Posted by RLPA
Soliola: Do the groundwork early
Sia Soliola has now spent a full season away from playing since he drew the curtains on his 17-year career for the Roosters, Raiders and St Helens.
What has Sia, a former RLPA Board Director, been up to? And, what we can learn from his transition journey?
WHAT DID YOU DO IN YOUR FIRST YEAR OF RETIREMENT?
“I’m fortunate that I’m still involved in the game that I love, and I’ve enjoyed transitioning into being a Wellbeing and Education Manager for the Canberra Raiders. I still come into training and see everyone, but instead of sharing a locker room, I share an office.”
WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST DIFFICULT ABOUT RETIRING FROM THE NRL?
“Structure. Because I transitioned straight out of school into being full-time professional athlete, I was used to the system of having my days organised and scheduled for me.”
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU KNEW ABOUT TRANSITIONING THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHEN YOU WERE PLAYING?
“I had my time again; I wouldn’t have had the mindset of gaining multiple certificates in different fields. I understand now that doing the groundwork early and navigating which line of work that would best suit me and my skillset would’ve been a better option. It would’ve definitely saved me time, money and energy throughout my playing career.”
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL A YOUNG PLAYER ABOUT TRANSITIONING & RETIREMENT?
“To make a commitment to putting aside some time for life after football. Whether it be work experience, education, networking or just exploring what employment the player can connect with their personal skills. There are plenty of good people in and around our game that are more than happy to offer their support.”
HOW DID THE RLPA AND THE WELLBEING & EDUCATION PROGRAM HELP YOU TRANSITION?
“Just knowing that I still have a huge level of support a year after retirement really gives me confidence to navigate my way through the transition period. It’s also helped me to stay connected with some great people, especially old friends in our game.”
Malo le fa’amalosi! 🇼🇸 (Keep going in strength).