Football coaching jobs in Saudi Arabia. What should you expect?

Over the past 3 months the eyes of the world have been on the Gulf in relation to Football. Firstly, In Qatar, we had one of the best World Cup Tournaments ever to be staged and more recently the ‘GOAT’ Cristiano Ronaldo made the move to Riyadh based Al Nassr FC. So what is it like to work within football in the Gulf?

In Saudi Arabia, working as a football coach, can be a unique and rewarding experience, but it can also come with certain challenges. Here are a few things to consider before making that move:

  1. Cultural differences: Saudi Arabia has a distinct culture and way of life that may be different from what you’re used to. It’s important to familiarise yourself with the customs, values, and social norms of the country, especially when working with local athletes or teams. This is so important, you can alienate yourself very quickly should you not respect the local culture on and off the pitch.
  2. Climate: Saudi Arabia has a hot desert climate, which can make outdoor sports and training challenging. Coaches will need to be aware of the heat and make adjustments to training schedules and facilities accordingly. Increase the amount of water breaks and always look to discuss team talks in the shade.
  3. Language barriers: While English is widely spoken in Saudi Arabia, it may not be the first language of all of the athletes you work with. Be prepared to communicate with athletes who may not speak fluent English.
  4. Legal restrictions: There are certain legal restrictions in Saudi Arabia that may affect how you work as a football coach. Take advice from locals to guarantee protocol is adhered to.
  5. Opportunities: Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in sports infrastructure and is looking to develop its sports sector. It really is a fantastic time to enter the football job market within the country. Coaches will often find the Gulf region acts as a ’roundabout’ in relation to job opportunities.  Once you get a football related job in the region then you will find it so much easier finding another in a neighbouring country, for example in UAE, Bahrain Or Oman. This is due to the employer feeling comfortable that you have experienced the challenges in the Gulf before in the previous role therefore transition in to a new role should be seamless.
  6. Visa: Make sure your employer guarantees a Visa within the contract of employment. A Vis will automatically then guarantee private health insurance to work in Kingdom

There is no doubt that coaching in Saudi Arabia can be a challenging but the benefits in our opinion far outweigh those challenges. Such instant benefits could include:

  1. Professional growth opportunities: Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in sports infrastructure and is looking to develop its sports sector. This can open up a lot of opportunities for sports coaches, especially in football.
  2. Competitive compensation: Sports coaches in Saudi Arabia can expect to earn competitive salaries and benefits packages.
  3. Cultural immersion: Saudi Arabia has a rich and unique culture, and working as a coach in the country can provide an opportunity to learn more about the country, its customs, and its people.
  4. Access to top-level facilities and resources: Saudi Arabia has some of the best sports facilities and resources in the region, which can be beneficial for coaches and athletes alike.
  5. Diverse coaching opportunities: Saudi Arabia offers a wide variety of sports including football, basketball, volleyball, Tennis, etc. This can provide opportunities for coaches to specialise in their preferred sport or to gain experience coaching different sports.
  6. Building a legacy: As a coach in Saudi Arabia, you will have the opportunity to work with talented athletes and be part of the development of sports in the country, which can be a great source of pride and satisfaction. As an expat coach you are looked upon as an expert in your field and this can feel rewarding personally.
  7. Tax-free income: Saudi Arabia has no income tax, which can increase the net income of the coach.
  8. Expat package: Some of the larger companies and sports organisations in Saudi Arabia offer expat packages, which can include housing, transportation, flights, and other benefits. This can make the transition to living and working in Saudi Arabia much easier.

The people of Saudi Arabia are fanatics when it comes to football. They are big supporters of the major European leagues such as Premier League and La Liga.  However their own National Team has been successful over the years, winning the AFC Asian Cup three times (1984, 1988, and 1996) and participating in the FIFA World Cup eight times (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018, 2022 ). The country has also hosted several major international tournaments, including the AFC Asian Cup in 1984, the Gulf Cup of Nations in 1992, and the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1989.

In addition, Saudi Arabia has also been playing a key role in the development of football in the region and the world by organizing and hosting international tournaments such as the Italian Super Cup, Italian Cup, Spanish Super Cup, and the G-20 Football Summit.

Saudi Arabia, the developing face of football in the Gulf.

(Picture: FFF Academy, KSA)
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