In the real world, an Academy is an organised college or institution, where special subjects or skills are taught.
Obviously, a Football Academy is the place where junior footballers go to learn the right techniques and tactics to prepare them for a professional career in this sport. Most young people enrol into a Football Academy for one basic reason: to learn how to become world-class professional footballers.
However, setting up an Academy gives you an opportunity to do more than just teach football skills. You can also create an organised and safe environment to nurture the social and moral values of the young people in your care.
Setting-up a Football Academy is a daunting and challenging task; one that shouldn’t be taken lightly and without doing the proper research and preparation. You will need a lot of energy, enthusiasm and commitment in order to set-up a well-organised Academy that delivers benefits to every young player who attends.
And there are a variety of very important things that you will need to consider – such as Health & Safety issues and your Legal responsibilities – that will have an impact on the success of your Academy.
But don’t worry…following the steps below will help you get started the right way.
Setting Up a Football Academy in 7 Simple Steps
1. Employ the Right People
Employing the right people is important to the success of any business and is especially true when setting up a Football Academy. You must ensure that you have the right number of people, with the right skills and experience, to deliver effective coaching programmes for the young players in your Academy.
Your staffing levels will depend on amount of money you have available to pay for wages and any associated costs. However, it is important that you have a minimum of 3 members of staff to cover the following roles:
- Secretary or Administrator – this is the person who will take care of all the paperwork relating to registrations with the proper authorities and for trainees.
- Accounts Clerk or Treasurer – this is the person who will be responsible for all money issues including recording income and expenses and banking.
- Football Coach and/or Assistant – this is the person who will be responsible for planning, organising and delivering the football coaching programmes for the Academy.
As your Academy grows, you can employ more staff to fill new roles.
2. Find the Perfect Playing Pitch
If you don’t have a suitable place to hold football trainings and games, your plans for setting up a Football Academy will be doomed to fail. That’s why finding the perfect playing pitch essential.
When you’re searching for a playing pitch/field that is suitable for football training, keep in mind the safety issues and distance for the trainees. You could either rent from private owners or local government, which is sometimes free.
3. Recruit Talented Players
Once you’ve found the perfect pitch, you’ll need players to use it. But how do you begin the process of finding the best junior talent? You can start the recruitment process by looking for players locally…remember, there’s a lot of talent right there in your neighbourhood. If you have money to spend on marketing, consider buying advertising with magazines or journals to target a larger area.
4. Invest in the Proper Equipment
Your new recruits will never develop the correct skills to become professional players without the right tools. If you want to deliver effective training sessions, you need to have the right equipment such as cones, footballs, bibs, hurdles, step ladders, goal nets, whistles and goal posts. If you’re renting a pitch to use for your training sessions, the pitch owners may provide the equipment as part of the rental agreement. However, if you’re using your own pitch, it’s important that you have your own equipment and keep it in good condition.
5. Register Your Academy
If you don’t stay on the right side of the authorities, your dream of setting up a Football Academy can disappear into thin air before it even gets started. That’s why it’s important that you register your Academy with the Football Association, so that you can enter your players to participate in any competitions. The benefits of registering are that you’ll be meeting your legal obligations and building credibility for your Academy.
6. Generate Local Support
Why is it important to generate local support? Building relationships with people and organisation in your local area is a great way to raise awareness of the work you’re doing and attract potential sources of funding, both of which will help your Academy grow.
Finding sources of funding for your Academy must be a priority. As you discovered earlier in this article, there’s an enormous amount of work involved in setting up a Football Academy, which also means there are costs. Football Association registration, kits, pitch rental/purchase, insurance, travelling, staff salaries and possible league fees, all need to be paid for.
There are many ways you can generate funding for your Academy such as sponsorships from local businesses, tickets sales, player’s registration fees, advertising on academy billboards – to name just a few.
Just like any well planned organisation, when you’re setting up a Football Academy, you should decide on the path you wish to take to help you achieve your vision and goals.
So over, to you…what elements do you think are important to consider when setting up a football Academy? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.