The World Cup is in full swing and naturally, it’s the talk of the office. This got us thinking about how we can tie the blog into this month-long Fiesta of Football. So we’ve been trawling the internet for stories of some of the stars at this summers’ tournament who’ve had some unexpected career paths.
The most famous example of this is England striker Jamie Vardy, who had a variety of jobs in his early 20’s as he plied his trade in the Non-League, as low as Division 8. Most notably whilst at Halifax, he would work night shifts in a local factory producing medical splints. Handing his notice in to concentrate on Football he was offered a professional contract at Fleetwood Town a week later.
Sticking with England, uncapped Burnley ‘keeper Nick Pope worked 4am shifts as a milkman as a 17-year-old after being released by Ipswich Town. He used the extra money to commute to training with Bury Town, now 26 he could be set for an appearance at the World Cup, after starting the season without a Premier League appearance.
Manchester City and Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus is likely to be one of the standout players of the tournament, and whilst only 21, he has also experienced a career away from Football. Whilst a youth player at Palmeiras he worked painting the streets of his local neighbourhood in 2014, in preparation for the last World Cup. He now has a mural on the walls of a housing block in the same district, which you can see here.
The Colombia and AC Milan striker is now one of the most reliable goal scorers in Europe. Having signed his first contact with local side Atletico Junior he needed extra work to help support his family. He worked as a fisherman in Puerto Colombia and as a Bus Driver’s assistant, before a move to Belgium in 2011 allowed him to focus solely on Football.
Hannes Thor Halldorsson
Iceland’s number 1 goalkeeper nearly gave up Football at the age of 20 to focus entirely on being a Film Director. He has worked on TV and Cinema and even won awards for his productions, which he is still involved with to this day, despite being professional since 2014.
Iceland are undoubtedly the kings in this department. For instance, manager Heimir Hallgrimsson, not content with overseeing the fortunes of his nation in their first World Cup; is still a practising Dentist in his local village. Right Back Birkir Saevarsson has been working as a Salt Packer in the off-season, to stop himself ‘getting lazy’ just before the World Cup!
We hope you enjoyed some of the unusual careers that some of the players have had, let us know if you’ve heard any others during the tournament.