If you are not in Europe but would love to join a football club and play soccer all over Europe, this article is for you. Today, I am going to walk you through the process of joining a club and applying for a visa to enable you to stay in Europe and train with the academy. We are basically going to talk about how to join football club in Europe. So, when you follow these simple steps, you should be able to sign that contract in no time. Football clubs and academies are typically open to players from various countries, including America, Australia, the USA, the UK, Canada, Nigeria, India, etc. A lot of the time, the football club will just assist you in obtaining a visa to move to Europe fast.
Why Do European Academies Want International Players?
Football clubs in Europe are football powerhouse, and they have the resources. So, as a player outside of Europe, you want to go to Europe to try your skills and talents and eventually make more money. Europe is also a hotbed of football academies in the world, so playing against the best will give you a great opportunity to become the best player you can be. Your chances to sign with a club in Europe are higher than ever because the academies are interested in signing young international talents from all over the world.
Football is played in many different ways around the world. Players from Africa or America have unique skills that European academies are eager to develop to meet European standards. European football academies are well-known for their intense daily technical training. So, you can join one, such as in England or even in Germany to rise quickly to become a star.
How to Join Football Club in Europe
There are a ton of ways to join a football club. So, in this section, I will walk you through all the correct steps you can follow to guarantee you a spot in a European club. The first four points we will make are the best ways to walk your way towards becoming a professional footballer, and the final two points will be about passport and visa application. Let’s get started already.
1. Contact the Club Directly to Join for Free
The first thing we are going to talk about is directly contacting a football club. I wrote a proper guide that will help you contact football clubs for trials, so make sure to check that out. Generally, there are 3 methods:
- Find an email contact for the club.
- Use the help of an agent or someone who knows people inside the club. We will talk about using an agent in one of the sections.
- Get contact information for someone who works at the club
You have to send a clear and well-written email to the club, including your personal details, information about your football skills, and importantly, a video of you playing. A good video should showcase your goals and impressive moves in games – this can really grab the club’s attention. Unfortunately, many top clubs never respond to your emails because they only rely on their scouts to find talents. An example is Manchester United.
2. Become a Scouted Talent
The second one is that you can join football club in Europe if you get spotted by some of the scouts. For example, as we mentioned earlier, some top football clubs like Manchester United only rely on their scouts to find talents—they do not openly invite any player. They just scout and pick the best they can find for their academy.
So, this method can lead to joining an academy and then the first team, but it’s not very likely. It requires a lot of luck. It’s often compared to climbing a ladder to the top. You start by joining any soccer team, no matter the level. Playing gives you the chance to demonstrate your skills and abilities. The beautiful thing about football is that everyone gets to play and show off their talents. If you stand out, with skills that outshine others, and perform well on the field, someone will notice and want to sign you.
Remember, you need to train these skills. For instance, if you want to be fast and catch the eye of scouts, you should do speed training drills and exercises. Talent alone isn’t enough. Once scouted, you are typically invited to football academy trials in Europe. Usually, the interested clubs will attempt to reach out to you, your parents, or most often, your football coach. Then, you are typically invited to a football trial or you might even get signed right away.
Your football coach can also play a role in this process. If your coach has connections in the football world or a background in the sport, and you stand out as skilled for your current level, they will often notice and pick you. It’s quite common for coaches at smaller clubs to want their players to succeed and advance in football. Coaches might even send you to football clinics or soccer camps in Europe.
3. Join a European Football Club Through an Agent
If you have been active in football for some time now, you will probably know who an agent is. Always record your football matches or just yourself playing so that you can reach out to football agents via email with your video. It will surprise you how many respond, especially if you are in a decent club or look impressive in your video.
Like football scouts, agents are always on the lookout for soccer talent to place in teams. But unlike scouts, agents also handle your contracts and salaries, and that’s usually how they earn their fees. Agents have lots of contacts. When an agent is impressed by your skills, they can help you set up trials or get football scouts from European clubs to watch you play. If you make it to the top, they profit too – everyone wins.
But most agents indeed focus on higher-level players, so it might be tough to get their attention in lower-level clubs. Typically, an agent gets involved once you are already with a football club. However, there are many agents, and even former football club and academy folks, who aren’t actively scouting but might be interested in helping someone with exceptional skills.
4. Enrol in a Football Academy
There are so many football academies in Europe. Some are expensive while some are just affordable. I made a good list of the European cheapest football academy, so make sure you check out this article to help you make a better decision. Football Academies focus on enhancing your skills as a player and take on the task of finding a football team for you. When finding an academy, look for one with success stories of players who have been able to join a football club in Europe.
5. Apply for International Passport for Your Visa Application
You’ll need to get a visa. But first, make sure you get an international passport to apply for a visa. There are usually two ways to do this: you can apply for a tourist visa or a student visa. So, from this section to the end, we will talk more about how to apply for a visa to join a football club in Europe. You need to apply for a student visa at your country’s embassy. In Europe, some academies will help you with this visa process, and make sure that you have all the required paperwork.
You must apply for the visa at your country’s embassy. But first, when signing up as a player, you must fill out the registration form on the football academy’s application page. Applicants outside Europe need a student visa. However, if you are from the US, UK, or Australia, you can stay in Europe for up to 90 days without a visa.
Before you can apply for a student visa, you need to have been enrolled in a football academy study program or receive a call-up from a football club in Europe. Let’s say you are following the football academy route. Once your passport is received by the academy by email, they will prepare your contract and invoice. You will need to sign this contract and pay your first deposit. The deposit amount will really depend on the specific football club. You usually need to make some sort of deposit because the embassy needs to see proof of academic fee payment. Without the payment receipts, you will not get a visa.
6. Contact the Embassy with Your Documents to Move to Europe
After the signed contract and payment are received, all the documents you need for the embassy will be sent to you from the academy or football club. Then, you just need to book an appointment at the embassy and present these documents in person. After that, your student visa should be issued within 1 or 2 months. That’s it—you can now move to an European country and begin your amazing career.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Play Football in Europe?
If you mean at a professional level, you have to be at least 16 years old to play football in Europe. However, if you are joining a football academy, some admit talents from the age of 6 and up to 18 years old. If you continue in an academy, you will have to be 16-18 to be eligible for a professional football contract.
So, we have been able to walk through 6 steps that will help you to join football club in Europe. If you decide to follow the academy pathway, coaches will assess your skill level and decide which training division to place you in. You can start now to work towards moving to Europe to play football. European clubs accept talents from the United States, Malawi, Australia, Ivory Coast, Canada, Nigeria, India, and many other countries.