Should there be a football academy league?

The Football Academy League?

Most coaches will tell you that the match results aren’t important as it’s all about player development!

Of course, player development is the main reason you let your child go to an academy in the first place, instead of having fun and winning trophies playing for your local Sunday League team. By that, I don’t mean that you can’t have fun if you are in a football academy, but you certainly won’t be winning any trophies!

The great mystery every Sunday is how the team you are about to play have been doing! Are they winning games, losing, or somewhere in between! Match results seem to be a closely guarded secret with the opposition’s parents providing the only clue as to how hard the next 80 minutes or so is going to be.

Football academy league – controversial or what?

As football is a team game, surely the ultimate objective at the end of all the hours that academy players spend training each week is to

The Football Academy League?

Should there be a league for all academies?

bring it all together on a Sunday morning in the game.

If a team plays twenty games over the season and loses fifteen of them does that mean that the players in that team are technically less gifted than most of the other academy players, or maybe they have poorer coaches, or possibly a smaller squad? Match results must be a good indicator as to how an academy is developing their players!

Creating a league for each age group would prove controversial because it would be deemed to be inappropriate by the Football league and the kill joys that have ruined summer football festivals for thousands of youngsters by banning under 7/8 teams from winning trophies and playing quarter and semi -finals! Luckily, my son’s team won all their summer tournament trophies at under 7 and 8 before that ridiculous rule was implemented.

Talk to any under 7 players or parent at any summer football festival and ask them if they would like to be playing for a trophy and they would all say absolutely yes!

Learning to win and lose is all part of life so why not educate kids at an early age so that they can deal with the disappointment of losing as well as the joy of winning?

So why not introduce a regional league for each age group?

Post your comments below!

5 comments… add one

  • I am 11 and today I am hopefully going to be signed for cardiff city’s academy. Do you have to pay to be in an academy?

  • Bazza

    from what i understand the younger academy teams (U9 – U12) aren’t judged as a team, they’re all judged as individuals. The coaches are looking for an increase in development and ability year on year, as well as having the correct apttitude to deal with being a member of a larger squad.

    I think this is why there isn’t any appetite to create academy leagues. For a long time acadamies have been trying to get away from the focus on winning games and more on individual player development. So although the kids play as a team they are all being ranked on an individual basis.

    I don’t think the amount of games you win is a true reflection of development, especially at the younger end of the scale where things like physicality will always dominate over skill and technique. But as the physical side balances out as the kids get older, so the kids that were big for their age at 9 may not be the better players when they get to 14-15. Just look at Barcelona for the perfect example

    • Richard

      From my sons experience you are absolutely right Bazza. My son was released by a league club at U12, where we thought he was doing quite well especially in the games but they said they have no interest in game time on Sundays it was all about training and development of the boys in that environment.

  • Bazza

    Percy – Most acadamy training is free. However you have to be asked to attend, usually by an official scout who works for the club. Most youngsters are given a six week trial, after which they will either be given a contract, advised they didn’t meet the level required but displayed above average ability and asked to attend a development centre (if the club run one) or they will be advised they didn’t meet the level required and not asked back.

    Lot’s of professional teams operate development centres. These allow clubs to offer training, provided by professional coaches to players they feel have potential to improve. The idea being that you may not be ready yet, but with the right sort of training you may be ready to trial for the academy at some point in the future. Some development centres charge for this training and some don’t. Pot luck really.

    Lot’s more professional teams now operate foundation courses, usually hosted at local schools. These are usually open to all but obviously you have to pay for training. Sometimes attendees to these courses may be asked to join the local development centre and possibly progress to the academy. But there’s no guarantee of this

    Finally more and more soccer schools are opening all over the UK. These are run by professional coaches. They usually offer training a few nights, and usually charge between £5 – £10 per session. Some of these soccer schools build teams that sometimes play against other professional clubs development centres

    For a young guy like your self there’s lots of opportunity to improve your playing ability. But just remember not everyone is lucky enough to make it as a professional footballer. But most importantly playing football is about having fun, so above all go out there and enjoy yourself!!

  • russell

    my son played in Spain before he signed for an English club Academy and they play competitive football from a very early age.We don’t! Need I say more? When did we last win anything? Kids want to play to win, sorry if i’m not PC.

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