Former Sydney FC and Olyroos Captain Jacob Timpano goes 1v1 with the PFA to discuss his life after football and his business Soccerman, which aims to introduce children to the fun of football and inspire them to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Q. You finished with the North Queensland Fury in 2010, what were those initial couple of years like for you post professional football?

JT: It is very difficult when your career at a professional level comes to a premature end and with the dramas at the club it was very disappointing. Because I had struggled with injury over the years I didn’t have too many options other then to come back to the State Leagues.

I moved back to Wollongong and played a couple of seasons with the Wolves and still had an eye on returning to the A-League or playing professionally. I went on a few trials in Asia but things didn’t work out. I was hanging on for a while and then decided it was time to move on. In 2012 my Brother and I came up with the idea of Soccerman and that gave me some direction in life and it was my first proper job outside of being footballer.

Q. Did starting your own business make it easier to move on from the disappointment of your career ending prematurely?

JT: Definitely. For a couple of years after I finished at the Fury I didn’t really do anything other then train and I probably didn’t use my time as wisely as I should of. When myself and my brother Matt came up with the idea for Soccerman it took a while to get it up and running but once we did we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and got it into some preschools and schools. When that happened I realized that there is more to life then being a professional footballer. I also meet my now wife Jasmine and she helped steady me a lot and showed me again that there were things outside of football.

Q. How did the idea come about to start Soccerman?

JT: I started doing a bit of coaching and the idea of Soccerman came about because my Mum owns a childcare center and I used to spend some time there kicking a ball round in the back yard with the kids and they called me Soccerman and that triggered a bit of an idea. My brother Matt has a background in Childcare and has done all his studies so we sat down and said Soccerman is a catchy name and we got a logo done and had the idea of going into primary schools and childcare centers and got the ball rolling. Between Matt’s skills in childcare, my football skills and profile from having played in the A-League we launched it. It started small but we have now got it to a good level and we have a lot of classes.

Q. How did you go about getting Soccerman up and running?

JT: I didn’t know the first thing about business so it was hard at first. With family and friends Matt and Italked about it a lot and got advice off them and spent a fair bit of time on Google and from then on it was all about networking and getting up and having go. Setting it up in the Illawarra helped because it’s a small community.

Q. How satisfying do you find running Soccerman?

JT: We pride ourselves on kids having fun, not on football, soccer is secondary to what we do. We encourage kids to be active and eat healthy and have respect. We have a good connection with the kids and when we have parents come up to us and say the kids ate vegetables and fruit because Soccerman told them to, that makes a really happy.

Q. How much do the kids enjoy it?

JT: We have noticed over the last two years that a lot of young kids are now going on from Soccerman to play football and that is great. I think the kids look at Soccerman as a bit of role model and an icon. We launched a book so the kids can see the story of how Soccerman grew up and the kids feel a connection and hopefully they lean towards playing football.

Q. You have sold over 500 copies of the Soccerman book, how far would you like to take the business?

JT: We have this grand idea of Soccerman becoming a Super Hero like Spiderman or Batman. We are still quite small and don’t have the funding yet to go National just yet but we are working on that. We are working on our second book now and getting some merchandise done, we are hoping that once we get the whole package ready we will look for investors that can take the brand on.

Q. How important is it that the game attempts to keep past players involved in some capacity?

JT: I think it is very important. I think there is an automatic connection between the kids and former players and the players really care about the game as well. I have taken the path to try to stay involved with football, whether it is long term and sustainable is another question. I also do coaching here and there and do a column in the local Illawarra Mercury and I do a bit on the local radio and it is my goal and dream to stay involved with football. Hopefully the game will grow enough to keep more players involved.

Q. Finally, any advice for players looking to start their own business?

JT: Give it a crack. That is what Matt and I did and fortunately for us it is going quite well. If you finish playing and have an idea speak to the people around you and use their advice and take everything on board. 

The PFA provides assistance for members looking to start a business. For more information contact your Player Development Manager or email National Manager, Player Development.

 Each week the PFA will go 1v1 with a member to gain an insight into the lives of professional footballers on and off the pitch.