For millions, if not billions, it’s the dream career. Something they’ve fantasized about since they were little, something they’d give almost anything to pursue. But these people have obviously never been a reserve goalkeeper at Torquay United.
The English fifth-tier club’s back-up, just 20 years old, has retired to become a car salesman after making only six league appearances this season.
“If I’m honest, I fell out of love with the game, I didn’t really enjoy it any more,” Jordan Seabright told the BBC. “I didn’t see myself going anywhere and I want to have a career and be successful.”
With The Gulls sitting 14th in the Vanarama Conference table and reeling from a 3-0 FA Trophy home loss to Wrexham, the club may now be braced for more exits: perhaps the left back is now eying a career as a barista. Maybe the right winger’s considering training as a plumber. After all, that’s a job with more prospects and probably a higher salary than playing for Torquay, as well as a better chance of delivering customer satisfaction.
“It’s unusual but with someone like Jordan, who’s a bright lad and very switched on, he knows what he wants to do and he wants security,” manager Chris Hargreaves told the official club website while surfing monster.com for openings in sales and marketing.
“Football is a very hard industry and only the small percentage that get to the top will never have to worry about money. The rest do it because they love the game, it’s their dream and they can’t do anything else. He’s a lovely lad and a good person to work with, but he lost the appetite for football, and in any walk of life, losing the appetite for your profession is a big worry. We wish him all the best.”
As the BBC points out, Seabright is not alone in ditching soccer early in life. Former England, Tottenham and Blackburn midfielder David Bentley quit aged 29 last year, six years after Spurs paid 15 million pounds for him.
“The game has changed a lot – when I first started playing it was more about enjoying it. You went into work every day and it was brilliant. Now it’s a little bit robotic – with the social media side of it and the money that has come into the game. I hate to say it but it’s made it boring. It’s made it predictable and a bit too calculated,” he told Sky Sports.
Ex-Blackpool and Hull forward Ben Burgess retired aged 30 and became a teacher. “Nothing quite compares to scoring a goal, but watching a child finally grasp what you’ve spent hours teaching them, or to watch a boy who hates reading pick up a book and talk passionately about it, comes pretty close.”
Former Ipswich goalkeeper Shane Supple had the cojones to walk into then-manager Roy Keane’s office in 2009 and tell his fellow Irishman he was quitting aged 23. He is now a “soccer consultant” in Dublin.
Supple said that he quit because he was disillusioned with the attitudes of his fellow pros, rather than anything to do with Keane; not even his unorthodox preseason motivational techniques.
Supple told the Daily Mail in a 2009 interview that Keane made the Ipswich players spend two days doing assault courses and sleeping rough at an army barracks where they watched soldiers kill a pig for dinner. “They said the pig would not feel it but the pig shrieked,” he said.