General information about playing in Europe as a professional player

Europe offers 47 different countries. In the majority of those countries, there will be leagues in which both men and women can earn money playing the game of basketball. Europe is smaller than the USA. Each country has a different language. The newspapers are in this langue, TV and Radio as well.

Between the western European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Holland, England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Luxembourg, Denmark) there are no borders. As an American, you don't need a visa to come over to Europe, but you do need a PASSPORT. To get a passport will take between 2-4 month, it depends on where you are. Normally you apply for it at the post office. All the big cities have a passport office. If you are willing to pay 100 -200 dollars extra, you can get the passport quicker. No team will pay for your passport and no team will wait for your passport. You can´t sign a contract without a passport in hand!

Some countries also ask for working visa and for long term staying permission. In some country for example Germany the club will get these things done for you after your arrived. Other countries like France have strict rules and the visa needs to be done in your home country at the French Embassy or Consulate.

Europe has its own currency. In 90% of the western European countries the currency is the EURO. One Euro is equivalent to about 1,13 American dollars. The exchange rate is different from bank to bank and from day to day.

A lot of languages are spoken in Europe but nearly everyone speaks English. In most countries, English is the first foreign language that kids learn at school, starting in grade 5.

Basketball in Europe is played at clubs. Schools and colleges do not provide any teams. Good basketball is offered by clubs which are supported by sponsorships. These sponsorships come from big companies or local firms. For most of the clubs it's very hard to get a good amount of money together. Women's basketball has problems all over Europe. Men's basketball is on TV in basically every country, which makes it easier for the division one teams.

Basketball is organized in divisions. It starts at division one and sometimes it goes down to division five.

A lot of teams in different divisions only practice 3 times a week in the afternoon and have only one game on the weekend.

What is important, is that you get a good start on a good team. You need to get your name out, even if you don't make as much money as you would like to in your first year.

The main thing that clubs expect, when a player comes to them, is that the player is in top playing shape and is prepared to do what it takes to maintain his or her professional level.