by Jack Clisby for pfa.net.au

I’ve always had pressure and questions from my mates and family about planning for the future.

Have you thought about what you are going to do after football?” they often say.

To be honest, all I have ever thought about is playing football and just wanting to make that as a career.

I guess as a young footballer starting out you think that your football career is going to last forever.


I’m 27 now and it really does go quickly, and you’ve got to savour every moment being a professional because it’s not a job that lasts forever. 

At the end of the day, everyone has to retire at some point, and you need to have a plan in place.

It can be very daunting coming towards the end of your career and you don’t know what you are going to do.

I feel like for years I didn’t think about that; I was just focused on football. 

Football and family are still my number one focus at the moment, but I think preparing for life after football can give you a lot of comfort knowing that you have a plan in place for the transition.

It’s not a decision I made overnight about what I wanted to do; I have been mulling over it for a while about what career path I wanted to take.


I wanted to go to the PFA Camp last year because I had heard that the players receive quite a few services through the PFA, but since I started playing I really hadn’t tapped into those properly.

It’s at the point now that the PFA provide information on everything relating to your career and life after it and it’s all showcased at the Camp. The programs and services that the PFA provides are tremendous and with their ongoing support I think the future looks bright for Australian footballers.

The Camp made me think about those services and also about transition. 

It made me think that I do want to plan for the future and also stay within a sporting environment after I finish playing.

I also found that a particular passion of mine, fitness, could be a good opportunity as a career after the game.


For me I think personal training is a good lifestyle choice and it also keeps me in a healthy environment and also keeps me physically fit as well.

You train every day being a professional footballer and you’re always going to be fit; you can maintain that healthy bodyweight and shape. 

But I guess you see a lot of footballers who stop training when they retire and they’re not doing the exercises they used and you can see they feel the physical effects of that.

I want to be fit and healthy after football to the best of my ability, without breaking down.

Personally, I know how good it feels when you get results and the thought of being able to give that to someone else and to be able to help them achieve their goals sounds really rewarding and I feel like it’s something that I would enjoy; helping people achieve their goals.

I feel that the field that I am in at the moment I can also portray that knowledge from a professional footballers’ point of view to a different part of physical exercise. 


I’m now doing my Cert III and Cert IV in fitness.

It’s a course I want to do and perhaps in the future I can interpret it differently from my experience within a football environment.

I originally started studying Cert III in fitness eight or nine years ago, I really did enjoy it at the time, but I gave up study to pursue my football dreams overseas in Scotland where I played for a year and then it sort of became ‘football, football, football’.

It’s something that I feel I can excel and use my knowledge from a professional sporting environment, because in football, exercise training is part of our regime and that’s something I have quite good knowledge on and studying it I can only learn more.

Personally, for myself it gives me more comfort knowing that, touch wood, if an injury came along you’ve got something to always fall back on.


As a young player your focus is to break through into the first team and I can understand that it can be hard to be thinking about studying or other pursuits then.

When I was younger, I just sort of felt like I didn’t need to study, but I think it’s important for young footballers to start to think about transition.

I wish I had stuck to studying a bit more and learned a bit about finances and investing your money towards the future instead of buying a sports car or buying all the best clothes. 

I think it’s important for emerging players to realise the importance of not blowing your money and at a minimum evaluating your finances from a young age to help set yourself up for a positive future.

I think the sooner you can wrap your head around what you may want to do – it doesn’t necessarily need to be what you are going to end up doing – it’s important to take on a side pursuit throughout your career.


I remember when I was at Perth Glory and I was a younger player, there were a few older players who were thinking about their careers after football and I didn’t understand that.

But you’re seeing more and more middle-to-later stage players taking on courses, going to TAFE and University or studying at college and they are all transitioning to life after football.


I’m about a month in to my fitness training and the time is coming to start to study after training each day, and complete it at my own rate, so I’m not pressured.

It’s a really flexible course that the Australian College of Sport and Fitness offers.

I’m looking forward in the coming weeks to really knuckle down and focus on that.

I’ve got a partner now and a little one on the way and that makes you think you have to have a plan in place.

It’s not just thinking about the immediate, because in football I guess you never know where it will take you or how long it’s going to be.