So when they hang up the boots, those that don’t remain in football often head to the real world to earn a living. 

From training ground drills and recovery sessions to meetings, sales targets and ‘reaching out’ to clients, it’s a new world for these ex-sportsmen in the corporate and business space. 

But you may be surprised how well some of them have adapted to their new surroundings.

Here’s what five former A-League players are up to now. 

And we start with a well-educated former Phoenix and Jets midfielder who has made a huge impact on the sustainable sneaker market worldwide. 

Tim Brown

There are few if any former A-League players who speak at seminars for tech entrepreneurs.

The All White midfielder and former Phoenix skipper is the exception.

Some say he was always destined for success in the corporate and entrepreneurial space.

Brown reportedly dreamt up the idea of Allbirds in 2009.

Soon after the Wellington College and University of Cincinnati graduate enrolled in the London School of Economics.

He graduated with a masters in international management and the idea began to take flight.

Brown (right) during his Phoenix days

Allbirds launched in March 2016 after raising capital of about $4 million through a global crowdfunding platform and a US investment fund.

After years of researching Brown partnered with Joey Zwillinger, an engineer and renewables expert, to produce a wool fabric made specifically for footwear.

As an example, one of their lines is the "Tree topper" that features a SweetFoam sole, derived from sugar cane.

Allbirds has a range of seven shoe models, including a jandal.

By 2018 it had sold its millionth pair.

The company now has a team of around 170 based in San Francisco

Allbirds is said to be worth a couple of billion dollars and has celebrity investors that include Hollywood A-lister Leo Di Caprio as well as Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.