Train the talents
Development of Talents

Train the talents

2 min. reading time


High-quality, home-grown players are the cornerstone of any successful senior national team and competitive domestic league. It all starts with having a large number of players at youth level. The best talents should train and play with and against the best players in the best environment. Professionalised environments where the most talented players are developed on a day-to-day basis (also when they are not part of the youth national teams) are crucial.

High-ranked associations have clearly defined football and coaching philosophies in their leading academies.

Academies in the top MAs have the lowest player-to-coach ratio across the U-12 to U-15 age bracket (11 players to 1 coach).

Call to Action

1. Invest in academies with strong leadership to make sure that talented players are developed properly

2. Develop and follow a holistic long-term player development plan rather than focus on short-term results

3. Design and implement regulations to support a fair ROI and create incentives for clubs to invest in youth development

Quality Coaches

Key for the production of young talent are the people in charge of player development – none more so than the coaches.

100 000 %

of the top 20 MAs deliver specific programmes for coach educators

100 000 %

of the top 20 MAs follow a coaching convention

The quality of coaches matters ­

3 0 x

Academies in leading MAs have nearly three times more full-time coaches than those ranked 51-100

Call to Action

1. Run a comprehensive education pathway as part of the confederation’s coaching convention to develop top-quality native coaches and specialist practitioners

2. Invest in full-time coaching positions

3. Implement a coaching competency framework linked to the playing philosophy

4. Create a culture of knowledge development (collective findings, initiate research, bringing experts together) and sharing across all target groups (online and offline)

5. Provide educational opportunities for academy and national team staff and coaches

Training sessions

Contact time is crucial in the acquisition of any skill – and football is no different. Talented players must be repeatedly exposed to high-quality, age-appropriate development sessions, both on and off the pitch, to become well-rounded athletes.

171 000

The average number of team training sessions per season for a female U-16 player

198 000

The average number of team training sessions per season for a male U-16 player

481 000

On average, a male player training from U-6 to U-21 will take part in 481 more sessions than a female player

U- 12 00

As of the U-12 age category, the top academies deliver >1 individual-focused session per week

Call to Action

1. Optimise the contact time with players

2. Ensure that training is age- and maturation-appropriate, both physically and mentally

3. Plan, review and track training over the long term to maximise player availability

4. Integrate the use of technology to support and monitor the development of individuals