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Thread: Debate - Future of Youth Development in Irish Football

  1. #21
    Seasoned Pro ifk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geysir View Post
    Look IFK, when SkStu agrees, then we can safely say the aura of righteousness looms like a golden gilded cloud
    When 90% of the players that are selected for the current Swedish team and bench players have done their apprenticeship in Sweden, even played for seasons there at league level, we can say Sweden has a model that can be looked at, even adopted to some degree. The evidence is overwhelming to support that notion.
    The number of players in our national team with an apprenticeship in Ireland is increasing while there is a clear decreasing trend for the Swedish national squad. If you go back 10 years, the number of players with their apprenticeship in Sweden would probably be 100%, in 5 to 10 years time I'm pretty sure this percentage will be much lower for the simple reason kids are leaving Sweden to play abroad.

    In our recent game against Greece, of the 16 players used, 8 or 50% have done their "apprenticeship" in Ireland. If we removed players born outside Ireland, that percentage is approx. 62%. Go back 10 years and the number of players that did an apprenticeship in Ireland with the national team would be near a very small percentage.

    What's the Swedish model btw? :-)

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    You can compare the figures. Age is when they left Ireland

    Players with LOI experience
    Coleman 21 Ward 22 McClean 22 Hoolahan 24 Meyler 19 Doyle 22 Fahey

    No LOI experience or too little to worth bothering about
    Fahey 15 - when he first left
    O'Dea 19
    O'Shea 18
    McShane 16
    Kelly 16
    Andrews 19
    Whelan 17
    Clifford 18
    Brady 16
    Long 18 (played some minutes for Cork)
    Keogh 17
    O'Brien 16
    Dunne 17
    Gibson 17
    Hunt 18
    Keane 15

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    We badly need a centre of excellence to give lads an alternative to leaving at 15/16. This centre could be aiming to have teams which competes with the teams in the TNG and be a feeder club to the LOI teams. The FAI could steer from the British model and try to emulate Ajax or Barca in player development to give diversity to our international sides. The centre could be based of the Clairefontaine blueprint. This would give lads a chance to play in Ireland for a long as they want and still be able to make it. Most of our better players get picked up at 13 years old at the Kennedy cup and are tied to contracts made with the big clubs at this age. This is putting huge pressure on kids at a very important stage of their development. It is much harder to make it at a Chelsea, Man United or City than nearly any other club in Europe because they will not give youth-teamers a chance to make it to the first team.

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    If you llok at the players that have represented Sweden the last year 36 out of 39 established themselves in the Swedish league (Ibrahimovic included) before moving abroad when they were ready. Thats 93%.

    Considering that approximately the best 20 players each age group from our youth team move over to play in Britain at 16 you would expect them to be providing most of our national squad. I fact I cant think of anyone who has gone through the academy system who has made the breakthrough as a premier league player in over a decade, not since Stephen Ireland and Joey O'Brien who I think moved at start of 2002 season. That leaves us trying to cobble together a team of english and scottish plastics, northern irish catholics and whatever meagre offerings the LOI can generate.

    People wont accept that there is a problem with our dependence on british clubs to develop our talent because there is a reactionary attitude of ' thats always the way its been'. What might have worked in the past isnt necessarily going to work in the present or future though.

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    Capped Player SkStu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geysir View Post
    Look IFK, when SkStu agrees, then we can safely say the aura of righteousness looms like a golden gilded cloud .
    Im just glad I don't feel the burning desire to change your mind over to my way of thinking on this occasion...

    Sorry, I was just pointing out that it seems like Sweden keeps its players domestically longer and that those same players have a tendency to finish their careers out in Sweden.

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    Seasoned Pro peadar1987's Avatar
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    Ideally, I think Ireland would have a number of regional academies where youngsters would go to receive top-notch coaching in football, while still being able to attend school, or get other qualifications. Perhaps have a particular focus on sports science and languages, increasing international prospects. Partnerships with third-level institutions could help with this. Encourage hot prospects to stay in Ireland, then once the players reach 18 or 21, or whenever, invite clubs to have a scout.

    -The clubs benefit, as they get to see a concentration of excellent players without having to maintain such an expensive scouting network,
    -The players benefit, because they get top-notch coaching, and the benefits of being surrounded by other talented players on a daily basis. They also get an education, so even if they pick up an injury, they'll have a grounding in sports journalism, sports nutrition, physiotherapy, and hopefully at least one foreign language
    -The national team benefit, because there will be a string of capable players being generated, and hopefully some ending up in nations other than England, giving us different styles of footballer.
    -The domestic league benefits, because even after the foreign clubs have inevitably signed the cream of the players, there'll be a lot of young, eager footballers in Ireland waiting for a chance to play the game at a professional or semi-professional level.

    As always, the main obstacle is money, but the FAI found a way to pay for the Aviva, and I think a proper academy system would cost less and be of more benefit to football in this country in the long run.

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    Seasoned Pro ifk101's Avatar
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    There are plans for a national academy, presumably the current regional development centers would feed into the proposed academy.

    If the FAI want more immediate control over international player development, they could introduce a policy of only selecting domestic based players for international squads up to say U19 level. Wouldn't cost anything to implement, should actually be cost saving, would give greater control over the development of more players and presumably increase the working relationships with clubs.

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    There are a few other considerations, differences between Ireland and Sweden (apart from the quality differences of certain types of models).
    The Swedish clubs themselves have the youth network sewn into their club structure, whereas we have clubs (Josephs, Home Farm, Crumlin etc) outside the LOI club structure.
    The Swedish clubs have a multiplicity of sports in their complex which share facilities. We have competing sports in separate club structures. Isn't it so that the stadium in Lansdowne Rd is about the only significant shared facility?
    Probably mentioned in Stutts' post is that the sports facilities/stadiums in Sweden are, for the most part, funded by the local municipality.

    I would hazard a guess (without doing any research) that footballers would tend to come home to Sweden and finish out their career. One example, after Barcelona, Larsson spent a few seasons playing for Helsingborgs, the club he was with before he went abroad, I think it was his dream to do it that way.
    I think near enough to 100% of the Icelandic footballers who have played professionally abroad, come back home and those of them who are still good enough, play for their club.

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    I heard Niall Harrison speak at the Birkbeck debate that started this thread off. Having heard him it's no surprise to me that our U15s are doing so well. Unfortunately Niall only has them for one more year and not long after that they have to find their own way in the world and history would suggest that many will fall off the ladder.

    However, the last couple of posts in the Paul George thread prompted a thought in my small brain: would it be possible (or beneficial) for the FAI to persuade UEFA - or whoever controls the NextGen competition - to enter an Irish-based U19 squad in this competition? A selection of the best players from the U19 league for example.
    Last edited by Stuttgart88; 20/12/2012 at 5:56 PM.

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    Banned. Children Banned. Grandchildren Banned. 3 Months. Charlie Darwin's Avatar
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    The NextGen series is a private league and I think a lot of it involves backscratching and whatnot - I can't see them changing the line-up anytime soon, and if they did they'd only be letting in elite sides. Most of the clubs currently in the competition are delivering 3,000-5,000 fans at a game and I really can't see any Irish side matching that for U19s games, even if there was the carrot of Aston Villa or Celtic. It looks like UEFA are going to take it over anyway and change it to just the academies of the teams that qualify for the Champions League, which isn't really much better.

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    Coach BonnieShels's Avatar
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    it would be beneficial. But your small brain as you put it is infinitely larger than the pinheads in Abbotstown.

    Edit: Didn't know that Charlie. I thought it was UEFA's baby already.
    DID YOU NOTICE A SIGN OUTSIDE MY HOUSE...?

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    Thanks for the clarity CD.

    If it was feasible to find an angle in I think it'd be very useful. Thinking caps and lobbying skills required. The pitch to UEFA would be (a) we're almost uniquely disadvantaged by the EPL and (b) we're good UEFA ar$elickers, so let us in. I'm not sure that we wouldn't get 3-5,000 for something like this. I'm not talking about a LOI side, I'm talking about an FAI U19 side with only home-based players qualifying.

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    Seasoned Pro ifk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geysir View Post
    There are a few other considerations, differences between Ireland and Sweden (apart from the quality differences of certain types of models).
    The Swedish clubs themselves have the youth network sewn into their club structure, whereas we have clubs (Josephs, Home Farm, Crumlin etc) outside the LOI club structure.
    There is a pyramid system in Swedish football so all registered clubs form part of one club structure. The LOI is a closed league. I'd imagine the overwhelming majority of professional clubs have a "youth network".

    Quote Originally Posted by geysir View Post
    Swedish clubs have a multiplicity of sports in their complex which share facilities.
    You would be confused there. There exists a sharing of club name across different sports but the different sports are represented by distinct entities.

    Quote Originally Posted by geysir View Post
    have competing sports in separate club structures. Isn't it so that the stadium in Lansdowne Rd is about the only significant shared facility?
    There're 3 clubs in Gothenburg playing out of the same stadium, and Djurgĺrden share with athletics but that pretty much it when it comes to elite football clubs sharing facilities. Handball and ice hockey "share" the larger facilities for major (primarily international) events in the main cities. But it's usually the case that where handball is popular, ice hockey isn't and vice versa.

    Quote Originally Posted by geysir View Post
    mentioned in Stutts' post is that the sports facilities/stadiums in Sweden are, for the most part, funded by the local municipality.
    That would be a simplistic understanding of how stadiums are funded. That not to say municipalities aren't involved, because they are, but the impetus and greater share of financing for new stadium builds is more likely driven by other interest parties.


    Quote Originally Posted by geysir View Post
    I would hazard a guess (without doing any research) that footballers would tend to come home to Sweden and finish out their career. One example, after Barcelona, Larsson spent a few seasons playing for Helsingborgs, the club he was with before he went abroad, I think it was his dream to do it that way.
    I think near enough to 100% of the Icelandic footballers who have played professionally abroad, come back home and those of them who are still good enough, play for their club.
    I would hazard a guess that returning home in the twilight of their career is not driven by footballing reasons. Larsson returned to Helsingborg because he wasn't getting the game time he wanted at Barcelona but also for family reasons. He wanted his kids to grow up in Sweden. Sweden has it own unique language which is, in my opinion, a strong draw for footballers with families to return to Sweden to finish off their careers (prolong their careers).

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    Coach tetsujin1979's Avatar
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    There was a discussion about the future developement of Irish footballers on Off The Ball last night, with Brian Kerr and Ken Donoghue, the director of football at St Kevin's Boys. you can listen to it here: http://www.newstalk.ie/the-future-of...l-off-the-ball
    All goals, yellow and red cards tweeted in real time: http://twitter.com/irish_abroad and posted to facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irishfootballstatisics

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    Lads & lasses,

    One of the attendees (Antonio Mantero - www.thecoachdiary.com blogger and kids coach at Castleknock Celtic) at the Birkbeck University event I was at before Christmas is organising his own version in Blanchardstown on 25th March. I'm going to go along as I'm over for the Austria game the following day. Details here:

    Topic: Future of Youth Development in Irish Football.

    Sponsored By JAKO Sports Irelandhttps://www.facebook.com/ JakoTeamSportIreland?fref=t s

    Venue: Institute of Technology Blanchardstown BLOCK F

    Address: Blanchardstown Road North, Dublin 15

    Time: 6.30pm-9:00pm Monday 25th March

    Car Parking is free on the night, make sure you park in a designated parking bay.

    For a list of speaker go to http:// www.thecoachdiary.com/ the-future-of-youth-develop ment-in-irish-football/

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  19. #36
    Coach tetsujin1979's Avatar
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    thanks for the info, that's not too far from where I used to live. I'll be along.
    All goals, yellow and red cards tweeted in real time: http://twitter.com/irish_abroad and posted to facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irishfootballstatisics

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    I went along to the event organised by Antonio Mantero of the The Coach Diary blog in the Institute of Technology in Blanchardstwown on Monday night.

    It was a very good event, Johnny Lyons of 98 FM Sport acting as MC and a good turnout of coaches from schoolboy and some LoI clubs. I met Peter Eccles, ex-Shamrock Rovers CB and capped once by Jack Charlton I think. It lasted 3.5 hours!

    Anyway, the panelists were:
    - Austin Speight of Coerver Ireland - a private company coaching kids worldwide uising the Coerver Method
    - Dermot Dalton(?) of the beautifulgame.ie, another private company using the "Horst Wein Method".
    - Mitch Whitty - I think he isTechnical Director of the North Dublin Schoolboys' League
    - Mick Lynam - ex-FAI Child Protection Officer, made redundant with the cuts and now working freeelance I think.
    - Antonio sat with the panel, but only joined in at the Q&A stage.

    Austin & Dermot were both plugging their companies to some extent, but were mainly highliting the fact that there is now a universally accepted philosophy about coaching kids (small sided games - numbers depending on kids' ages, pastoral care, encouragement, technique, mini-leagues versus season-long leagues etc.) and that the traditional Irish method is basically the upside-down version of this. Arsenal no longer even scout in Ireland because of the brutes we tend to produce. We kind of knew all this though.

    Mitch Whitty (ex-Chelsea academy coach) described how they have ripped everything up and started again in NDSL, largely in line with the more progressive / enlightened techniques and outlook largely accepted elsewhere. He says the results have been remarkable already with a crop of kids with talent & technique like they've never had before. Although the emphasis is not on winning, they recently went to Manchester and won a big tournament featuring major EPL academy sides. Mitch was positive about the FAI's Emerging Talent Programme whilst recognising its limitations and very positive about Niall Harrison.

    Mick Lynam, an ex-Garda in his early 60s(?) and with a MSc in child psychology was a real character. He has dealt with kids from broken homes, deep poverty etc and used football to keep them out of trouble and teach them life skills and values. Again, he is promoting a more enlightened approach to encouraging kids and keeping them engaged and interested rather than the approach we've all heard about, and educating parents etc.

    I suppose the key message overall was that there is at least one small group of progressively-minded coaches and organisations in Ireland, but unfortunately few other regions are following NDSL's example. The South Dublin Schoolboys League is miles behind and is run by the head of the SFAI who by all accounts are just operating in a vacuum and nobody even knows what they're trying to do or how they think. The lack of ownership that the FAI has over the broader game is a problem and the SFAI is impervious to FAI influence. Antonio had said that he has tried many times to contact the SFAI and has never got a response.

    I asked if the Irish Sports Council can try and lean on the FAI to exert more authority but the ISC has no interest in doing so. Some panel members have tried in the past, but ISC simply say to talk to the FAI.

    There was talk about moving schoolboy football to the summer, but all factions would need to agree to this and they can't - highlighting the lack of control a single body has.

    Antonio did a great job and is organising more discussion events like this in future. I'll notify you on this site.

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  22. #38
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    See link below for the latest in Antonio's series of events for coaches interested in gaining new perspectives. This looks more like a tutorial rather than a debate. €40 to attend, Coolmine FC on 15th June. A specialist running coach is giving a class in how to develop speed.

    http://www.thecoachdiary.com/mike-an...-in-june-2013/

    Didn't Celtic put Aiden McGeady though some sort of running speed programme?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuttgart88 View Post
    See link below for the latest in Antonio's series of events for coaches interested in gaining new perspectives. This looks more like a tutorial rather than a debate. €40 to attend, Coolmine FC on 15th June. A specialist running coach is giving a class in how to develop speed.

    http://www.thecoachdiary.com/mike-an...-in-june-2013/

    Didn't Celtic put Aiden McGeady though some sort of running speed programme?
    Yes they did actually. Gregory DuPont was the fitness coach involved. I remember eirebhoy also posting about that at the time. Personally I never actually thought McGeady was particularly pacey to be honest, though there was a marked improvement around that time.
    I thought you were off the drink Ronnie?

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    Emmert Malone today writes about the Dutch model, Ruud Doktor, and what other countries are spending on youth development.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/socc...utch-1.1400095

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