The wellbeing, careers and preparation for retirement of Australia’s professional footballers will be enhanced through a new online platform, the Players’ Journey, launched by Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) today.

The Players’ Journey will be the primary means through which players in the A-Leagues, the Socceroos and Matildas and those Australian players based overseas will engage with the PFA’s Player Development Program (PDP). 

Via online learning and in-person tuition, the Players’ Journey provides a flexible avenue for players to build skills and knowledge of the football industry, prepare for life after football and successfully navigate the varied challenges and opportunities professional football presents.   

PFA Player Development Program Manager Rita Mankowska said the Players’ Journey is designed to cater for every player, wherever they are on their journey and is curated to meet the demands placed on players as professional athletes.

“Every professional player’s journey is unique and so are their needs as people and as athletes,” Mankowska said.

“The Players’ Journey is a platform that is player-centric, engaging and intentionally flexible so that our members can access information that is important to their careers at the touch of a button, but also allows them to deeply connect with the content that can help shape their career.

“Football can be an incredibly demanding profession that is often laser-focused on high performance, but when balanced with a quality player-centric development model, such as the Player Development Program, the outcomes for athletes on and off the pitch can be hugely positive.”

Through the Players’ Journey, PFA members will engage in evidence-based courses in three key areas: career, wellbeing and retirement. 

Each module covers a wide variety of topics to increase players’ understanding of the football and sporting industry, wellbeing and performance – from interpreting player contracts and collective bargaining agreements, financial literacy, match fixing, nutrition, the media, the experience of playing overseas, mental health, concussion, goal setting, and respectful relationships.

PFA members will embark on their Players’ Journey with their Player Development Managers at A-Leagues clubs and the Australian National teams, who will provide one-on-one guidance and offer additional support to their families, agents and coaches.

The Player Development Program is funded through Collective Bargaining Agreements signed by the PFA, the Australian Professional Leagues and Football Australia and is part of a whole of game commitment to universal player development. 

About the Players’ Journey

The PFA’s new and innovative program designed to support players’ wellbeing, career and preparation for retirement. The Players’ Journey has three core courses:

  • Career Course: Develops professional players’ knowledge of the local and global football industry to help them maximise their time in the sport;
  • Wellbeing Course: Nurtures players’ physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health both during and after playing;
  • Retirement Course: Prepares players for the universal and inevitable feature of a professional players’ journey – retirement – by providing education and support, career counselling, exit interviews, a dedicated transition manager, job ready support and work placements.  

About the PFA Player Development Program

Established by the PFA in 2013, the PFA’s Player Development Program (PDP) is the PFA’s world-class, integrative approach to player development. 

Delivered by the PFA, the PDP is funded by the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) between the PFA on behalf of the players, the Australian Professional Leagues and Football Australia.  

The PDP recognises that all players are people first. Throughout players’ football journey, the PDP supports players’ wellbeing and careers while helping prepare players for the universal experience of retirement.  

Through collaboration with domestic partners such as the Australian Athlete Alliance and global partners such as FIFPRO and World Players’ Association, the PFA adopts policy and practice from some of the best sporting unions and experts in the world. Combined with a commitment to research and deep player engagement, the PFA regularly benchmarks its programs and services in an commitment to continual improvement.