Home Training Program – Week of April 27, 2020

 

Monday

Yoga – Yoga with Robert Pires

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Skills Session – Change of Direction 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Robin Van Persie Podcast 

 

Tuesday

Yoga – Ryan Giggs Yoga Workout – complete 30 minutes 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town –  (see below)

 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform 45 mins Skills Work – Video Link

 

Dinner Ideas 

Improve knowledge of Match Analysis – Pick one high level soccer game to analyze. Pick one player to follow (who plays your position) and make notes on what they do in possession/out of possession and in transition (between attack/defence and between defence/attack)

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

 

Wednesday  

Yoga – Ryan Giggs Yoga – complete 30 minutes 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (Maxone) – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness: Running – SoccerPulse (see below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glasgow Rangers Skills Challenge (See Video Below)

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Tom Bates Sports Psychology 

Thursday 

Yoga – For Soccer Players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (MaxOne)– can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town  (See below)

 

 

Skills Session – Improve Dribbling 

 

 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

Friday 

Yoga – with Robert Pires 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness:  Running- SoccerPulse  (see below)

 

 

Glasgow Rangers  Skills Work  (see below)

 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training:  Top 5 tips for football visualization 

Saturday 

Yoga – For Soccer Players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town  (see below)

 

Ball Mastery Skills Session  (see below) – video link

 

 

 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

Sunday 

Yoga – for Soccer Players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Home Training (Maxone) – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness:  Running: SoccerPulse  (see below)

 

Strength Training : Download Nike Training App and follow Ronaldo’s 15 minute quick-hit abs program

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – How to become a Pro 

Home Training Program – Week of April 20, 2020

 

Monday

Yoga – Power Yoga for Sports 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Glasgow Rangers Skills Challenge ( see below)

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Goal Setting 

 

Tuesday

Yoga – with Robert Pires – Home Yoga Workout 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town –  (see below)

 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform 45 mins Skills Work – Video Link

 

Dinner Ideas 

Improve knowledge of Match Analysis – Pick one high level soccer game to analyze. Pick one player to follow (who plays your position) and make notes on what they do in possession/out of possession and in transition (between attack/defence and between defence/attack)

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

 

Wednesday  

Yoga – for Soccer Players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (Maxone) – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness: Running – SoccerPulse (see below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glasgow Rangers Skills Challenge (See Video Below)

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – How to play with confidence

Thursday 

Yoga – For Athletes 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (MaxOne)– can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town  (See below)

 

 

Coerver Skills Session – Video link 

 

 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

Friday 

Yoga – for youth players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness:  Running- SoccerPulse  (see below)

 

 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Skills Work  (see below) – video link 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training:  Top 5 tips for football visualization 

Saturday 

Yoga – with Robert Pires – Home Yoga Workout 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town  (see below)

 

Coerver Skills Session  (see below) – video link

 

 

 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

Sunday 

Yoga – for Soccer Players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Home Training (Maxone) – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness:  Running: SoccerPulse  (see below)

 

Strength Training : Download Nike Training App and follow Ronaldo’s 15 minute quick-hit abs program

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – How to become a Pro 

Launch of Elite High Performance Program for Players Looking to Prepare to Play Pro – Limited to 20 players

 

Parents/players,
I hope everyone is healthy and staying safe during these challenging times. During the coronavirus I have been guided by three goals:
  • Ensure the safety of our players and their families
  • Provide online coaching support to the players free of charge
  • Maintain regular and open communication with our players and their families

While these are challenging times I also believe that they represent an unprecedented opportunity for North American players to close the performance gap on academy players at professional clubs in Europe. All the professional clubs in Europe are currently closed which provides our young players with a “level playing field”. All players throughout the world are faced with the challenges of maximizing their training time at home and it will be the players with the discipline and dedication to do the “right things” every day who will excel.
During the last few weeks I have secured partnerships with two of the best online training programs in world football. One partner focuses on the foundation phase (players aged 9-12) and it’s online training program is currently being used within 10 professional academies in the UK (including English Premier Club Sheffield United). The second partner specializes in training players within the youth development phase (ages 13-16) and the professional development phase (ages 17-23) and has partnered with ex-professional players and some of the best youth players across clubs in Europe. They have received an award for the best online soccer training APP in world football.
I am launching a NEW HIGH ONLINE PERFORMANCE 12 MONTH PROGRAM with 4 months FREE! 
 
This program is designed for players fully committed to going “above and beyond” to ultimately secure a position at a professional club in Europe. It will run from April 2020 – April 2021 and players will make NO payments until August 1/2020! 
 
It will only be open to 10 players (10 in foundation phase Ages 9-12) and (10 in youth development/professional) Ages 13-18+) and  will provide these players with FREE online software from these partners plus online individual coaching support (from myself) that will include one Skype call/month plus regular online coaching support via WhatsApp. 
 
This new initiative is specifically designed for players who are prepared to train everyday and will 100 % dedicate themselves towards travelling to Europe within the next 12 months and being successful within a professional club environment.
The conditions of this offer are :
  1. I will only be selecting players who can demonstrate their consistent dedication to continuous development at a High Performance Level
  2. The players selected must commit to attending one International ID Camp with one of our professional club partners within the next 12 months
  3. The players selected must commit to travelling over to Europe to train at one of our professional club partners within the next 12 months
  4. All players must sign a 12 month contract for online coaching support with NO fees due until August 1st.  Effective August 1st a monthly fee will be charged of $66/month that will include FREE online software from our NEW partners, ongoing individual coaching support from myself and the opportunity to submit 1 game video/month for game analysis.
I am limiting this offer to only 20 players and providing our regular players (like yourselves) with 1st option. I will be sending out this information to other groups beginning tomorrow and plan on having all positions filled by Monday April 20th.
If you are interested in applying for this opportunity please complete the attached application form – APPLY HERE  . Successful candidates will be notified by Friday April 17th.
Keep pushing and stay safe!
Ian

 

 

 

 

 

Home Training Program – Week of April 13

 

Monday

Yoga – Power Yoga for Sports 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Glasgow Rangers Skills Challenge ( see below)

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Tom Bates: Raise your game 

 

Tuesday

Yoga – with Robert Pires – Home Yoga Workout 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town –  (see below)

 

 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Skills Work – Video Link

 

 

 

 

Dinner Ideas 

Improve knowledge of Match Analysis – SoccerHub FREE course 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

 

Wednesday  

Yoga – for Soccer Players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (Maxone) – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness: Running – SoccerPulse (see below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glasgow Rangers Skills Challenge (See Video Below)

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training –  Tom Bates – Setting Goals for the New Season 

Thursday 

Yoga – For Athletes 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training (MaxOne)– can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town  (See below)

 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Skills Work  (see below) – video link 

 

 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

Friday 

Yoga – for youth players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness:  Running- SoccerPulse  (see below)

 

 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Skills Work  (see below) – video link 

 

 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training: Gary Neville How to Become a Winner 

Saturday 

Yoga – with Robert Pires – Home Yoga Workout 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Home Training (MaxOne) – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town  (see below)

 

 

 

Ian McClurg Perform Skills Work (see below) – video link

 

 

 

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

Sunday 

Yoga – for Soccer Players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Home Training (Maxone) – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness:  Running: SoccerPulse  (see below)

 

Strength Training : Download Nike Training App and follow Ronaldo’s 15 minute quick-hit abs program

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Dan Abrahams – 5 tips to improve the brain 

 

The Importance of Self–Motivation in Becoming a Top Player

During an interview former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger outlined the importance of young players learning to be “consistently motivated” in order to play at the highest levels of the game.

In his typically thoughtful style, Wenger defined a motivated person as “someone who has the capacity to recruit the resources to complete a goal.” 

In summary, Wenger believes that when you look at people who are successful they are the ones who are consistently motivated and always willing to made sacrifices to achieve their goals. This mirrors what I have seen during my time in youth soccer.  We have had players join our program at various ages and abilities. The ones that I believe can go on to play at higher levels are the ones who are determined to truly make themselves players. During training, they simply get on with it. They train like it will be their last session and are constantly on the edge during our technical warm-ups, trying new things and not being content with their current level of skill.

When we play small-sided games and constantly change conditions, they are the players quickly working out how to succeed within the changing environment. They are the players who are capable of playing at a high level themselves but also inspiring and helping other players around them. In football (soccer) your teammates are the best judge of your performance. Despite what parents and even coaches see on the sidelines, teammates are the ones who truly know if you’re making yourself available for passes, making runs off the ball into open space, changing the point of attack based on what the opposition is doing, making tracking runs back to assist the defence and able to produce something a little different when the pressure is on.

Players and their parents do not often realize how much coaches learn about players when you observe them off the field. Are they mixing well socially, do they carry their own boots and training bag, do they tie their own laces? These behaviours can all be indicators of how self-motivated players are and can give a very good idea of whether or not take responsibility for preparation themselves. Do players ask questions during training to the coaching staff as they try to understand instructions? Can they work things out for themselves, solve problems, and are they determined to overcome obstacles?

Think of the last time you truly had to work out something by yourself. Maybe you had a flat tire, your lawnmower was not working or you just could not get in touch with your boss to make an important decision. We’ve likely all been in those situations where we have had to work things out for ourselves and have had no other options. Chances are you probably exceeded your own expectations of yourself and successfully resolved the issue. You probably also felt a surge of pride and confidence in accomplishing that.

That is exactly the type of feeling that we should be trying to instill in our young players. Parents and coaches can both contribute to this. Parents can give young players the responsibility of checking on their training times and game schedules, emailing the coach if they cannot make a practice or game. The players can be responsible for packing their own equipment and water, carrying their own training bag and tying their own laces. Coaches can help by giving players the responsibility for warm-up, taking care of equipment and even providing them the responsibility to think up and organize the small-sided game at the end of practice.

As a player gets older, this approach becomes more and more important. One of our players  attended a camp at a US university a few years ago, where she learned from the coaching staff that if a parent sends an email to a coach inquiring about the team’s program and showing interest in their daughter being recruited, that player’s name goes to the “bottom of the list” . Many coaches at that level are only interested in dealing with players who take the initiative on their own, and not with potentially intrusive parents.

We have many good technical young players in North America. If they can merge  good technique with consistent motivation as outlined by Wenger, then we can expect great things from our young players. If we shelter them from decision-making and responsibility on and off the field, my fear is that we will develop skillful young players who will struggle later on with the skill-sets they will need to overcome the inevitable set-backs that elite sport will throw their way.

Let’s teach young players to be determined, demanding of themselves to improve and to be consistent with it. If young players can do that, then they can achieve success at the higher levels.  

HOME TRAINING PROGRAM – WEEK OF APRIL 6

 

Monday

Yoga – Power Yoga for Sports 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Glasgow Rangers Skills Challenge ( see below)

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Dan Abrahams: Match Scripts   

 

Tuesday

Yoga – with Robert Pires – Home Yoga Workout 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town –  (see below)

 

Dinner Ideas 

Improve knowledge of Match Analysis – SoccerHub FREE course 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

 

Wednesday  

Yoga – for Soccer Players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness: Running – SoccerPulse (see below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glasgow Rangers Skills Challenge

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – 5 Tips from Dan Abrahams 

Thursday 

Yoga – For Athletes 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform  Home Training – can sign up for FREE here 

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town  (See below)

 

Glasgow Rangers Skills Challenge (see below)

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

Friday 

Yoga – for youth players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Home Training – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness:  Running- SoccerPulse  (see below)

 

Glasgow Rangers Skills Challenge (see below)

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training -Tom Bates: How to develop a winning mindset 

Saturday 

Yoga – with Robert Pires – Home Yoga Workout 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Home Training – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Strength Training: Fleetwood Town  (see below)

 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Home Training – Repeat this morning’s session — can sign up for FREE here

Dinner Ideas 

Mental Skills Training – Download and Listen to Mindset Workout from DoSo App

Sunday 

Yoga – for Soccer Players 

Breakfast Ideas 

Ian McClurg Learn Perform Home Training – can sign up for FREE here

Lunch Ideas 

Fitness:  Running: SoccerPulse  (see below)

 

Strength Training : Download Nike Training App and follow Ronaldo’s 15 minute quick-hit abs program

Dinner Ideas 

 

How North American Players can Play in Europe

As soccer nations, the US and Canada are still very young. With that comes a lack of structure at the professional levels of the game, when compared to the more “mature” soccer nations of Europe.

There are fewer professional playing opportunities for the young North American players and a lack of clear pathways to play professionally. Major League Soccer (MLS) does provide some options for young players; however, with only 19 teams for all of the US and Canada, opportunities are limited. 

MLS academies typically train 3-4 times/week with one game (which duplicates European academies) but this type of program is typically limited to players within a 1-1.5 hour drive time of the team’s training facilities. There is a similar drive-time restriction at various age-groups for young players in England attending professional club academies, but the difference is that there are 92 professional clubs in England, meaning that the majority of young players are within a relatively easy driving time.  Canada launched it’s new professional league last year, however, there are no academy programs planned by these professional teams so there is no clear pathway, like Europe, from a youth academy program right through to the first team. 

Since 2000,  I have taken one 14-year-old player (Adam Bouchard) to Sevilla FC in Spain for a trial and two other players subsequently attended a four week program at Wolves. One of these players subsequently went on to attend the Swansea City academy.  More recently, Theo Corbeanu signed  for Wolves academy (U18’s), Stefan Mitrovic plays for Radnicki Nis in Serbia and David Bain has just returned from the Fleetwood International academy in England. All three players were identified in our International Player ID camp program. 

After taking several groups of players over to train at academy programs in Europe  I would conclude that young North American players have good technical ability and up to ages U12 can more than hold their own. A gap appears from U12-U14, though, on the male side of the game, as the young European players at these ages tend to understand the game better.

 

They take more responsibility during the game for their own performances and those around them. They demand the ball, have a vision for what they want to do, and are more capable of executing moves at a high tempo on a consistent basis. I would say, though, that North American female elite players of any age can, on average, hold their own against Europeans. However, this situation is now changing as the leading soccer nations in Europe are now investing significantly in the female game. We had two players travel over to Spain last year to train and another four players of our are looking to travel over to Europe, once the current coronavirus situation is resolved.    

By the time North American players get to the U14 age the young European male players are quicker, stronger and much more physical in their play. On the “development” side of things, they also have sports scientists monitoring their development. In addition they have a clear pathway to a career in professional football and are hungry to succeed. We are still lacking most of these things in North American soccer.

In my opinion, there are a couple of key ingredients young North American players must have if they are to successfully pursue playing options in Europe:

  • Accessibility to an EEC passport, through parents or perhaps grandparents, as this makes it easier for European clubs to sign them within European Union regulations
  • Commitment to focusing on improving their technical skills up to U12 levels
  • After U12, be in an environment that mirrors the European model for development — player development over winning 
  • Pursue opportunities to train at one of the professional club academies in Europe or receive instruction from academy staff of professional clubs in  Canada.  We host 4 International Player ID events each year and (prior to the recent coronavirus situation) had planned on Fleetwood Town, Glasgow Rangers and Benfica visiting this year. 
  • Competitive games focussed on improving soccer education versus winning games. Within these games, players should learn what it takes to play multiple positions
  • Develop confidence in their ability and mental strength to challenge themselves in training and impose themselves in games
  • Opportunities to travel and play in Europe for an extended time i.e. greater than 1 month. These opportunities may also combine education with training as part of an overall development model. 

Everyone want’s to play professional football (soccer) ….only a select few will put the work in to achieve this goal

If our young players are good enough and follow this process I believe that they can create opportunities for themselves to play overseas. It is a very competitive environment in Europe. It is also more difficult for North American players to get signed as they do have to be significantly better than local players. But it is possible and with hard work and dedication, it can be achieved.

Just remember: “Hard work beats talent…especially when talent does not work hard”

Study Visit to Wolves Academy – April 2013

During this time at home I have reviewing my study notes from visits to academy programs in Europe in recent years.  Each visit advanced my knowledge on how top clubs prepared their academy players for potential careers within the professional game. Even though academy programs at professional clubs in Europe are game based, the emphasis and focus is on identifying which individual players may be capable of breaking though to earn themselves an opportunity at the professional levels.   Today’s notes are from a visit to Wolves in April 2013.

Players from North America Experience Wolves FC Academy Life for one week

Wolves FC academy, as part of their new North American Academy initiative, have hosted seven player ID camps throughout North America. The best players from each camp were identified and invited to travel to the Wolves FC academy in England.

The Wolves North American Academy partnership program has been established to develop development programs in North America that can share Wolves FC coaching methodology and provides opportunities for young soccer players in Canada and the US to fully realize their potential.

This is achieved by following the “Wolves Way” player development model and helping to provide the players at partner clubs such as 1v1 Soccer FC with training experiences similar to the young players in England. This training includes technical, tactical, coordination, speed and physiological training preparation. A focus is placed on helping to evaluate the coaching standards at partner clubs by providing on-going coaching support.

The training week in March provided a unique opportunity to  twenty-seven young players from Canada and the US to attend and train at one of England’s top rated EPL academies. Nine of the players that attended were identified at the ID camp hosted by 1v1 Soccer FC in Canada last year.

Wolves FC have successfully attained the highest level of Academy status in the UK (Category 1) and share this distinction with only nineteen other professional clubs in England. Their Academy has successfully developed world-class players such as Robbie Keane (transferred for total fees of $150 million) and current Manchester City and England international Joleon Lescott.

The players were provided with a busy and challenging schedule for their seven days in England. Heavy snow in England on the group’s arrival led to some changes in the schedule and resulted in the North America players mixing in to play with Wolves FC academy players in several of the sessions. This provided the young North American players with a great insight into the training demands placed on the academy players in England.

Technically, there were some impressive performances from the North American players. It was the high tempo of the play that provided the greatest challenge. The play in England is at a very high tempo and players must learn to make quick decisions and play one or two touch in the majority of their play. Pressure is placed on players with the ball very quickly and physical challenges are stronger than young players typically face in North America. 

Transition is another area where the young English players are prepared very well. Much of the work that they perform in small-sided games places high demands on them to quickly open up and provide passing options to teammates when in possession. When the ball is lost, there is an expectation that pressure will be placed on the opposition quickly and that there will be support in behind to outnumber attackers. 

Wolves have formulated a club playing philosophy that  their academy teams follow to develop these principles of play. The club aims to develop players to be both knowledgeable and flexible in their application of four key moments of the game. These four key elements are:

1. When in possession of the ball

2. When don’t have possession of the ball

3. When have won the ball back and are organizing to attack

4. When lost possession of the ball and are organizing to defend

At the Wolves FC academy players must be challenged to become independent decision makers with the ability to understand and carry out the instructions of the coach and react to the needs of the team at any given moment.

What is less flexible is the manner in which the football philosophy is applied. Core values of hard work, honesty, togetherness and striving to be the best must be demonstrated at all times.

In addition to a full training schedule the players and their families were able to watch several of the older academy groups train. They were impressed by the speed of the play, the constant communication by the Wolves academy players and how quickly the ball was transferred around the field.     

So what are the expectations placed on the young academy players at Wolves FC?

 To be a successful player at Wolves FC , players are required to have the following qualities:

  • Take  responsibility for  your own attitude at all times. Ensure you set high standards both on and  off the field of play.
  • Ability to handle the ball under pressure. To prepare to play at the very highest level   – a high level of proficiency will be required in this area.
  • Ability  to learn.  The Academy represents a school of football, on this basis, you must be able to take on board information and apply it in training and in games.
  • Players  must have their own vision of the game. The very best players see “pictures”      before anybody else. You will have to display a certain level of game      intelligence.
  • Whether  you are attacking or defending, winning or losing, playing well or poorly, regardless of opposition or playing surface, in wind, rain, sleet or snow,      you must have a desire to play the game

The North American players and their families were very impressed with the facilities at the Wolves FC academy, the quality of the coaching and the level of care provided to the players.   The Wolves academy is operated out of one facility which means that the 1st team and academy players use the same facility on a daily basis. This provides the young academy players with direct access to professional players as role models. It also creates a very distinctive and consistent training and development culture at the club based on their philosophy. The training environment is all supported by comprehensive education, sports science and performance analysis resources so that players achieve optimal performance and achieve a balanced lifestyle.

Like other professional club academies in Europe, the development of individual players takes priority over teams winning games. Players who are deemed capable are played up in older age-groups, if it makes sense for their continued development. The success of the academy is ultimately judged on the number of players that are elevated to 1st team play.  Currently, 25 % of their young players within the Wolves U18 and U21 academy teams have received 1st team opportunities and the goal is to increase this to 40 % in the near future.   

Wolves are not trying to build teams that win a tournaments or regional leagues but are solely focused on developing players who can realize their potential and hopefully go on the play the game at the professional level. It is fully acknowledged that player’s development is a long-term process and that patience and persistence is required to achieve optimal results.

To achieve success at the academy levels, Wolves FC, like the other category one clubs such as Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United seek to implement the following characteristics within their Elite and Multi-Disciplinary Training Environment:

  •  An elite environment where players have the necessary time and space to develop
  • An environment where all aspects of the program are challenging, developmental (not based on winning until later ages 16+) and inspirational
  • The program is supported by outstanding coaches at every phase of  the performance pathway
  • The coaching program is supported by education, sports science and medicine and a playing games opportunities (30 max/year)
  • A multi-disciplinary approach that successfully develops all four  aspects of talent development: Technical/Tactical, Physical, Psychological and Social
  • The development of educationally rounded graduates who are  independent thinkers, both on and off the field
  • An environment that consistently produces professional players at the appropriate levels of the game for each club’s academy status, for  Wolves FC this means players that are equipped to be successful at the English Premiership level

The parents that made the trip were impressed by the focus on individual players development and an environment where training excellence was stressed over short-term results at the youth levels. High standards were set during the training sessions but the coaching staff were positive in their feedback and worked alongside the players to solve problems on the field. For many, this was their first trip to a professional club overseas and they were very appreciate that their children were provided with an opportunity to train and play at this level.

If you are interested in pursuing training and playing opportunities overseas, please contact me directly at ian@ianmcclurglearnperform.com or 289-239-9602 for a FREE telephone conversation.   

Observations from Study Visit to Sevilla FC Academy in 2011

Back in 2011 I travelled over to Spain with Adam Bouchard so that he could complete a trial with Sevilla FC. 

During that week Adam trained with the U16 academy team and was praised for his technical ability . This was a major accomplishment at the time, given that Spain were at that time current world champions.  To progress to the next level, the Sevilla FC coaching staff  advised Adam to improve his upper body strength and be more aggressive during game situations. Sevilla FC coaches believe that to become a top professional player it is important for players to have a “warrior-type” winning mentality and impose themselves consistently during training and game situations.

Adam’s performances earned him an invite to return to Sevilla FC in August 2012 for another trial. However, Adam later joined the Toronto FC program and decided to pursue the MLS academy pathway. He last played for Toronto FC in the USL during the 2016 season with the highlight of his career being named to the Canadian roster for the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup.  

The Club

Sevilla Fútbol Club , commonly referred to as Sevilla, is a Spanish professional football club based in Seville, the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. It plays in Spanish football’s top flight, La Liga. It is Spain’s oldest sporting club solely devoted to football. The club was formed on 25 January 1890, with the Scottish born Edward Farquharson Johnston as their first president. On 14 October 1905, the club’s articles of association were registered in the Civil Government of Seville under the presidency of the Jerez-born José Luis Gallegos Arnosa.

Sevilla FC is the most successful club in Andalusia, winning a national league title in 1945–46, five Spanish Cups (1935, 1939, 1948, 2007 and 2010), one Spanish Super Cup (2007), a record five UEFA Cups/UEFA Europa Leagues (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015 and 2016) and the 2006 UEFA Super Cup. They were also designated by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics as the World’s best club in 2006 and 2007, thus being the first club to achieve this distinction in two consecutive years.

My Academy Observations in 2011

 

The Sevilla FC Academy Structure
There are 24 teams in total within the Sevilla FC Academy structure. The teams include age-groups from ages 8 to 19 and at the entry level ages (ages 8) the club has 4 teams. For each subsequent age-group, there are 3 teams up until aged 17, when only one team operates.
A community soccer school for players aged 4+ is a feeder system for the Sevilla FC Academy teams. This school operates on the same nights as the Academy teams so the young players can see the older players train and are inspired to progress with their skills to make the academy teams.
Each team has one Head Coach, a Manager and a Fitness coach. The club has also introduced sports psychologistsnutrition experts and medical staff to support the development of all their younger players.
The club up until a few yaers ago had 20 players in their academy structure from out of country. In recent years the number of international playesr within the academy structure has been reduced but the club are now looking to increase their number of “international” players again.
The teams all train on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6-7:30pm and play one game each week, on the Saturdays. Parents are not permitted to watch the training sessions and sit at a cafe at the acaemy training complex while their children train.
All the teams, from the 1st team to the academy teams play the same way. The formation is 4-4-2 formation, with a strong emphasis on good technique to retain possession. The two wide midfield players are considered  as the most creative players on the team and are responsible for beating defenders  and getting in behind defences to create goalscoring opportunities.
In terms of training content, there is an emphasis on developing great technique with the ball. The early part of training is typically spent with one player/ball or in groups of two to maximize touches on the ball . The later part of training featured one on one attacking play and small-sided possession games. This was consistent across all the age-groups.
A “two-touch” condition was placed on players during small-possession games which challenged the players to make early decisions and understand at all times where open space was on the field. Many of the players demonstrated the ability to play one touch during these games and frequently used disguised “flicks” and reverse passes to kep the ball away from defenders.
All the teams, including the younger ones, spent 20 minutes plus per session on crossing and finishing. When  teams ended the session with a full game, there were many consistent themes:
  • All players, including defenders, were very comfortable with the ball at their feet – and comfortable playing with both feet
  • There was a great understanding of space. Players rarely moved into the same space as teammates-even at youngest levels
  • Fast passing and movement was used to break down defences
  • Constant communication amongst the players
  • Strong 1 v1 play on the flanks to create goalscoring opportunities
  • Players understood their roles for each position and were disciplined in maintaining their team shape and formation
  • The build up play from the defenders was patient, they took few risks and played into the feet of midfield players who had checked back to receive passes
  • Midfield’s played across the field and back if they had to, to retain possession and search for openings in the defence. Once an opening was found, for example a 1v1 or 2v1 situation on the flanks, the speed of play was increased dramatically and passing and movement was of the highest quality.
  • Players were competitive and were aggressive when pressing to win back possession

“At Sevilla CF, we have always understood that in order to develop young athletes’ potential, it is necessary to carry out a parallel process of coach development”

 

Subsequent to my visit to the Sevilla FC academy in 2011 Sergio Lara-Bercial wrote a research paper  ” Athlete and Coach Development in the Sevilla Club de Futbol youth academy: A values-based Proposition”

You can read the full paper here