TRAVIS Dodd is once again leading from the front — this time as a role model for A-League professionals losing their jobs — now that he is an executive in the ‘real’ world.
The former Adelaide United captain and ex-Socceroo is NAB bank’s business development manager and Wednesday was revealed as MetroStars assistant coach.
Dodd is one of hundreds of players to the face harsh reality of deciding what the future holds beyond the game.
The issue has dogged the sport across the globe for decades and with the A-League approaching its 12th season Dodd, 36, says he is seeing many former players’ lives fall apart post professional football.
The South Australian only wished he had made a commitment to studies earlier.
Dodd had been a fulltime professional soccer player since 1999 until 2014 when a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament injury ended his A-League career.
“After my career Perth Glory life was really difficult,’’ Dodd said.
“I did all right during my playing days financially, but it wasn’t something to set me and my family up.
“I struggled with finding something I was really going to enjoy doing after the game.”
Dodd, who worked as an administrator during his playing days with Adelaide City, decided to study for a finance degree, real estate licence and mortgage broking while he was at Glory.
Then NAB offered Dodd a career too good to refuse.“I came back to Adelaide this year (from Perth) and it was like starting over again,’’ Dodd said.
“When you play football all of your life you don’t worry about anything else and it wasn’t until I hit 30 and went to Perth and I thought “gee what am I going to do after the game.”
“I never thought about it until then it was like I was a teenager all over again.”
Dodd says he loves his new job after ending his playing career in the worst possible way.
He ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament on Sunday two minutes before MetroStars bowed out of the NPL finals series in a 1-0 loss to Birkalla.
He says he is lucky he has a career to fall back on after his retirement game turned into a disaster, three years after suffering the same injury with Perth Glory.