January 2022

IZA DP No. 15024: Which Former Professional Football Players Become Successful Professional Head Coaches?

Matteo Balliauw, Marco Verheuge, Stijn Baert

One of the potential avenues for former professional football players to pursue their career is to become a head coach of a club’s first team. An important question is how to best prepare for such a reconversion. This letter is the first in the academic literature quantifying the association between success as a professional head coach and prior experience of former professional players as a youth coach, player-coach, head coach at a lower division, assistant coach, in other staff positions and in club management positions. Our regression analyses, based on unique coach career data, show a significant positive association for the jobs of assistant or youth coach.