Should I let my child sign up for a professional academy?
Mon 23 September 2019
We Make Footballers News
At We Make Footballers, our number one aim is that every child should enjoy football in a fun and safe environment, no matter what their ability level.
But many of our coaches also have links with professional football clubs like our professional football academy That puts us in a position where we know what is required to make it into an academy and can help young players work on the areas of their game that need improving to maximize their chances of doing so. More pertinently, it also means that we can recommend talented children for trials at academies.
That’s only the beginning of the journey though. A player then needs to have a successful trial before the most difficult part of the process – deciding whether signing for a professional academy is the right path to take.
Here are some of the considerations that any young player and their family needs to make.
Chances of success in football
The most important thing to understand about having a child in an academy is that their chances of actually making it as a professional are still slim. More than half of those who enter the system will be dropped at 16 and around just one percent of the players who join an academy at the age of nine make it as a professional footballer.
Practice, hard work and self-confidence are required for effective skills in football which can be learnt through weekly training in our weekly training centre.
The success of England’s age group teams in recent tournaments and the emergence of a new breed of players such as Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden means that clubs are beginning to put their faith in young English talent.
Academies can help to develop and nurture talent
Just because the chances of going from academy to professional football are so slim, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth signing with a professional club.
Those who do receive access to the best coaches and facilities in the country have better advantages. They would have the opportunity to transform their footballing abilities regardless of the availability of a contract waiting for them at that club or at the end of their journey.
If there is, brilliant. If there isn’t, then that doesn’t have to be the end of their football career. A player in a top academy will often be picked up by a club further down the pyramid. With an increasing number of non-league clubs turning full time, there are now arguably more opportunities than ever for young players to continue in the professional game, even if they are released.
The talent that is being developed in England is also attracting the attention of clubs overseas. Lots of young English players have moved to Germany over the past few years – Sancho again is the standout name there for his exploits at Borussia Dortmund – and Bundesliga and French clubs in particular continue to look to these shores for potential stars.
By signing with an academy, a young player is giving themselves the opportunity to make the most of their talents. That can be the start of an exciting journey that could lead them to places they’ve only dreamed of.
Being a footballer is your child’s dream
Speaking of dreams, the most obvious reason for your child signing for an academy would be to let them chase theirs. If they are football mad and want to play the sport for a living, then having them join a professional club at a young age is the most likely route to success given the improvements they’ll undergo as a player working with some of the best academy coaches in the world.
But as parents, you should always remember whose dream it is. While it would be brilliant to see your son or daughter playing for one of the biggest clubs in the country or running out at Wembley in an England shirt, their overriding reason for playing the game is for fun and love of football.
Ultimately, that’s what should guide the decision as to whether a child signs for a professional academy. Is it what they want to do?