What is the route to become a professional football player in Japan? As I told in the article After-school club activities culture in Japan, Japan has its unique football culture. Then there are 3 main route to become a professional football player in japan.
How many people are professional football player in Japan?
When we see the registered professional football player in J League, the total Japanese players are 1,564. And if we combine 478 Japanese players who plays abroad, the total number is 2,042 in 2020 season.
The new registered professional football players are 203. There are 89 players graduated high school (including 58 Youth team players) and 114 players graduated universities.
Consequently, players graduating universities can become professional football player easier than ones graduating high school. There is mainly 5 reasons existing.
- U-20 good talents go abroad with lower price (refer to Why Japanese club isn’t profitable in transfer market?)
- Players who graduated universities are over 23 years old. Their physical condition is better already
- It is normally difficult to transfer to abroad for players over 22 years old who become professional football players first time.
- Current J League champions squad selects players 25 – 30 years old who are good player but cannot reach National team or European clubs.
- These well experienced player can contribute much longer and more stably than young players
What is the rate to become a professional football player in Japan?
JFA (Japan Football Association) shows that 173,135 players in U15 – U18. Let’s say 56,354 players in U-18. Then you look back to the number 89 players who become professional in U-18. The rate could be 0.15% (≒89÷56,354).
On the other hand, if you look back to the number 114 players who become professional over 22 years old, the rate could be 1.0%(≒114÷10,762).
In conclusion, if you want to become just a professional player and don’t need to go abroad, it is good choice to go to university. Because J League clubs now demand physically matured, well- experienced and stable players.