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By E-Perform | Goal Setting | January 11, 2024

10 Powerful Tips: How do I become a professional footballer

Tom Broadbent went from a career in the Army to Professional Footballer at 26. Here’s all his amazing lessons on “how do I become a professional footballer!”

Sometimes we get tempted to believe that only the lucky people get the best opportunities in life but it is simply NOT TRUE. Tom Broadbent’s story epitomises this.

Turning Professional at 26 following 6 years in the Army. Tom battled and risked it all to turn professional, his story is inspiring for any asking how do I become a professional footballer!


With so many lessons we use this interview whilst using our 30+ years in the professional game to break it down into our TOP 10 how do I become a professional footballer TIPS!

With so many lessons for young footballers to focus on whilst also proving we can all do it with hard workdetermination & a willingness to take some risks. In this article we look at our interview with Tom Broadbent on how he become a professional footballer, how to approach it, the lessons he learnt and how to maintain playing at a high level

If you have been facing rejection and challenges to start your football career as a professional footballer, you have come to the right place!

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Full episode: Tom Broadbent – Leave No Doubt Podcast – How Do I Become a Professional Footballer

Tom Broadbent: How do I become a professional footballer


10 Ultimate tips to: How do I become a professional footballer?

We have broken it down into 10 big lessons from Toms’s episode as well as using all our experience in the professional game. If you follow these 10 lessons on how do I become a professional footballer you will give yourself the very best chance!

1. Commitment

The reality is becoming a professional football player is hard! Only the very best players make it.


If you think about it properly, how likely do you think it is that players that make it to the top of the game are coasting, cruising and taking shortcuts. NOT MANY! So this is where you have to be honest with yourself.


Look back at the last 30 days and can you honestly say that you have given it everything to become a pro? Have you eaten right, slept well, recovered properly, got your fitness up to standard, working on your weak areas, developed your strengths and perhaps reviewed your game clips by yourself or with a coach?


If there is even one thing that you have not done in that small list then you need to COMMIT!! & then move on to step 2.

If it doesn’t happen straight away, don’t give up! 

Tom Broadbent: How Do I Become a Professional Footballer


2. Have a Plan

This is the point where you need to figure out a few things.

  1. What do you need to work on
  2. How long do you need to work on them for?
  3. When is the best time to work on them?
  4. Who can help me work on them?
  5. What might stop me from working on these areas and how can I overcome it?
  6. What do I need to educate myself on?
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3. Set Goals


As we wrote in 7 Steps For Successful Goal Setting In Football Goals can enhance performance which happens in four main ways.

  1. Setting goals directs effort and attention towards goal-related activities, and away from irrelevant activities. This essentially means more focus on what is important and fewer distractions. This means as a player you can learn smarter & harder for accelerated gains in your football.
  2. Goals can energise an individual within a task and even more so with more challenging goals than easier goals. This means if you set yourself goals which are hard to achieve you are more likely to be energised to complete it. This makes sense, there is a reason why people want to climb Mount Everest.
  3. Goals impact determination. Once you have set your goal and it means something to you, the goal can be the driver to ensure you keep working hard to achieve it.
  4. Goals impact action & intent. This final way of goals enhancing performance means that once you set your goal it positively impacts the likelihood of you actually taking action, and when you do take action to deliver at the highest level.



We hope, it is now clear that goal setting in football can improve your game and enhance your performance. And hopefully, we have convinced you it should be right at the forefront of your mind when wanting to improve and asking how do i become a professional footballer.

4. Network



5. Don’t let setbacks get you down

“Don’t think too much about rejection.

Tom Broadbent on how do I become a professional footballer


Rejection happens to everyone. It really isn’t personal. If you get better out of it, you can actually succeed in life. Focus on what you bring to the table, and what you still have in your life. Give it your best and another opportunity will show up!

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6. Work harder than anyone else



7. Changing your mindset: Believing in yourself

How to become a professional footballer


Look back into some of the clips you played well to boost your mood when you’re in your low moments. It helps you boost your mental toughness.

Tom Broadbent on: How do I become a professional footballer


8. Keeping the dream alive

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9. Create good habits

People often think athletes or people at the top level simply have more discipline, but this is not the case.


We are all creatures of habit. Think we all wake up at similar times each day, brush our teeth, have coffee and get off to work. These are all patterns, and habits.

So when asking how do I become a professional footballer, all we need to do is to identify what positive habits you need to form to help your game & start to weave in some of these good elements into your daily habits.



For example staying 10 minutes after training to work on your development area, having good food choices after training to help recovery or even getting into a good bedtime routine to maximise sleep for example.


It doesn’t have to be huge game-changing things to make a massive difference once it becomes a daily habit.

The new york times do an excellent job of describing this in their article here on creating new habits

Develop a training habit and routine such as eating certain foods, getting enough sleep time, and not thinking too much about the game. 

Tom Broadbent: How Do I Become A Professional Footballer


Tom Broadbent says: Ensure you’re taking enough carbohydrates and proteins as a footballer. Carbohydrates have been the go-to source of energy for athletes.


Carbohydrates can be found in whole grain bread, pasta, potatoes, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables. Also, take protein-rich food to help build and repair damaged muscles that occur during training. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking something every 15-20 minutes. Find out more about this in our article. How to carbohydrate load. Why the 24 hours before is ACTUALLY the most IMPORTANT

Although sleep has today been thought to be a luxury, it’s key in improving your performance as a player. Not getting enough sleep may lead to slowed reaction times, increased injury rates, and lower energy storage levels. Always aim at getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night to repair muscular fatigue and regenerate cells during sleep.

10. Remember how good you are

Don’t think too deep into what people say. Stay strong in your head and focus on doing it right.

Tom Broadbent on: How do I become a professional footballer


Picture and visualize your best performances, develop a schedule and stick to it without paying much attention to the results, don’t take failures personally, and treat every mistake as just data. By having an enhanced mental toughness, you increase your chances of having consistent success.


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Leave No Doubt Podcast – How do I become a professional footballer show notes

Just like any other footballer out there, Tom wanted to be a pro but it just didn’t work out while he was young. He decided to quit playing football and concentrate on the army. But while still in the army, he started playing again, gaining interest with the National League teams. In 2017, he gambled to sign off the army and transition into professional football, starting with trials to join Bristol Rovers. Two weeks later, he received a call for an offer with Bristol Rovers. 

“Coming in, I was that focused. I just ignored everything that anyone else said and I just didn’t care.”

Tom Broadbent: How do I become a professional footballer

Tom says football didn’t work out for him while he was younger because he was quite late in his development. By the age of 16, he still wasn’t physically fit. Being in the army helped him build his character and mental toughness which pushed him to grab the opportunity when it presented itself. He advises young players who are facing rejection out there not to think too much about it, however much it feels like the end of the road to them. 

Tom Broadbent Professional Football Career

Although the army was great with mates, sometimes it felt like it was not even a job. Tom says he was getting annoyed with his lack of purpose in life. After sifting to professional football with Bristol Rovers, Tom says he found the environment around him just like the army; a great manager and a team that gave him the “I belong here feeling.” 

After the first season, he moved to Swindon town in 2019, a new start that saw Tom win promotion with the side into League One. Although he only featured in nine of the games, he was happy to challenge the first team to play really well. 

“Don’t think too deeply into what people say about how you play. As long as you stay strong in your head, then you will do it right.”

Tom Broadbent: How do I become a professional footballer

How To Maintain Playing At A Higher Level

Tom says to keep your form even when you’re down, you have to develop an effective training routine. He insists on eating certain foods, getting enough sleep time, and not thinking too much about the game. 

On dealing with anxiety. He advises young players to try and remember their value during such low moments in their careers. One way is to look back at the clips where you played well to see how good you are. Think of one game at a time, and just give it your best. 

E-Perform Action Points: How to become a professional footballer

  1. Commitment to football
  2. Have a plan and execute it
  3. Set Goals
  4. Network
  5. Don’t let setbacks get you down
  6. Work harder than anyone else
  7. Changing your mindset
  8. Keep the dream alive
  9. Create good habits
  10. Remember how good you are
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Notable Tom Broadbent Quotes

  • I started making little bounce passes to give myself credit and build confidence as days passed.
  • Coming in, I was focused. I ignored everything that anyone else said and I just didn’t care.
  • If it doesn’t happen straight away, don’t give up.
  • Football is a job and everyone wants to do it. But it’s not everything. There’s so much more.
  • The seed of playing football was always there, even while in the army. The opportunity just never came up.
  • It’s hard to remember you’re a good player during low moments.
  • I literally think about a game at a time and give it my best.
  • Don’t think too deep into what people say about how you play. As long as you stay strong in your head, you’ll do it right.

Tom Broadbent’s Story

Sometimes we get tempted to believe that only the lucky people get the best opportunities in life and that we don’t have the lucky quality. However, anyone can find several opportunities when we put in the effort to step into the right environment at the right time. In the middle of difficulties, lies an opportunity!

Tom Broadbent is an English professional footballer who currently plays for the National League side, Eastleigh. He joins us to share his journey and how opportunity links to modern-day football. Tune in to get Tom’s lessons and insights into creating the opportunity to become a professional footballer, how to approach and how to maintain playing at a higher level. 

Not only lucky people get opportunities in life. Everyone meets opportunities at some point in their life. What makes the difference is how you handle them. Joe Partington interviews Tom Broadbent on how opportunity links with modern-day football and how to keep you from playing at the highest level. In this article, we share Tom’s journey toward playing professional football, and how he overcame all the negative thoughts around him to focus on improving his game after leaving the army.

“The seed of playing football was always there, even while in the army. The opportunity just never came up.”

Tom Broadbent: How do I Become A Professional Footballer

Before making his professional football career at 26, Tom struggled during his young age and decided to shift to the army. He had tried his luck in the youth academies in Southampton, Portsmouth, and Bournemouth but with no success. It just didn’t work out and he joined the army at 19, serving for six years before leaving again in what he called a “gamble.” Luckily he passed his trials and got signed by Bristol Rovers where he spent a season before leaving for Swindon Town. Tom won a promotion with Swindon Town to English League One in 2019. He recently transferred to Eastleigh where he will be playing in the coming season.

Tom says that football didn’t work out for him while he was young because he had a slow development. By 16, he was still physically unfit. However, joining the army helped him build character and mental toughness that enabled him to grab the opportunity when it came knocking for the second time. For the young players who are facing rejection at a young age, Tom says there’s no need to think too much about it, however much it may seem to be the end of the road.



In This Episode:

[01:27] How opportunity links into modern-day football

[02:08] Getting into professional football

[05:58] First-day training in trials

[07:08] Realizing the potential and immediate steps to take the opportunity

[10:07] Preparing for trials with Bristol Rovers

[12:27] Perceptions of a professional footballer

[15:40] Why didn’t football work out at a young age?

[18:08] Facing rejection at a young age

[20:09] Advice to young players that are facing rejection

[22:00] 6 years of football

[26:05] How Tom Broadbent came to a decision of shifting to football

[30:35] How do i become a professional footballer

[32:15] Professional football environment

[33:47] The moment when Tom signed for Bristol Rovers

[35:16] Getting motivation into the team

[39:27] 1st season feeling at Bristol City

[41:01] Surviving and striving: Changing the mindset

[43:15] Move to Swindon

[49:11] How different is Tom Broadbent from the trial and now in Swindon?

[50:43] Creating training habits and routine

[53:00] Dealing with anxiety

[54:45] Remembering your value during low moments

[56:08] How important is an opportunity?

[58:14] Dealing with opportunity

[59:56] Tom’s reasons behind the success

[01:01:07] Quick fact questions 

[01:05:44] Advice for the young 18-year-old Tom Broadbent



Useful links and resources

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https://www.sportskeeda.com/football/10-exceptional-players-that-were-rejected-as-youngsters-sstl

https://www.rfyouthsports.com/rfys/news/the-importance-of-handling-rejection



Guest Links

Twitter https://twitter.com/broadbent_tom?lang=en

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/broadbent92/?hl=en 

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