International opportunities with NF Academy
Football talents will get international opportunities with NF Academy
Through a good scholarship structure, Scandinavian players can get the chance to train with international top clubs, and become a permanent part of the NF Academy’s national and international programs.
The development of future international top players is key to the scholarship, where the Portuguese Academy wants to give motivated and talented players a unique chance to gain international experience and a solid training. The players in the age groups 2004, 2005 and 2006 are the focus for this scholarship deal. There will be 10 international grants this year with 100 percent funding, as well as 15 regional grants with 50 percent funding.
“We want to give these players the opportunity to train with and compete against players of the same age, with the same ambitions, and for them to develop in a social environment where they can study, have fun and at the same time focus on what they can improve as a football player . Through collaboration with top clubs (similar to the one we have in Sporting CP ), we will give these players a chance to evolve into elite players with an international career in the long term”, says sports director of NF Academy, Joao Plantier.
The main goal of the scholarship structure is to help Scandinavian talents between 16 and 19 year-old in a crucial phase of their football career. On the way to junior football, players acquire a good set of skills before being sent out to European academies and top clubs to evolve as players.
João Plantier believes Scandinavian players in this age group generally have a weak offer in their countries to be able to move further into top football clubs, both nationally and internationally.
I don’t think a 16-17 year old will become a better player in the long run by playing senior football in 3rd division or lower. It slows down his development, and instead allows the player to adjust to playing adult football at a low level, Plantier continues.
In Norway, for example, there has been a drop in the number of players of the age group 13 to 19 year olds, which then results in a lower number of players in the junior football category (16-19 years). This means that there will be fewer teams in the series with a very mixed level.
The Norwegian model is regularly debated, as people wonder if it is an optimal form of player development. Whether the children’s football should be free of results and tables, and whether coin throws and the number of corners should dictate the winner. Where players are not allowed to participate in top layers before the age of 13.
The Norwegian Football Federation responded in 2016 with a national series for G16, but this league only includes the top clubs and their selected players from the circuit teams and other selected institutions. In other words, you are deprived of the opportunity to play at the highest level if, for example, you are not yet physically developed.
“My experience suggests that we should have a different approach to developing players of this age. In Portugal, for example, we have series games for almost all age groups. From U8 to U17 and U19. The best clubs have a U23 series. I think a player like Bernardo Silva would not be where he is today, if he hadn’t had the chance to play with his peers as long as possible. It would probably have given him less playtime and would hardly have achieved the career he has today. There are many players we simply have to be patient with for them to develop. How is it possible if we do not have the right system for them ?”, concludes Plantier.
The scholarship structure:
- The goal is to help Scandinavian players to find a professional career internationally.
- NF Academy supports 10 international and 15 regional grants for the period September 2019 to August 2020. Through evaluation, it will then decide whether the scholarship will be expanded.
- The scholarships are awarded to motivated and talented players born in 2004, 2005 and 2006. These players will train with European academies, become a regular part of international, national and local NF Academy programs, as part of a long-term planning for an international football career.
- From 16-19 year olds, the NF Academy will find European academies and top clubs for these players as part of their long-term development plan. Eventually, the goal is to assist these players in getting in a good club for further development.
I want to train with NF Academy
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