How to Become a Football Ball Boy in the UK

Stephanie Beatrice

Before a football match begins, the players and a group of children in jerseys enter the pitch. These young children are the football ball boys and girls. Their main job is to retrieve and supply balls for football players.

In most cases, the football team associations choose ball boys for their clubs, like the youth academy or the local youth leagues.

If you want to become a ball boy, here is a guide explaining the steps you should follow.

Who is a Football Ball Boy? 

Ball boys and girls are the young children stationed near the football pitch’s edges to retrieve balls that go out of play.

A typical ball boy and girl group has six members; 4 of them are stationed at the end of each goalpost and two on either side of the sidelines. 

The process of becoming a ball boy varies among various football clubs and is usually left to their discretion.

To qualify as a ball boy, you must have your parent’s consent, be an excellent ball catcher and ball thrower, and be willing to sit on the pitch throughout the match.

Ball boys are trained to roll, feed, and receive balls and stand still in the courtside pose per the game’s requirements.

Can Anyone Become a Ball Boy?

Well, there are no age limits when it comes to ball boy jobs, but many football clubs prefer young people between the ages of 11 and 16.

Manchester City, for example, selects ball boys and girls in the U12 and U14 teams to take positions behind the goal and along the touchlines. 

While there are no specific skills or qualifications for someone to become a ball boy, one should maintain physical fitness, master football rules, and attend all the home matches. 

A potential ballboy needs to be attentive to the game proceedings and should possess the agility to respond to situations quickly.

Put simply, a ball boy is just like a footballer, only outside the field and without kicking. 

How Much Does a Football Ball Boy Get Paid in the UK?

A football ball boy’s average earnings is £39,654 annually in the UK. The average hourly salary is £36 – £50 per hour, with the lowest salary ranging between £25 – £30 per hour.

A ballboy’s salary varies depending on the team they work for, the league level, and the importance of the game. 

Requirements for Becoming a Football Ball Boy in the UK

Ball boys are an important part of football in the UK
Ball boys are an important part of football in the UK

Most ball boys and girls are selected from academy clubs, supporter clubs, youth leagues, and schools. However, you can also apply for boy ball jobs online on job sites like Indeed. 

 Here are the requirements you need to know if you want to become a ballboy or girl: 

1. Learn the Football Rules

A ball boy’s key role is to retrieve the ball that goes out of play. This helps to reduce time wastage as players don’t have to retrieve the balls themselves.

To carry out this role successfully, you need to know the rules of the game. It helps you predict when the ball will go out of play. 

Apart from catching the ball, you’re also expected to recover it in unique circumstances.

For instance, when a ball lands near a ball boy close to the post, and it is not on their team’s side, you can recover it.

2. Have an Open Mind

Keep an open mind to the many possibilities that could occur on the pitch. In a split second, you must take fast actions to minimize match interference. 

Carefully observe the opposition team’s moves and be careful not to annoy the fans or players. Their reactions can get unfriendly and fast. In this case, keep your composure and focus on your responsibility on the pitch.

3. Master Speed and Agility

Speed and agility are some of the basic and most important criteria for selecting a ball boy and girl. You must be observant and fast to retrieve and return the ball to the players. 

Based on the multi-ball system, seven balls are stationed around the pitch and deployed to ball boys and girls.

When a delay occurs in retrieving another out-of-play match ball, quickly roll the ball into the pitch to speed the game up.

4. Excellent Ball-Catching Skills

A good ballboy should make great catches when receiving and giving balls on the field. The ball-catching skill should go hand in hand with fast balling passing. 

An incident showing how critical good ball-catching skills are occurred in January 2013, when Swansea ballboy Charlie Morgan was kicked by Eden Hazard for lying on the ball during a League Cup match between Swansea City and Chelsea.

The Chelsea player received a red card, and the manager had to apologize to the ball boy on Hazard’s behalf.

5. Throw the Ball to your Home Team

Throwing the ball to the rival team is not only an embarrassing mistake but also a grievous one that can cost your team the match.

An example of such an erroneous mistake that went down in history was when the Spurs ball boy threw the ball rather enthusiastically to Famagusta player Konstantinos Louboutis.

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