February 9, 2017

Developing footballers through the Academy system

Written by:
Kenneth Rae

In a new feature for 2017, we're rounding up and sharing the best coaching articles on the internet. The first in the series looks into the subject of developing footballers through the academy system. Often given a tough press with the Premier League's financial klout and preference to sign expensive foreigners, we've listed six pieces that give a fair and honest reflection on some of the opportunities that exist for clubs in developing their players.

  1. Sell-ons, bench warmers and fil-ins: the life of Premier League graduates - Barney Ronay (Guardian)

Interview with former Arsenal graduate Zach Fagan who was dumped out of the Football Academy, despite being picked up at a young age and given grand illusions on his potential. The author suggests this country has widely-flawed Academy structures.

2. Football Talent Spotting: Are clubs getting it wrong with kids? (BBC Sport)

A detailed study into youth football completed by journalist Alistair Magowan of the BBC. He broaches the commonly accepted issue in football academies; that of their low retention rates. The article doesn't just criticise however, indeed interviewing many names within the industry who provide suggestions on how to improve the system.

3. The Difficulties with Academies & the Elite Player Performance Programme - The Whitehouse Address

Writing about the disbandment of Brentford’s Academy, the author suggests that once football clubs just below the top level are not seeing a financial return on their Academy investment, they switch focus and look to spend money elsewhere, to the detriment of the Academy and its players.

4. Football, fire and ice: the inside story of Iceland's remarkable rise - Barney Ronay (Guardian)

Investing so heavily in coaching and coach education was a risky decision for a small country such as Iceland, but it was rewarded so handsomely at the 2016 World Cup. A second piece from Barney Ronay who delves into the structure of football in the country and how they’ve achieved so much success despite their small population, in direct comparison to the British Academy traditions.

5. Eric Dier's Portuguese education set him apart from his peers - FourFourTwo

Eric Dier despite his tender age, has some strong thoughts on aspects English Academies could improve having been brought through the Portuguese Academy system.

6. FA's youth coaching game-changer means more ball-work and less shouting - Jamie Fahey (Guardian)

An interesting look at how facilities and coach education within grassroots football are stifling potential volunteers coming forward to help. The author suggests the FA are not doing enough to rectify this, despite creation of different schemes in the past year.

The first part of our 'Best Reads' series. Look out for the next one shortly and please suggest further articles or subjects you feel are pertinent from the world of coaching.

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