Soccer is a challenging sport that requires physical fitness, mental toughness, and skill. Players must be able to maintain their performance levels throughout their careers to stay competitive. Retirement from soccer is inevitable, and it can happen at any point in a player’s career. Soccer players retire for many reasons.
Male soccer players usually retire between 34 and 36, while female soccer players retire between 32 and 34. Professional players have 8-10 years of average career span in the top tier. But the length of their total soccer career (including training, minor, amateur, and pro) lasts from 16 to 20 years.
Many greatest soccer players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, are still playing with their best abilities and delivering top-notch performances even in their mid-30s. So, the retirement age depends on many factors.
The Average Career And Retirement Age In Soccer
Soccer players’ careers usually span from their late teens to their mid or late 30s, depending on their fitness level, injury history, and success. The average career length of a professional soccer player is around 8-10 years.
The average retirement age for soccer players is between 34 and 36, with some players retiring in their early 30s or even late 20s due to injury, poor form, or personal reasons.
However, some players may retire earlier or later, depending on their individual circumstances. The soccer world has also seen some of the strongest soccer players retiring too early.
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Female Soccer Players’ Retirement Age
Female soccer players tend to retire earlier than their male counterparts. The average retirement age for female soccer players is around 32-34. Many of the greatest female soccer players have also retired even before that.
This is due to various reasons, such as pregnancy, injuries, lower pay, and lack of support for female soccer players. Even the highest-paid female soccer players receive much lower salaries than their male counterparts.
The Average Retirement Age In Top Football-Playing Nations
The average retirement age of soccer players varies from country to country. In countries like Brazil and Argentina, where soccer is a popular sport, players tend to retire later in their careers, with an average retirement age of around 37-38.
American soccer players tend to retire late as it is not among the popular sports in the USA, and players are fewer here.
In contrast, players in countries like England and Germany tend to retire earlier, with an average retirement age of around 33-34.
Reasons Behind Retirement
As we have said earlier, the average top-tier career span is between 8 and 10 years. But many players even retire early. There are various reasons why soccer players retire, including:
- Injuries: Injuries are one of the most common reasons for early retirement in soccer. Players who sustain severe injuries may not be able to recover fully, leading to premature retirement.
- Decline in performance: As players age, their physical abilities decline, and their performance may suffer as a result. This can lead to a loss of confidence and a decrease in playing time, which may prompt them to retire.
- Personal reasons: Players may choose to retire due to personal reasons, such as wanting to spend more time with their family or pursuing other interests outside of soccer.
- Financial reasons: Soccer players may retire early due to financial reasons, such as wanting to secure their future or pursuing more lucrative opportunities outside of soccer.
- Lack of playing time: Some players may retire due to a lack of playing time, which can lead to frustration and a desire to pursue other opportunities.
- Burnout: The constant pressure and demands of being a professional soccer player can lead to burnout, which may prompt some players to retire.
Some of the most handsome soccer players also retired a bit early due to their interests in showbiz and modeling.
Reasons For Early Retirement In Soccer
The world has already seen some of the nasty tacklings in soccer, for which many players had to retire on medical grounds. Some soccer players retire earlier than expected due to various reasons, including:
- Chronic Injuries: Players with chronic injuries may have to retire earlier than expected due to the risk of further injury.
- Poor Form: Players who struggle with poor form for an extended period may choose to retire early to avoid further disappointment and criticism.
- Personal Reasons: Players may retire early due to personal reasons, such as wanting to focus on their education or starting a family.
5 Iconic Players Who Retired Too Early
Many fans get into the CR7 vs. Messi debate without understanding that they are at their pinnacle, even in their mid-30s. Some notable players who retired too early include:
- Marco van Basten: Retired at age 28 due to a chronic ankle injury.
- Eric Cantona: Retired at age 30 to pursue a career in acting.
- Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima: Retired at age 34 due to injuries.
- Ryan Mason: Retired at age 26 due to a severe head injury.
- Bojan Krkić: Retired at age 31 due to a loss of passion for the game.
5 Professions Retired Players Mostly Take
We have already seen many successful retired soccer players work as commentators in the last 2023 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Retired soccer players often pursue various professions after their playing careers, including:
- Coaching: Many former players become coaches or managers after retiring from soccer. They use their experience and knowledge of the game to train and develop new talent.
- Media: Retired soccer players often work in the media as commentators, analysts, or pundits, sharing their insights and opinions on the game.
- Business: Some retired players venture into business, leveraging their fame and networks to start their own companies or invest in existing ones.
- Charity work: Many retired players use their influence and resources to support charitable causes, such as education, health, and poverty alleviation.
- Education: Some retired players pursue higher education, such as getting a degree or postgraduate qualification, to prepare for life after soccer.
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The average career length and retirement age in soccer vary depending on the player’s fitness, success, and individual circumstances. Female soccer players tend to retire earlier than male players due to various reasons.
However, with proper training, good diets, and advanced medical help, soccer players can last even longer on the ground. And disciplined players tend to have lengthier careers.