Do you want to become a professional soccer player? Then you may have heard of high-performance soccer academies.
Soccer academies are boarding schools for elite young players, designed to develop their skills and prepare them to compete at the collegiate, semi-professional or professional level. The best academies not only provide the contacts and knowledge to reach the top leagues, they also take education seriously and prepare them to succeed in all areas of their lives.
High-performing academies can be a great investment for young talented players to fulfill their dreams.
That said, not all academies are equally successful, nor do they provide the same opportunities to all of their students. Some have years of experience and hundreds of students enrolled in their programs, as well as proven success stories; others, however, are small schools full of empty promises. Therefore, before enrolling in an academy, it is important to research what the academy really is like.
At Ertheo, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to choosing a high-performance soccer academy to show you what factors distinguish an optimal high-performance academy from a mediocre one. After reading this guide, you should know more about high-performing academies and how to choose the right one to help you reach your full potential.
- What are high performance academies?
- Why go to a high-performance academy?
- Types of academies
- How to go to a high performance academy
- Qualification and experience of coaches
- Types of training
- Complete training
- Contacts and proven success
- Academic policy and educational options
- Safety, supervision and medical care
- Student life
- The best high performance soccer academies
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1. What are high performance academies?
High-performance soccer academies are residential colleges that offer annual intensive development programs for professional soccer players, where they live, train and study while working to improve their performance and reach their goals as students and as athletes.
Programs typically include intensive field training, competitive championships and friendly matches, video analysis, physical preparation as well as workshops and classes on strategy and tactics. They also learn about nutrition, injury prevention, rest and recovery, sports psychology, leadership, and much more during their stay.
The coaches of the best academies are not only certified by UEFA, but also have years of experience training at the collegiate, semi-professional and professional levels. Some are even ex-professional players.
The best programs are designed to prepare student athletes to achieve their athletic goals while continuing their education. Many academies offer various educational options for their students, as well as private tutors to ensure that they not only perform in the field, but also in class. Some have a requirement that their students take good grades to train or participate in games.
The best high-performing academies offer their students the opportunity to develop their skills without forgetting their education.
Take a look at some of the main features of a good high performance program:
- Accepted ages : 12 – 21 years.
- Game level: advanced – elite.
- Duration : full academic year (shorter programs also available).
- Objective : preparation to play at a collegiate, semi-professional or professional level.
- Coaching: Professional full training program to prepare players in all aspects of life as professional soccer players.
- Coaches : UEFA certified; experts and with good contacts, with experience playing and training.
- Education: various educational options available, private tutors; they ask for an academic commitment from the students.
- Price: per academic year, the price ranges from € 25,000 to € 75,000, depending on various factors.
2. Why go to a high-performance academy?
Many young and talented players dream of playing professionally, but face many obstacles that can keep them from their goal. Some of the most common obstacles can be ignorance (they don’t know how to become professionals), time (they have only a small window or opportunity to develop their talent) and, of course, mediocre trainings and coaches, not to mention that they also end up worrying for distractions of all kinds in the school environment.
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High-performance soccer academies were created to remove these obstacles and thus provide the opportunity they deserve to succeed. They provide talented young athletes with the ideal environment for success, in which they are surrounded by student athletes with the same mindset, mission, and focus.
Common obstacles that hinder a professional career are:
- Finding the balance between sport and education to master both areas
- Lack of knowledge on how to become a professional
- Trainers who do not know how to contact talent scouts and professional teams
- Low-level workouts where being the best is not challenging enough
- An environment that does not support your passion and mission
In the best high performance academies:
- A school specially designed to meet the sports and educational needs of student athletes
- Expert advice on your best options to advance your career
- Coaches with good contacts and knowledge who can put them before professional teams and headhunters
- High level training where they will compete with and against the best youth athletes in the world
- Inspiration and motivation from other students who share their goals and aspirations
If success involves competing at the collegiate, semi-professional, or professional level, high-performing academies can provide talented young players with the best opportunity to achieve their goals. That said, not all soccer academies offer the same opportunities to their students, as there are several types of high-performance academies with characteristics that make some better than others.