#TDEU101 is a guide we came up with after hearing both good and the bad from coaches, players and teams. It's designed to be a helpful tool for everyone - domestic and import coaches and players, as well as organizations who are looking to hire coaches and players.
#TDEU101: How Much Will Europe Cost Me?
Summary: In this article we wanted to go over one of the most important things when it comes to signing a contract with a team - Money. Some come to Europe without having a salary, or, even worse - team doesn't end up paying what they're obligated.
You've decided you want to play or coach football overseas. Or, you're already overseas but you're switching to a team outside of your country. Best part about it, besides the new experience, is the fact that you will actually be able to get a paycheck for your services. BUT, it's not all so great. How to research teams will be one of the future topics, but now, let's focus on the budget.
"I've learned, the best way to manage money in Europe is to not spend it all in one day of course. But, to forget exchange rates and conversions for instance.... Just because in US dollars, it may be cheap...it's not in polish zloty. Treat money in Europe 1:1 to american money you'll end up with more money going home-that's for sure" says Andre Whyte, an import veteran who's currently signed with the Warsaw Eagles in Poland.
You can either receive a full salary that will get you through the month more than fine, or, there will be a small compensation where you might want to have a side job. Now, there's one more option - you're coming to Europe just to play for food and accommodation.
Let's say your future team and you have agreed on a certain salary. Of course, you need Plan B, Plan C and Plan D - even before things go south.
- You MUST prepare somewhere around $2000 in your account BEFORE leaving to Europe. You want to make sure you have some money on the side. What if the experience doesn't turn out to be as good as you thought - you want to be able to change your flight and go home. What if the team stops paying the salary - you want to be able to have something on the side for your day-to-day needs.
- You MUST look into side-jobs. Sure, team can promise they will HELP you look for a part time job. But, the reality is, most will not fix your paperwork and you will be on a tourist visa. Also, team is not obligated to look for a part time job for you, it's their own good will and extra time they will spend. If you can have an online business - great. If you can bring lots of gloves, compression shirts etc. and sell them in EU - even better. If you can do camps, workouts etc. - perfect.
- Make sure to have one or two close family members or friends who would be able to help you out if things are not the way they seemed.
This way, you won't have to stress too much about a situation you weren't planning to be in, and you can actually still benefit from the experience and set yourself up to get a better team for the next season.
Kendral Ellison, who's currently signed with the Saarland Hurricanes in Germany has been through it all - "My money management is pretty much based on a budget.. Once it's decided how much my salary will be I decide how much of that I will set back weekly or monthly depending on the teams pay periods. I break it down into necessities funds, fun money, and savings. Depending on your extracurricular activities you have the chance to save a good amount.
My main advice is not to live from pay day to pay day, put something back for rainy days and traveling. And learn to cook. You save so much more when you aren't eating out constantly. But ultimately Europe shouldn't cost you anything. Either you save or you break even and leave with what you came with."
So how much money are we talking about?
It really is tough to put a number on it - in certain countries you can live comfortably with 400 euro per month, and in some 2000 euro will be equal to that 400 in a less developed country. Note that living cost such as accommodation is the most expensive thing, but that's not something you should worry about since your team is covering for it.
You will mainly spend cash on:
- Food (if not covered by the team)
- Clubbing (if you want to save up - go for domestic drinks, no one really cares if that's Grey Goose in your glass). Ask your teammates on different prices at different clubs.
- Phone minutes (team will get you a pre-paid card and a phone, but don't expect them to pay for the minutes)
- Supplements (you will be buying your own supplements in 99% of cases)
- Transportation (in some cases team will not be covering the bus pass)
If your salary allows you to travel during bye weeks, embrace the opportunity!
We asked Nick Meijers of Dusseldorf Panthers, Germany, European player for his input on this topic: "I think Americans want to learn how Europe is. Like going out a lot or spending money on partying or other stuff like gambling and in some other cases even drugs. We all now in some countries in Europe some stuff is legal and in The States it isn't."
Srdjan Stanojev of Vukovi Belgrade, Serbia, pretty much agrees with his 'EU colleague' Nick: "It has to be McDonalds! But jokes aside - one of the scenarios is that imports come out to Europe seeing it as a vacation, which it is in a way as there is a lot of free time for them. Most spend most of their money on night life... and McDonalds (laughs)."
Don't use your teammates hospitality. If they keep paying for your tab at the restaurant or club - you want to make sure you pay for a round yourself. In most scenarios in Europe - people would go by rounds, and not pay separately for their drink in every round that comes in. Surely it's easy to play the 'foreigner' card, however, you don't want to be remembered for that, but for what you did on the field.