

It's a bit more complicated because I guess one should look at "graduates" per year and drafts per year to get more accurate numbers.

They don't need my pity, but I kinda feel for all those hundreds of thousands of young men just left there. Even worse is if you get signed, and you're dropped again before, say, age 21. Football must be the 21st century version of a pipe dream
Yeah me too. This is why I think academies must change, they release too many kids in every year group. To me that means they don't work: if they signed a talented boy and then release him, they either made the wrong decision in the first place or they didn't coach him well enough for him to make the expected progress. Fair enough if it were only one or two per year that get released, but I read somewhere that it's as many as half of every year group! Perhaps they should just admit they don't really know if an 8-year old or 12-year old has got what it takes.

Now bear with me because I know it's completely unrealistic (due to funds and lack of quality staff), but I think, hypothetically, it might be better if you abolish academies and instead every secondary school, or group of secondary schools, offers a sports specialism where every interested child would get 20 hours of sports instruction per week (different sports in addition to football, and coaching by highly qualified youth football coaches), and pro clubs can only sign them from the age of 16. That way:

- your talent pool suddenly is enormous
- the number of hours of quality instruction they get can be much higher (currently with clubs I think it's limited to 5-6 hours per week after school)
- yet no boys get "released" or mentally ****ed up in the process; they always stay at the same school and can always do sports
- all hopefuls have a plan B (education; if you coach them where you also educate them, you can make sure they work hard in the classroom too)
- you don't have any foreigners in the talent pool (this could also be a disadvantage)

Of course it couldn't be implemented at all for many reasons but I do wonder if (hypothetically) it could work better than the current system: the success rates would be lower (because the talent pool is much larger) but the quality of those who make it may be higher.
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IEMM
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For these 18+ year olds getting left by their clubs if anything they should know whether or not they are gonna make it by then. Look how many pro clubs are fielding 17,18 or 19 year olds some of them are even first team starters.

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Vintage
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(Original post by IEMM)
For these 18+ year olds getting left by their clubs if anything they should know whether or not they are gonna make it by then. Look how many pro clubs are fielding 17,18 or 19 year olds some of them are even first team starters.

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This is where the NFL system in America actually can work... All American Football players have to earn a degree etc..

Should England introduce that here? I think certainly Premiership clubs should run courses outside of football alongside their academy football..

Although the percentage of English players making it to pro would be higher if it wasn't for our culture of partying and drinking, Alot of young players fall into this and it affects the ability. I've known a few players that should have made it pro but got into wild partying, drinking and drugs then ended up on the football scrap heap.

Serves them ones right really.. If i had the chance to go pro i'd do anything to give me an advantage against the others.. Not drinking/partying would be an easy sacrifice.
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llys
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Those are two important points. I think you are spot on about education. I think one problem is that footballing prodigies are by definition talented, so they may not feel like they have to work too hard until it's too late; remember they are young boys / teenagers. In addition, once they are signed they may feel they have made it and therefore can stop working hard at anything else. So they may end up not learning how to work hard at anything that doesn't come easy. When someone like that makes the jump to professional he may not be able to do it because suddenly it requires hard work and self-discipline which he has never learned...

I do wonder, if a footballer could only "make it" at 16 or 18 if he has worked hard at his education outside of football, if that would have a positive effect on footballing quality due to the work ethic he has acquired by having worked hard on something he may not have been so talented at.
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wildrover
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(Original post by Vintage)
This is where the NFL system in America actually can work... All American Football players have to earn a degree etc..

Should England introduce that here? I think certainly Premiership clubs should run courses outside of football alongside their academy football..

Although the percentage of English players making it to pro would be higher if it wasn't for our culture of partying and drinking, Alot of young players fall into this and it affects the ability. I've known a few players that should have made it pro but got into wild partying, drinking and drugs then ended up on the football scrap heap.

Serves them ones right really.. If i had the chance to go pro i'd do anything to give me an advantage against the others.. Not drinking/partying would be an easy sacrifice.
It only works for NFL becuase they are the only country who play the sport, world class players are often playing in top leagues before they are even 18 and we would fall behind other countries whose players have been playing against the best players in the world for 5 years before Americans turn pro. We'd also loose some of our best players can you imagine Rooney getting a degree?
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Idle
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(Original post by wildrover)
It only works for NFL becuase they are the only country who play the sport, world class players are often playing in top leagues before they are even 18 and we would fall behind other countries whose players have been playing against the best players in the world for 5 years before Americans turn pro. We'd also loose some of our best players can you imagine Rooney getting a degree?
They play at an extremely competitive level in college though as you are facing others who will also enter the NFL.
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wildrover
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(Original post by Idle)
They play at an extremely competitive level in college though as you are facing others who will also enter the NFL.
Yes but players who are ready need to be playing in the first team, the college system would just be the same level as the under 18s or reserves if it was implemented in football.
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TRS-T
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So if there was some amazing American football player who didn't do very well at school, he wouldn't be allowed to go to the NFL?
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llys
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(Original post by TRS-T)
So if there was some amazing American football player who didn't do very well at school, he wouldn't be allowed to go to the NFL?
You are thinking too British. If he was amazing at sports he would get a college scholarship even if he wasn't good at school. And he wouldn't (be allowed to) drop out because the schools value sports so much too.
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llys
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(Original post by wildrover)
It only works for NFL becuase they are the only country who play the sport, world class players are often playing in top leagues before they are even 18 and we would fall behind other countries whose players have been playing against the best players in the world for 5 years before Americans turn pro. We'd also loose some of our best players can you imagine Rooney getting a degree?
I agree a degree is overdoing it. But you are wrong about age I think (if you ignore "world class players" and just settle for pretty good players for a moment). In Germany, schooling is compulsory until 18 and generally players break through later than in Britain. Generally at Bundesliga clubs there are not many first team players under 20 (maybe three or four out of 25 players), yet the players seem to do well enough. Of course the BL U23s also play in competitive leagues (PL U21s don't) so that may help.
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Idle
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(Original post by wildrover)
Yes but players who are ready need to be playing in the first team, the college system would just be the same level as the under 18s or reserves if it was implemented in football.
Not if you implement it right, college football is so popular in the USA that some of the stadiums hold 100k+ and like 25 hold 80k+.
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Vintage
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(Original post by llys)
I agree a degree is overdoing it. But you are wrong about age I think (if you ignore "world class players" and just settle for pretty good players for a moment). In Germany, schooling is compulsory until 18 and generally players break through later than in Britain. Generally at Bundesliga clubs there are not many first team players under 20 (maybe three or four out of 25 players), yet the players seem to do well enough. Of course the BL U23s also play in competitive leagues (PL U21s don't) so that may help.
Another fact is if you look at our Under 21 squad we took to the last tournament.

They had so many of our best young players withdraw. Basically clubs asking them too. minor injuries etc.

They should be made compulsory for them to play if called up: It would have been great experience for the likes of Wilshire, Chamberlin, etc etc etc.
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llys
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According to Liverpool coach Mike Yates, 98 per cent of players who are taken in by the English academy system fall through it by the time they are 18.
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okhuh
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ur chat is bad talk about how the presentation could help the yung 1s and also start chattin bout presentation dotn talk bout ur skillz m8 cuz tbh it doesnt it doesnt doesnt even help like u kno them vibes when ur on a boat and u fall off and u shout help wait oh yeh just like the titanic so yeh so imagine u fell off ad ur screeming heeeelpp and it doesnt work out for ya m8 so thats the part of life whn u fall of a clif and u get no elp what so ever just like thomas the tank enjine gheezz u don wanna start bout him hes got the fattest kebabs in the city of russia and have u seen elvis m8 check out his wine in his city i bet his got more then u and ur shaky nan will ever get so eyeh m8 all i wanna say is improve ur presentation sso dont chat like bad stuff tbh its just kind of out of content m8 so yeps learn how to spell m8
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chazwomaq
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(Original post by llys)
Perhaps they should just admit they don't really know if an 8-year old or 12-year old has got what it takes.
That's exactly right. It's very hard to predict, particularly as you are looking at kids before and as they go through puberty which makes an enormous difference to their physical ability. They're making a guess and once every hundred the guess pays off.

it's completely unrealistic
It certainly is.

[quote](due to funds and lack of quality staff), but I think, hypothetically, it might be better if you abolish academies and instead every secondary school, or group of secondary schools, offers a sports specialism where every interested child would get 20 hours of sports instruction per week (different sports in addition to football, and coaching by highly qualified youth football coaches), and pro clubs can only sign them from the age of 16. That way:

- your talent pool suddenly is enormous[quote]

It's the same as it always was, just people in different places. In fact, what you would have is 1 or 2 talented boys in every school here or there so completely unconnected from each other. This would have a terrible effect on their development by not playing at a very high level.

Coaches and scouts would not be able to monitor them effectively being spread so thinly and it would impossible to compare between boys.

- the number of hours of quality instruction they get can be much higher (currently with clubs I think it's limited to 5-6 hours per week after school)
No, it would be much lower because there would not be enough coaches to train them and their teammates would not be at their level.

- yet no boys get "released" or mentally ****ed up in the process; they always stay at the same school and can always do sports
This is true. But the bottom line is football is a tremendously competitive field with huge prizes for the winners, so people will always compete hard and feel like **** when they lose out.

- all hopefuls have a plan B (education; if you coach them where you also educate them, you can make sure they work hard in the classroom too)
I think they have to complete education at academies don't they?

- you don't have any foreigners in the talent pool (this could also be a disadvantage)
An advantage for Brits, a huge disadvantage for clubs who will never go for this system.
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Ben.rennie
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I'm 13 and am from Scotland. I've just been asked to turn pro youth for rangers. But I found out that I only have a 5% chance of making it through the whole academy and breaking into the first team. Don't know if the chances are different in Scotland compared to England, but if they're the same then hope I've helped with the numbers. 😀😀
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