Football is the number one sport in France as in Europe. Among the big-5 teams, the French formation serves as a reference. For the 2015-2016 season, out of the top 20 training clubs of the big-5, France has 9 different clubs having formed a total of 209 professional players playing in Europe. It is ahead of Spain, which has six clubs and 162 professional players trained for the 2015-2016 season. Results offering French players an excellent reputation and legitimacy on a worldwide scale.
Indeed, France trains many players in its clubs and other federal structures in preparation for a career at the highest level. The French training centers are 37 for the 2017-2018 season. In these centers, more than 1950 young contenders are trained to the job of footballer. At the end of this training, according to the FFF, only 16% of them signed a professional contract in 2016. This represents 312 young professional football players in France.
The 1638 who have not signed a contract, must now devote themselves to the search for another club to maintain their dream of a career in football. These recalibrated players are cumulative to previous promotions that could not obtain professional contracts at the end of training.
The options offered to these young people are: the reserve team of another French professional club to evolve in National 2 (formerly CFA), an amateur club evolving in National 2, National 3 or Division Honor, or the departure to the foreign. The orientation of the trainee in a training center who has failed to obtain a professional contract within his training club will depend on his profile. We could indeed establish three different profiles of the recaled player:
– Profile 1: The capitulating player, devoting himself exclusively to an amateur career in France and who engages in a club of National 2, National 3 or DH, partner of the town hall offering him a job in parallel.
– Profile 2: The player persuaded to have unfairly failed and repressed the idea of an insufficient level. This one will try all that it is possible to sign professional, and will open to a career abroad.
– Profile 3: The lucid player, not wishing to give up the idea of a professional career but who still ensures an ambitious conversion out of the practice of professional football, by the follow-up of higher studies in parallel of football high level.
Profiles 2 and 3 are the ones that allow me to qualify France as a production center for emerging football countries and specially for United States destination. We will see in a next post why USA is becoming the favorite place for second European choices.
The profile 2 would prospect USL and NASL clubs (2nd and 3rd division in USA), planning the integration of an MLS franchise in the future. While profile 3 will go to university soccer in order to benefit from a scholarship and a rhythm allowing him to alternate higher study and practice of football at the semi professional level.
We will see in the next post how the USA become the main consumer center of the second choices European footballers.