Kevin Doyle: How to be an ex-footballer
When a footballer hangs up their boots, the news reports often read like obituaries.
However, it is only one part of their professional career that has passed away. And, like any personal upheaval, the full ramifications are rarely felt until a good few months have passed.
Kevin Doyle was forced to retire from football in September 2017 at the age of 34 after suffering complications over concussions. An intelligent, hard-working striker, his 16-year career including successful spells at Reading, Wolves and, in the US, where our paths crossed at the Colorado Rapids. Doyle also won 63 caps for Ireland, scoring 14, with the highlight being his involvement in Euro 2012.
Doyle’s decision to call time drew tributes laced a tinge of sadness, given the enforced nature of his retirement. But, a few months on, how is he feeling? How is he reassessing his life and career? Where is he going next? And how does it feel to be a former footballer?
2.45 The story of Kevin’s retirement.
“I found it hard, it was only advice... I was not an injury that stopped me running... The hardest part was the sudden nature”
5.12 Pushing against the macho culture of football
“I would have preferred to be told, 'no you are not on the pitch'... It took me four or five weeks to figure out what I was doing and take the advice... I was told that the next concussion won’t go away”
7.40 The statement that opened up a debate – deliberate or not?
“It was not the one concussion against LA, it had built up... Some of the earlier ones were concussions I just did not realise it at the time... You have to be truthful to yourself, the doctors can’t look inside your head”
11.10 The dementia issue and Alan Shearer’s documentary
“I laughed when I heard they were stopping headers in the US boys’ soccer”
12.57 What has he learnt about retiring from football
“Now all of a sudden I can’t function without diaries... I find it frustrating when people ask you what I am doing”
15.40 How much planning had been done ahead of time
“You are stupid if you are not planning from day one... I planned all long for this, but I had not planned for the day-to-day”
17.04 Taking opportunities to do different things
“I never thought I see players back in pre-season and feel I like to join in”
18.19 The problems that happen to athletes when they retire
“You try not to be stupidly spending. I hope I not been flash with my money, I don’t think I have... I was planning retirement when I was playing in the League of Ireland”
20.28 The loss of identity
“I never felt proud to say but yes I was proud to be a pro soccer player... No club is invested in your future now... I need something to have a reason, a reason to get up in the morning”
22.40 Learning the ropes of running a stud farm
24.25 Who has been contacting him since retirement
“I have had a couple of players contact me about the MLS... There was a lot of interest in the concussion issue. I have turned down as much as can”
25.50 Reaping the rewards of maintaining a positive reputation
“I have not been ringing people for favours, but I feel I could... I feel a connection with any club I played with for more than a year”
27.41 Is there a desire to paying your dues?
29.10 Getting your coaching badges and going back to the books
“I don’t know if I want to stay in football... Sometimes I think who wants to be a coach but who wants to move their family that much?”
30.21 The competitive nature of carving a career in television
“You don’t realise who much work you need to put in to talk for 10 minutes... It is not something that comes naturally, you have to work at it”
31.55 Criticising/analysing friends who are still playing
“That is something I would not like... As I get further away from the game, it will become easier”
32.55 Self-promotion, social media
“It was great for putting out my statement... I find it hard to use Twitter because people don’t get my humour”
34.20 Do you still like football?
“I would say that I am going to work, they would laugh at me... You can escape it a little bit more in the US...vIf I had finished in England it would be a bigger withdrawal symptom. I was weaned off. It has made for an easier transition”
37.01 Pushing against the temptation to cling on
“You trick yourself and you have to trick yourself... I am glad it came to an end at a good standard in front of loads of fans”
38.37 Looking back on his career
“No one from where I came from ever played for Ireland or went to the US... I am proud that I beat the odds and proved people wrong”