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The Dutch footballers' union VVCS is happy with the fact that players increasingly choose to educate themselves via tailored and accredited education programmes of the union. The VVCS finds an upward trend in premier league players studying and also the level of education is becoming higher.

Approximately half of the professional footballers in The Netherlands are already preparing for a second career during their football career. Manager Education of the VVCS, Arjan Ebbinge: "The current generation thinks more and more about their career after football. In the education programmes of the VVCS we already have 150 students. This month sixteen players from the Dutch Premier League and the second league started to get their bachelors degree. It is striking that half of them are playing in the highest Dutch league".

Social barriers

A quarter of the players in Dutch professional football say they experience social barriers because they have to cope with poor study facilities at their club and little understanding for study activities from their club, but there is also the lack of time and motivation.

Tim Breukers (FC Twente player) doesn't completely agree with that: "I think you have a lot of time available away from football. The question is how to spend that time. Four years study seems a long time, but you also get much in return".

Wout Brama (formerly an FC Twente player, now unemployed) has taken some courses before that did not work for him. With the VVCS education he expects to get his bachelor degree: "The compulsory teaching hours are a reason for me to get started. I've taken some courses before, but then I had to do everything in my own time. That did not work for me. The mandatory classes help me to persevere".

Change of culture

In the past, only a handful of professional footballers appeared to think about their future after their football career. Most of them did not get any diploma. They did not know what to do after hanging up their boots. There is a change going on. Young ex-footballers in The Netherlands are often better educated than the generation before. Players who start an education during their career realise that they will have to work many years after football. The VVCS plays a major role in encouraging the players to orient themselves in the labour market during their career.

Ebbinge thinks this is an important development, "because the average unemployment rate among former professional footballers is higher than the average unemployment rate among the Dutch population. Over a quarter of the players need more than a year to get a first job after their football career".

Research: Lower salaries

Previously, it was easier to be financially independent after your football career because salaries were higher. "Older players may be loaded after their careers, but we are not," says Nick Marsman (FC Twente player) explaining his motivation to study.

Only 2 to 3 percent of the players are financially independent after their career. In the Dutch Premier League, almost half of the players earn up to 50,000 euro. In the second division the salary is much lower. A third earn up to 25,000 euro, which is below average.

VVCS Academy

The VVCS Academy started in 2007 with an undergraduate study Business Innovation. Nowadays, this study is called Top Sport Management & Entrepreneurship.

Since 2010, education has also been offered at lower levels. These are fully accredited education programmes, like Sales, Commercial Assistance and Account Management.

As of 2011 footballers also follow various VVCS Academy courses at levels that are different from those mentioned before . The most popular courses are: Marketing, Management and Entrepreneurship. Language courses are also being offered.