Do semi-pro footballers get paid in the UK?

Not quite everyone can get to the professional level of football in the UK. There are thousands of players who play at the level just below professional. These players do get paid often. 

Do semi-pro footballers get paid in the UK? Semi-pro footballers do get paid in the UK. Their pay will vary but it will not be enough for the players on its own, meaning the players will often have other jobs. This is where the term Semi-pro comes from. Semi Professional, meaning half professional.

Semi-professional footballers are at the level below professional. These players do still get paid which is why they are called semi-professional. The difference between semi-professional and professional is that semi-professional players do not get a full-time wage. Their pay will not be enough to live on. 

Semi-professional players will usually have a job alongside playing football because the wage they earn from football will not be enough. It means that semi-professional players will usually only train a couple of times a week and they will train in the evening because the players are usually working during the day. 

But they do still get paid although the exact figure varies depending on the level that they are playing at. Players just outside of the EFL will be close to earning a professional wage but will need extra income to supplement their income because the money from the club is not enough. 

So they do certainly get paid even if it is not enough for a full-time wage. Due to not being paid full-time, they do not work full-time. 

How much do semi-pro football players make a week? 

The exact figure of how much semi-pro footballers make tends to vary massively. In the UK, many people recognise that outside of the top four leagues is when players start to go from being professional to being semi-professional. 

Players who are semi-professional will tend to earn anywhere between £100 and £600 per week but it varies on the quality of the player. For example, the level where players go from being professional to semi-professional is in the Conference. At this level, players will earn around £600 per week. 

This could be considered a professional wage as it is just slightly above the minimum wage in the UK. But these players tend to have another job which will also bring some form of income. This counts as semi-professional still because while they are paid, they often need another form of income. 

When you go down to the Conference South and North is when you get further down the pay scale. But football is so popular in England that there are quite a few leagues in England that are semi-professional. So it is only when you go a bit further down the pyramid in England that you will find players earning around £100 per week.

These players will definitely need another job for their income which is part of what makes them semi-professional. Players who earn more than £600 per week would likely be considered professionals as few of them would need another job for their income and so could play football full-time. 

Do semi-pro footballers get scouted? 

You might think that to be playing professional football you have to be with a professional football team from a young age and work through their academy before becoming a first-team player. But this is not always the case. 

Semi-professional footballers do sometimes get scouted by professional teams, with there being many examples of that in the UK. Professional teams will often send scouts to watch semi-professional games and at times will look to sign players who are playing at a semi-professional level. 

Best footballers to play semi-professional 

There have been quite a few phenomenal footballers who made their football career starts with semi-professional teams. In the UK there are a few different examples. 

Jamie Vardy, Ian Wright and Les Ferdinand all began their careers in football by playing at a semi-professional level. Ian Wright is a great example of a player who turned his career around in thanks to semi-professional football. Wright had been with professional academies during his teens but was unable to earn a professional contract. 

Having been dropped from professional academies, Wright originally played amateur football in his teens. He became a semi-professional footballer when he moved to Greenwich Borough in 1985 when he was 21 years old. At the time, Wright was paid £30 per week. 

He was not a semi-professional footballer for very long. Wright was playing for a South London team and so quite quickly Crystal Palace scouts had spotted him. After six or seven matches for Greenwich, he was invited for a trial at Selhurst Park. It worked out well for both as Wright is now looked at as one of the best players in team history. 

Jamie Vardy is a great example of a late bloomer in football in England at the moment. Vardy was part of the Sheffield Wednesday academy as a youngster but was released when he turned 16. 

Having been released, he signed for Stocksbridge Park Steels, originally playing for the reserve team. He eventually made it to the first team and by that point was earning £30 per week. It was his incredible performances at a semi-professional level that earnt Vardy a move to professional teams and eventually led to Vardy leading Leicester to a Premier League title. 

What level is semi-pro football? 

Semi-professional football is sometimes difficult to accurately identify. This is because the line between professional football and semi-professional football is often a blurred one.

In the UK, most people considered the Conference to be the highest level of semi-professional football. Most of these players will have other sources of income as the money they earn from football is not full-time. There are still some clubs at this level that offer professional wages and this is where the level gets complicated. 

As you go lower down the tiers, you will also have some teams who are semi-professional who play against amateur teams. This tends to happen around the 9th tier of English football but it varies massively around the world. 


Life long Portsmouth Fan and have followed football since 1993. Is there a better sport on earth?

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