Are you a young athlete aspiring to travel the world? Have you wondered which sport(s) would give you the best opportunity for international travel?
Look no further! Here are the 2022 top ten ranked sports internationally (in no particular order):
- Football (also known as soccer)
- Table Tennis (also known as ping pong)
Out of all athletes in the United States, only 7 percent go on to play at the collegiate level. Breaking that number down even further, 58.1 percent are male athletes, and the remaining 41.9 percent are female athletes. Taking these numbers one more step, less than 2 percent of college athletes go on to play professionally in the United States.
However, there may be a way for young, aspiring athletes to have a chance to play their sport at the next level, internationally.
- Play a Sport Recognized Outside of the United States
If you are seeking to play at the international level, it is paramount that you are playing sports that are well-known outside of the USA.
For example, there are 71 participating international American Football teams across the globe. Compared to the 387 international football (soccer) teams, including both men's and women's teams.
Growing up and leading into college athletics, every athlete has their own dreams, goals, and aspirations of what they want their athletic career to look like. Playing a sport that is well known outside of the United States will grant you a much larger opportunity to play on a professional roster, it’s a matter of taking actionable steps to make it happen.
- How to Have an Edge to Be an International Athlete
If you are looking to be an international athlete, it is important to excel in a sport that is played all over the world, not just in the United States. As with any sport, it is detrimental to your success to dedicate an ample amount of time over your life to become skilled enough to be considered for a spot on a professional roster.
Being a college athlete will give you great opportunities to achieve success at the international level, whether you play DI, DII, or DIII. It all depends on which sport you play, the level of play in each country, and which league you will be attempting to break into.
Each country has its own levels of professional leagues, some ranking them in different categories similar to how the NCAA divides between their three levels of collegiate sports.
- Use Your Connections
One of the best parts about being a college athlete is the resources and connections you have access to. Whether that be through your coaches, the athletic director, or the athletics office as a whole. There is always going to be someone who knows someone who knows someone.
Nonetheless, if you show up to them empty-handed, they probably aren’t going to be able to do much for you. The most important thing you can do in this situation is to help yourself and set yourself up for as much success as possible.
Here are three key steps to making your international dreams come true:
- Create a highlight video!
Creating a highlight video is crucial for catching the attention of coaches overseas. Coaches receive countless applications from players around the world, and a well-made highlight video can set you apart from the competition. Your video should showcase your best moments from college matches, including game-winning shots, impressive passes, and other standout performances. Make sure to highlight your unique strengths as a player, such as your speed, agility, or accuracy. It's also a good idea to include footage from practice, as this can demonstrate your work ethic and dedication to improving your skills. When creating your highlight video, it's important to keep in mind the specific requirements of the league or team you are targeting. Some leagues may have different rules or styles of play than what you're used to in the US, so do your research and tailor your video accordingly. You may also want to include a brief introduction at the beginning of your video, introducing yourself and your accomplishments as a college athlete. This can help coaches get a better sense of who you are and what you can bring to their team.
- Network with athletes and coaches overseas.
Networking is a key component of any successful job search, and the same is true for finding opportunities to play sports overseas. Start by reaching out to your college coaches, athletic director, and other staff members in the athletics department. They may have contacts at international teams or be able to provide advice on the recruitment process. It's also a good idea to seek out alumni from your university who have played sports overseas. These individuals can provide valuable insight into the experience and offer advice on how to get started. Another way to network is to attend international sports events or tournaments. These events provide opportunities to meet coaches and players from around the world and make connections that could lead to future opportunities. You can also use social media to network with coaches and teams. Follow their accounts, interact with their posts, and reach out with a polite message introducing yourself and expressing interest in playing for their team.
- You may need to find an agent to help represent your brand in other countries.
Having an agent can be a valuable asset when seeking opportunities to play sports overseas. An agent can help you navigate the complex process of applying to international teams, including creating your highlight video, making connections with coaches, and negotiating contracts. They can also provide advice on the cultural and logistical challenges of living and playing overseas. However, it's important to do your research and choose an agent who has experience working with international teams and a track record of success. Look for an agent who is transparent and communicative, and who shares your goals and vision for your career. When working with an agent, it's important to establish clear expectations and boundaries. Make sure you understand their fee structure and what services they will provide. Be honest about your priorities and goals, and communicate regularly to ensure you are on the same page. Remember, your agent works for you, and their job is to help you achieve your dreams of playing sports overseas. With the right agent by your side, you can navigate the recruitment process with confidence and achieve your international dreams.
There is only one person who can make your dream of playing sports at the international level a reality: you. The time you dedicate to mastering your sport, making connections, and studying different teams and leagues across the globe will all contribute to your success.