Making It Pro

Right now, America is in the middle of Football season – That’s American football, not soccer.

To a foreigner, like myself, there are two types of American football fans:

The pro fan and the college fan.

In South Carolina, the enthusiasm for American football is exemplified by the fact that non-alumni are far more ferocious in defense of their university team than the students are. Is this hypocritical? Of course, but then so is college football. The university pretends that their team consists of outstanding athlete/students playing American football in between lectures and classes.

The college fan, on the other hand, knows that the NCAA is just the NFL’s minor league. That most of the juiced-up morons playing for the likes of Clemson, find it hard to work out the New York City subway system with a map in their hand, let alone sit through a lecture on Kant or Keynes.

Only one or two college athletes turn professional. The rest, graduate with a no expenses paid bachelor degree or drop out into obscurity, wanking over their high school days where they were cream of the cunts.

Every summer, Arsenal take on about 10 new full time apprentice professionals, who in almost every way have given up leading a normal life. The apprentices have two years to prove to Liam Brady and his staff that they are worthy of a professional contract.

In many ways, the apprentices had decided, many years ago, to give up on living a normal lifestyle. From the moment Arsenal approached them, which for some was as young as 9 years old, they had lost interest in school work or any other educational advancement. Their life was now consumed by soccer and making it pro. By at least 15 years old, all of the new apprentices had been coaxed, coached and encouraged in almost every way – except financially – to sign professional apprentice forms for Arsenal.

Of the 10 apprentices signed, only one will sign pro forms with Arsenal. Three of four others might make it pro at other clubs lower down the leagues. But probably none of them will ever be a first team regular. The rest, who get offered nothing, will probably end up at 18 without a job in soccer and unqualified for anything else.

The earliest any professional club can offer a pro contract to an apprentice is 17 years old. Most get offered a pro contract at 18. Only the exceptionally gifted get offered a contract at 17. The maximum length of time a pro-club can offer a 17 year old, in his first pro contract, is 4 years. At 18, they can can sign a 5 year contract.

So if Arsenal offer a 17 year old a pro contract, he must be very good. If they offer him a 4 year deal, then he is exceptional and will probably make it to the first team.

Below is the list of 17 year old’s who were offered 4 year contracts by Arsenal:

Cesc
Walcott
Djourou
Ramsey
Merida
Nordtveit
Gibbs
Wilshere

Keep it Arsenal

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