Soccer Academy Contract vs. Professional Contract with Club

Soccer Academy  Contract vs. Professional Contract with a Club

This is a general overview on minors signing a soccer academy contract vs entering professional contract with a club.  I will be delving into both topics in much greater detail in later articles. 


Soccer Academy

FC Malaga City Academy U19 boys celebrating while training at beach in Malaga, Spain

Here, in the US, a soccer academy player usually stays with the same group of teammates for an entire year.  The United States Developmental Academy system (USDA) uses a ten month period under their soccer academy contract.  Typically, even when the player has a birthday, they remain with the same set of teammates.  Depending on the club philosophy, and their level of skill, they may be invited to play with older teammates.

There is no guarantee that a player who is invited into a soccer academy will retain a spot throughout his teenage years.  Constant evaluations help determine if a player is cut or invited back for another year.

Similarly, abroad, if a player is registered with a soccer academy at a club, he usually plays with teammates of the same age.  Most fifteen (15) year olds would play with U16 club Academy.  Once he turns 16, he would graduate into the U17 Academy. and so on until he is 19, at which point he signs with the U23 club if he has not been selected by a professional club.

Most often, a player is only eligible or considered matured to sign a professional K when he turns 18.  

Contract with Parent Club

Once  a player is eighteen (18), he no longer needs a parent to co-sign a contract.  It is advisable that a player retain a reputable agent.  (Please note, that I would recommend that a parent or guardian of a minor consult with a sports agent, if not actually retain one prior to signing any contract with a club.)

Click here to go to my page on agents.  It includes questions you should ask when choosing one.  

You are not limited in how many agents you can reach out to.  I  strongly suggest that you interview a few.  You want to make certain you are comfortable with the person you select.  You don't want to feel like you are locked into a contract with bad terms.  

Can a minor enter into a contract with a professional club? 

Yes

Most people equate professional sports teams with adult players.   The truth is many clubs enter into contracts with minors.   

Minors, are typically defined as people under the age of eighteen (18).  They are considered to lack the capability of entering into a legally binding contract because of their minor status.  In fact, a minor has the ability to void (or cancel) a contract in which he has entered until such time as he turns 18.   Despite this, Sport clubs throughout the world continue to sign standout prospects at earlier ages. 

Lionel Messi was signed to a contract by F.C. Barcelona in 2000, when he was only thirteen (13) years old.  

After a player signs with the parent club, they begin to work at developing him.  If they feel he needs more playing time, they may loan him to a lower division club for 6 months, a season or a even a year. Then they can bring him back to original club to play.  Sometimes, the player is sold to make money for the original club.