Here are just two recent and inspiring stories from your fellow professionals.
In Argentina, Fabricio Coloccini is finishing his secondary school two decades after cutting his education short to launch his football career.
In 2016 Coloccini returned home to play for San Lorenzo following eight years at Newcastle United in the English Premier League and spells at AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna.
Since then he has passed three of the eight subjects necessary to graduate from high school. He sat the exams in history, social studies and language in public halls in Buenos Aires next to dozens of astonished teenagers.
He was inspired to finish his secondary schooling because he has two children aged 15 and 12. “I felt like I couldn’t encourage my children to work hard and study, if I didn’t finish school myself.”
Coloccini wants to helps players to plan ahead by studying for their second career. “When you get to your mid-30s there is a whole life in front of you.
“I haven’t decided what I will do after my career. But I am preparing myself as best as I can for the moment I stop playing. I only wish I had started earlier.”
“Footballers think they will earn a lot of money and don’t need to pass exams but football is a short career”— by Fabricio Coloccini, footballer, Argentina
In Denmark, Thomas Kortegaard spent almost all his career with Super League club AC Horsens.
With the help of the Danish player association’s career-transition team he is now studying to become a teacher.
After years of putting off his career plans, he finally sat down with a personal coach from the player association to discuss his interests. “I am a social person so I decided I needed to go out and talk to people,” he says.
Gradually he realized he wanted to be a teacher.
This required him to take exams in Danish and social science to get the certificates needed for a teacher-training course. “I have been studying online ever since, while continuing my career with Horsens.”
He wishes he had started studying earlier."When I was in my 20s I postponed thinking about it.
“If I had started studying when I was 25 I would have been ready to work as a teacher the day I stopped playing football”
Thomas has a family but manages to combine football and study quite easily. He gets home from training around 2 p.m. and studies every weekday afternoon.
He also does practice sessions in a local primary school. He will complete a 6-week internship when his playing career is finished.
His plan is to work in a boarding school for young athletes so that he can coach football and work as a teacher. “I will be following my old passion - football - and my new passion - teaching.”
“When you’re doing something you dreamed about it’s hard to understand that it’s not going to last forever”— by Thomas Kortegaard, footballer and trainee teacher, Denmark