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Reuters Examines the World of Soccer Academies Throughout Europe

Reuters Examines the World of Soccer Academies Throughout Europe

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Published by cbales99
Reuters reporters have produced a series of in-depth multimedia stories,
features and interviews to be issued over the next two days which examine
the differing approaches and trends among countries and clubs and address
some of the issues and concerns around soccer academies.
Reuters reporters have produced a series of in-depth multimedia stories,
features and interviews to be issued over the next two days which examine
the differing approaches and trends among countries and clubs and address
some of the issues and concerns around soccer academies.

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Published by: cbales99 on Nov 20, 2013
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11/21/2013

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insideagency.reuters.com
http://insideagency.reuters.com/2013/03/for-our-customers-reuters-examines-the-world-of-soccer-academies-throughout-europe/
For our customers: Reuters examines the world of soccer academies throughout Europe
The world of soccer academies is perplexing, occasionally uplifting but alsodisconcerting, with widely differing approaches to recruitment, education and welfareand hugely contrasting levels of success across Europe’s major leagues.28 Mar 2013Reuters Agency
Reuters reporters have produced a series of in-depth multimedia stories,features and interviews to be issued over the next two days which examinethe differing approaches and trends among countries and clubs and addresssome of the issues and concerns around soccer academies.
This extensive package, which includes video, pictures, and graphics, will havecountry-by-country overviews of how the academy system works in the major leaguesof England, Italy, Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands as well as in-depthinterviews with some of the leading figures involved in the development of youthfootball.The success or otherwise of the academy system and the challenge of addressingwelfare and education issues in an environment where there is such an overwhelmingpressure to succeed on the pitch are also addressed in a series of illuminating pieces.
On March 28 we shall move the following:
SOCCER-ACADEMIES/ENGLANDSOCCER-ACADEMIES/ENGLAND-EDUCATIONSOCCER-ACADEMIES/ENGLAND-BURNOUT (INTERVIEW)SOCCER-ACADEMIES/ENGLAND-MANCITY (INTERVIEW)SOCCER-ACADEMIES/SPAINSOCCER-ACADEMIES/SPAIN-BARCELONA (INTERVIEW)SOCCER-ACADEMIES/GERMANY-FA (INTERVIEW)SOCCER-ACADEMIES/SWISS (INTERVIEW)SOCCER-ACADEMIES/STATISTICS
On March 29 we shall move the following:
SOCCER-ACADEMIES/GERMANYSOCCER-ACADEMIES/ITALY
 
SOCCER-ACADEMIES/ITALY-MILAN (INTERVIEW)SOCCER-ACADEMIES/FRANCESOCCER-ACADEMIES/FRANCE-INF (INTERVIEW)SOCCER-ACADEMIES/FRANCE-TOULOUSESOCCER-ACADEMIES/NETHERLANDSSOCCER-ACADEMIES/NETHERLANDS-FEYENOORD (INTERVIEW)SOCCER-ACADEMIES/SWEDEN (INTERVIEW)Keywords: SOCCER ACADEMIES/
Learn more about the world of soccer academies throughout Europe:
Comparing like with like is not always easy as what qualifies as an “academy” or youth player in one countrydiffers from the criteria of another while some clubs are reluctant to release figures of their success rate, or otherwise. However, many aspects are universal as thousands of children, often starting from as young asseven, are plucked from their local clubs and pumped through the system, all dreaming that they will make it asprofessional players. Almost none of them will. Some will survive cull after cull as they grow up and a tinypercentage, probably less than one in 1,000 taking into account all age groups, will make it to the club’sprofessional ranks. Even among that minute sub-group only a few will go on to become first-team regulars.Some of the biggest and richest clubs in the game such as 2012 European champions Chelsea and half of Italy’s Serie A seem incapable of, or unwilling to promote their best youth players, despite theoretically havingthe pick of the nation. Others, like Barcelona, seem to be able to identify, nurture and keep the cream of their nation’s youth while others such as Ajax Amsterdam have turned player development into a virtual industry,training up then trading young players like commodities for the long-term good of the club. Spanish clubscurrently have around 25 percent of their players as products of their academies and when Barcelona playedLevante last year there was a point in the match when all 11 of their team had come through the Barcelonaacademy. In Italy the figure is less than eight percent and only now are the biggest Italian clubs getting their acts together.Manchester United have an impressive production line, last year boasting 12 squad players as academyproducts, while Chelsea have failed to achieve their own modest target of getting one academy player into thefirst team every 18 months.Others prefer to ignore the talent on their doorstep and let other smaller clubs dothe initial scouting before quite legally “poaching” the best prospects before they reach 16. Clubs can importforeign youngsters, put them in their academies for three years and then declare them as “home grown” tosatisfy local and UEFA regulations. Financial fair play rules and tightening budgets also have an impact as clubsare forced to curtail transfer expenditure and look within. Manchester City, a club with seemingly endlessresources, have invested a reported 100 million pounds ($152 million) in their new academy knowing that thedays of just buying up the world’s best players are numbered.For more than a decade all clubs in Germany’s top-two divisions have had to run a regulated academy in order to be granted a licence to compete. Combined with a structured model to identify talent from kindergarten level,that has helped produce a surge in home-grown talent making it through all the way to the national team. InFrance, the model includes a central academy run by the federation that works with the cream of the crop –and ensures that all its scholars also have a rounded education, spending four times as long studying thandeveloping their football skills.
 
Regardless of the success or failure in getting players through to the pro ranks, and even with the mostthoughtful pastoral care and education provision, things can be incredibly difficult once the youngsters are intothe system. Often backed by star-struck parents with dollar signs spinning in front of their eyes, no amount of warnings about the failure rate and the need for education and planning for an alternative career is likely todeter the young players from investing their energies into the single-minded pursuit of their one goal. Someclubs take an enlightened approach, working hard on education and welfare and trying to prepare the vastnumbers of “rejects” for what they consider to be life on the scrap heap while most of their peers have barelyleft school.It does not stop there either as even those who do get a taste of the professional game, and spent most otheir life entirely focused on achieving that target, struggle to adapt to normal life if their careers becomemeasured in months rather than decades. A British charity for ex-footballers, Xpro, says that there are over 130 former professionals serving time in British jails and most alarmingly 124 of them are under 25.

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