Many young athletes grow up playing soccer and dream of one day making it professional. They put in endless hours of work training and at practices, hoping of one day being called up to the big leagues. For a select few, they manage to make it, and are able to make a living by playing professional soccer for a period of time. It’s a dream come true, right?
Well, kind of. You see, while players might be used to a high salary and a certain luxurious standard of living during their playing years, the reality is that the majority of professional sports careers – soccer included – are fairly limited. It’s simply an age factor – once a player reaches their mid-30s, it’s basically only a matter of time before they retire and are replaced by a younger talent. After all, you don’t see many professional athletes in their 50s running around on the soccer pitch with the rising 20-some year old superstars.
However, unless you’re someone like David Beckham or have obsessively squirreled away your earnings and saved over the course of your career, most soccer stars don’t quite have contracts in the hundreds of millions that would allow them to retire and simply live a life of leisure. A large portion of retired professional soccer players go on to have a second career in retirement – some, perhaps, because they want to fill their time, but the majority because they don’t have enough from their pro sports career to support themselves and their families for another 20, 30, or 40 years. Sure, many capitalize on their athletic experience and skill and end up involved in the sports world in some way, as a coach or commentator. However, many retired soccer players end up making a complete change and pursuing a career totally unrelated to sports, something any regular joe off the street might do.
Here are 15 soccer players who retired and ended up finding regular jobs.
15 15. Lee Bowyer (Fishing Lake Owner)
14 14. John Chiedozie (Bouncy Castle Business Owner)
13 13. Arjan de Zeeuw (Private Investigator)
12 12. Gaizka Mendieta (DJ)
11 11. Gavin Peacock (Pastor)
10 10. Philippe Albert (Fruit and Vegetable Stand Owner)
9 9. David May (Wine Importer)
8 8. Barry Horne (Chemistry Teacher)
7 7. Carlton Palmer (Director of Sport at a College)
6 6. Marco Gabbiadini (Guest House Owner)
5 5. Kevin Kyle (Storeman)
4 4. Stuart Ripley (Solicitor, Law Lecturer)
3 3. David Hillier (Firefighter)
2 2. Jeff Whitley (Used Car Salesman)
1 1. Simon Garner (Painter/Decorator)
Former striker Simon Garner spent nearly his entire career with the Blackburn Rovers, playing with the team for about 14 years. Understandably, he decided not to make his home in Blackburn after retiring – though he played primarily in the 80s, he was enough of an icon on that team that he would likely be constantly recognized in Blackburn. Instead, he opted to live a quiet life in Berkshire, where he works as a painter and decorator. It wasn’t an easy path for Garner and he tried on several potential careers before settling on one – selling mortgages, being a postman, etc. However, when a friend offered him a job painting and decorating, he found a good fit, and enjoys being able to pick and choose jobs and be his own boss.
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