The A-League is increasingly becoming the career destination of choice for Australia’s elite professional footballers. According to the latest survey of A-League players by the Australian Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), 43% of players are planning to either play in the new league for at least three years or even for the remainder of their careers

PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab said the survey results were encouraging, especially given that the A-League is only three years old.

The positive survey results come despite the A-League presently offering relatively short term and precarious opportunities for players. Only 89 players have played in all 3 A-League seasons, with merely 62 remaining with the one club.

“A quality A-League career path is important not only as a stand alone opportunity for players, but also to properly prepare players for a successful transition into an overseas club,” Schwab said. “The survey results compare favourably with PFA player surveys of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s which found that less than 10% of players in the former National Soccer League were not looking for an overseas move, with 100% of players between 17 and 21 seeing their futures abroad.”

The PFA sees a medium term career path in the A-League as the best preparation for an overseas career, as demonstrated by champion Socceroos such as Mark Viduka, Brett Emerton, Mark Bresciano, Vincenzo Grella, ZeljkoKalac, Stan Lazaridis, Kevin Muscat and Mark Schwarzer.

“One of the great threats to Australia’s international competitiveness is that a player may make a wrong decision when looking to move overseas. This can cut short a player’s potential or even his career,” Schwab said.

PFA research shows that the vast majority of overseas moves by Australian players are short term and fail to provide a stepping stone to a higher level of play within Europe.

“Australian players and their agents must learn to get the first overseas move right,” Schwab said. “Quite commonly an overseas move brings heartache and hardship. Many players unfortunately find themselves in dispute with clubs that fail to pay on time or honour contracts. Not surprisingly there is a direct correlation between the quality of the club and risk to the player of finding himself in dispute.”
The PFA is actively educating players about the nature of the playing career path with the objective of helping players make better decisions. In conjunction with Football Federation Australia through the My Football Career player development program, the players in all A-League clubs, the Australian Institute of Sport and all State and Territory Sports Institutes receive comprehensive training about the complex world of international transfers, dealings with player agents and life as a professional footballer on the world stage.
The results of the PFA’s A-League Player Survey and the PFA’s recent presentation to the players of the Australian Institute of Sport can be found on the “Football Policy” section of