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Soccer school or academy? What’s the difference?


Until recently, soccer clubs (specialized or not in rising juniors) had soccer groups for children and the terminology was clear. Soccer school is a term that generically refers to clubs or associations that offer soccer training for children.

With the introduction of the mandatory existence of children’s soccer centers for licensing clubs in the first 2 national leagues, the Romanian Soccer Federation introduced the term “soccer academy” to refer to the children’s soccer sections of these clubs. Based on the criteria established by FRF, these academies receive a score and are classified, and based on this classification the clubs receive a license for the first 2 leagues and the academies can receive funding.

Basically, in order to receive the name of soccer academy, the club must satisfy a series of requirements (to have its own sports base, licensed coaches, goalkeeping coach, etc.).

Soccer academies in soccer developed countries

But if we look at the countries with developed football, soccer academies are those clubs that can offer a permanent training camp to children and juniors (offering children accommodation, education, food, etc.). Basically, children develop in an environment controlled by the club – academy. In Romania, however, this happens only in a few clubs, and the name of soccer academy is used for those clubs that meet the requirements of the Romanian Soccer Federation (requirements that, especially due to the economic situation, do not overlap with the understanding of the term academy in developed football).

Soccer school VS academy

Soccer schools are those sports entities (clubs, associations) that carry out training activities for initiation and performance in children’s football, without having the obligation to classify in soccer academies. But this does not mean that a soccer school has poorer results than academies.

In fact, for the harmonious development of children, parents should identify that club that can offer the child the following benefits:

  • fully accessorized sports base for training in good conditions (quality fields, locker rooms, accessories for soccer exercises);
  • coaches working with children (UEFA licensed coaches);
  • constant regarding the training program (stable training schedule);
  • lack of pressure on results ;
  • long-term continuity of the team of players (which provides emotional stability to children).

All these requirements can be met (or not), regardless of whether the club is called an academy or a soccer school. Some parents believe that if they send their child to a soccer academy, they will be more likely to have a successful soccer career. Nothing more false! Romanian soccer academies do not have the same meaning of the term academy as those in football-developed countries.

Find out what a talent scout is looking for. A researcher could appear at any time to check the team. A scout will follow your whole attitude, not just your ball game. You will be pursued for the character as much as talent. Show team spirit by helping teammates. Show your ambition and competitiveness, but don’t be bad. You should also show that you can be calm and focused under pressure. Remember to play all the time. You never know who’s in the crowd.

Be prepared to move often.

 Clubs and agencies will expect you to move quickly to satisfy your desires without caring too much about your personal life or long-term career prospects.  Be prepared for this and continue to focus on your skills. Football. Before moving, consider: how often you will play, if you speak the language in which you will be moved, if the salary is adequate, if the club is challenging and has a good reputation, and if there is a medical good if you are injured.

Use your club. Clubs could organize rehearsals or talent days. They also tend to rely on the network they have to identify the best players and send exceptional players.  Get involved in all the important trials. Make the most of these opportunities by meeting as many people as possible, changing details, and following your leads. Ask how or if your club encourages talented researchers to visit your club.