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How Do Soccer Academies Work?

How Do Soccer Academies Work?

Soccer is a globally admired and popular sport due to the perplexing footwork, subtle skills, and passion displayed when it is played.

Millions of people tune in to watch competitions and sporting events for their entertainment value. It is not surprising, then, that many people want to learn how to become professional soccer players.

Although the path to achieving this stance is not easy, many people are attempting to take it. Young soccer players want to emulate the actions of their favorite players, so they pursue a career to become professional soccer players.

As an organized sport, achieving professionalism in soccer necessitates following predetermined steps. Although there are numerous methods, the processes and steps are nearly identical.

Going to a soccer academy is one way to become a professional soccer player. Soccer clubs run these academies to develop young and enthusiastic players into professionals.

They invest in these young players to ensure that they receive adequate training to develop their skills – they are officially signed into the team if their play improves. As a result, the club saves money because they don’t have to pay to have their skills utilized in the team.

There are interesting processes from the time young soccer players are recruited until they leave for the first team. The various missions of soccer academies and the processes involved in these institutions are explained in detail in this article.


How do soccer academies work?

Essentially, the mission of soccer academies is to monitor the development of young players. As the highest level of youth soccer in several countries, including the United States, facilities are built to ensure that these training environments are adequate to achieve maximum player development.

Competitions for academy players are created in the same way that professional soccer competitions are, and such competitions are governed by recognized soccer rules. Because training is prioritized rather than trophies, academy players generally play in fewer matches. Soccer academies have the following characteristics.

To Find Young Talent Through A Well-defined Process

Scouting is an important part of soccer academies. Some academies hold tryouts to find young talent, but most rely on scouting. The method used by each academy is determined by the owners, though selected committee members formed by the team are used for this.

Kid shooting soccer ball to a goal

The scouts assigned to the scouting task evaluate young players in a variety of ways, including:

Tactical understanding

This has to do with spotting young players’ ability to see advantageous gaps to play into. This also includes spotting learners who can see something that others cannot, such as tactical movements with teammates and opponents.

Kids leaning tacticals at academy

Physical/ fitness attributes

Scouts lookout for players’ physiques as well as their genetic backgrounds. The emphasis is on how well players stand out in terms of physicality against the other best in his or her age group.

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The child does gymnastics at the academy

Technical qualities

Here, young players’ ball-handling abilities, qualities in dribbling, passing skills, receiving, shooting, heading, and movement with and without the ball; as well as many other technical abilities, are considered.

Kid traning soccer at academy

Behavioral characteristics

Scouts can detect traits such as aggression or a willingness to engage in combat with other opponents, which are red flags. Scouts look for characteristics such as enthusiasm when players approach the game and early leadership qualities displayed on the field.

Building Young Soccer Players into Professionals

After being scouted, the next step is to be accepted into an academy. Kids ages 9 to 15 can sign-up, but in Europe, kids younger than that can be recruited with parental consent.

The signed contract is a schoolboy contract that must be renewed every one or two years. To be worthy of renewal, the young player must demonstrate the requisite skills and traits.

Kid practice at academy

These soccer academies can also sign a professional soccer contract when they are 16 years old. At this age, the academy may decide to sign them to their official youth team or any other similar scheme for additional training.

In some cases, they may be sold to other clubs, but the majority of the time, they remain with the youth team.

The academy has the option of providing these players with a scholarship. This enables them to successfully combine professional soccer training with academic studies. Typically, they are provided with lodging while their progress is assessed.

Players on contract are compensated for their contributions to the team. While on compensation, their progress is tracked over three years to determine whether they are ready for first-team action or a loan spell with another team. At this point, the players can also be sold for a fee.

Read more: How to Move Up in Soccer?

Providing Qualified Personnel To Instruct Young Players

Academies are staffed by capable individuals who ensure that young people are educated both academically and technically. Personnel with in-depth knowledge of these young people’s behaviors are also employed to ensure they are well-cultured to the game.

In soccer academies, it is common to see certified fitness trainers, experienced coaches, physiotherapists, nutritionists, sports psychologists, and orthopedic consultants. This personnel is supported by other personnel who are in charge of the facility’s administration and maintenance.

Sales and marketing personnel are also part of soccer academies, so if you are a worthy candidate, you should expect to meet all of them.

Thierry Henry presents the Arsenal U19 skills challenge

Making Use of Facilities and Cutting-edge Technology

Soccer academies typically have two soccer fields, as well as the necessary amenities such as dressing rooms with bathrooms and a section for coaches to share last-minute notes before the team arrives on the field.

Technology is also used, and it is similar to that used in colleges or schools. Typically, you’d see technologies designed to keep track of a player’s data, billing and tracking, medical information, and progression reports.

Young soccer player practice

Several technological tools are used by the coaching staff to determine which drills they have overworked on the players and which ones they have underworked. In the most basic terms, these technologies provide day-to-day tracking capabilities.

Because injuries and sports go hand-in-glove, the physiotherapy department is also technologically enhanced. EMG systems are used to detect muscle or biomechanics imbalances and correct them, thereby preventing future injuries to young players.

Overall, soccer academies operate very much like professional soccer teams, making soccer player training as smooth as possible.

Management of players

In academies, players are mentored throughout their youth soccer career progression. All young players require physical and emotional support, and they must be guided by experts to ensure they have improved mental and physical well-being.

This is because the inherent problem of one player is likely to be different from that of another, experts employed use different techniques towards providing solutions.

Inside the Arsenal Academy: A scholar’s first day

At academies, principles and values are also instilled in the minds of these young players. This is done to ensure that they do not lose their values as a result of bad indulgences.

Players are given information on how to find work and are shown various career paths to take if the need arises. They are advised on how to respond to both criticism and praise.

In some ways, the academy acts as a proxy for the players, assisting them directly with contract negotiations, deals, and so on. Young players might easily get carried away when huge financial opportunities start arriving, so the academy stands to guide them towards ensuring that lucrative endorsements and deals are managed for them.

They may appoint an agent to assist them in negotiating contracts while also ensuring that their interests are protected.

To Place Emphasis On Routine Training

Soccer academies are dedicated to player development. You are trained to improve individual techniques and introduced to strategies and tactics from the moment you are inducted.

Special training is provided for outfield players, and goalkeepers receive their own set of instructions.

These training vary depending on the academy’s philosophy, but the following are always present.

Players are trained twice a week to learn new skills and techniques. The weekend is reserved for matches between academies or competitions in which the academy participates. In any given season, the academy can play up to 28 football matches.

Typically, the under-9s, 10s, and 11s play eight-a-side soccer, while the under-11s, 10s, and 11s play the standard 11-a-side soccer format. Homework and training drills that can be practiced outside of academy training hours are given to kids who are not residents of the academy facility. To keep them fit, their parents are given nutrition instructions.

Kid practice soccer at academy

Soccer academies provide classroom program

Academic education is one of the most admired aspects of soccer academies. Certainly, academies aid in the development of young players into professionals, but there is no guarantee that they will succeed; the majority are dropped.

Injuries can also lead to the end of a soccer player’s career. If no academic support is provided, the player will undoubtedly be frustrated. As a result, academic education at soccer academies serves as a protective net for students, allowing them to make a meaningful impact in their lives if they are unable to succeed to become professional soccer players.

Some academies even require good academic results as a prerequisite for induction to protect players’ futures. The Bayern Munich soccer academy is one such example.

The Internet is one method by which academic education is delivered in academies. Online education provides flexibility, which benefits all parties involved.

Academies also have the option of educating their students at local schools, colleges, or universities. These players attend these schools while also returning for their training sessions on time.

Each academies’ approach is dictated, so it’s common for soccer academies to operate both online academic education and schooling at a local school. For example, the Michel Hidalgo Football Academy in France provides both online education and on-site education for french-speaking students.


Players who underperform are turned out of academies

The competition to become a professional soccer player is fierce. Every one or two years, a significant number of young players are dropped during evaluation. Some make it until the age of 16 when they can be signed by another academy or professional team.

To that end, the academy adds these players to a list that all other institutions can access. Dropped players can also participate in exit trials, where they have one chance to impress scouts and get back on track into becoming professional soccer players.

Jamie Vardy had to go through exit trial-style processes to get back on track.

The academies serve as a springboard to the national team

Soccer academies are the primary pathway through which players are drawn to the national team in the United States. Soccer administrators look for the best, dependable players to play for the national team during academy competitions. It is estimated that approximately half of these competitions are scouted.

Some of the top soccer academies in the US are:

The Players Development Academy

The academy focuses on coaching aspiring soccer players from the U9 to U19 age range. The academy has been involved in training soccer players since 1997. Since its inception, it boasts of training a total of more than 4,000 players.

The San Diego Surf Soccer Club

The academy is a proud member of the US Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) and the Development Players League (DPL). With about 450 players in more than 30 teams, the club trains soccer players in hopes of turning them into international players.

Santa Cruz Breakers Academy

They offer tryouts to aspiring soccer players from ages 6-18. As an internationally recognized academy, it is also related to the USL PDL (Premier Development League) and coaches players into professional international players.

Some international soccer academies include:

La Masia, Barcelona

Regarded as the greatest soccer academy in the world, it has produced some of the best players in the sport. Notable names that came through this academy are Lionel Messi, Puyol, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi.

Ajax Football Academy

Affiliated with the Ajax Football Club, the academy has produced reputable names in the soccer world. It admits youngsters and grooms them into world-class players.

Notable players are Christian Eriksen, Justin Kluivert, Frankie de Jong, and Matthijs de Ligt.

Manchester United Academy

One of the most popular soccer academies in the world. Renowned for producing some of Europe and the world’s best soccer players. Notable alumni include George Best, David Beckham, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, and Danny Welbeck.

Other top-rated soccer academies are Bayern Munich academy, Sporting Lisbon football academy, La Fábrica Real Madrid, etc.


Soccer academies serve as a springboard for young players to achieve professional status in the sport, and all of their processes are geared toward this end. Managers, analysts, agents, scouts, and a variety of other experts are all involved in the player management and development process.

When you are in an academy, especially one run by a soccer team, your chances of becoming a professional player are higher than when you are not.

Typically, you must be scouted to be accepted into a soccer academy. You can, however, contact the academy or scouts affiliated with the academy to inquire about a spot.

This necessitates a strong soccer CV as well as parental assistance. Given that there is no guarantee of success in professional soccer, the addition of academic education in soccer academies makes it more desired.