There is no surprise in the fact that young football players start their careers at a young age right now. Long gone are the times where you could be admitted to school at the age of 14–15 and still, have a chance to go to the professional club.
There are basically two ways to achieve the level of a professional football player now and both start when you are as young as 8–9.
Top clubs with their academies start admitting players at that age, sometimes even younger, at 6–7. They prefer to keep it as “funnel” where at a very young stage they throw a lot of kids into the spinning machine and then gradually year after year narrow down amount of kids until they reach the age of 12–13. Then only the best are selected to continue in their academies, mostly without being charged for attendance. Before that, they mostly operate on a commercial basis — if you want to send your talented child to an academy and he is in the right age, you have to pay monthly fees and hope to be chosen the next year.
The second option is playing for independent academies starting from grassroots and moving forward to the second stage and then the club. If you don’t have the top club’s academy at your doorstep but you still want to practice and hope you will be recommended to the club, then that’s the way to go. You might start in an independent academy at a very young age and continue in the same school for long, or go through 2–3 schools as we mentioned before.
Both ways result in the same, you have to reach a club level at some point. Which way is better? There is no simple answer to that question. You could be tempted to say that the famous academy is the way to go but not necessarily. Imagine huge pressure on your child and fierce competition in Escola or Real Madrid’s academies. It can end up in total euphoria or, the contrary, destroy your kid and believe us, not every child is meant to play in Barcelona but can still be a successful football player. There are so many options to choose from.
The time of transition from school to club comes early too. Typically at the age 16–18, a player should be playing or being on loan in the club (maybe second team) and gradually making the headway into the first squad. Ideally, for everyone, it should be one of the European clubs to increase the development and probability of success.
The football world is huge, however, and there are some restrictions on player movement so that can slow things down in the places outside Europe. In Europe, the player can be moved outside of the country at the age of 16. In other parts of the world, it’s 18. It was a move that FIFA made to reduce football trafficking from underdeveloped countries. As the saying goes, the sword has two ends — it blocked some talented kids from Africa and other continents to move on their careers at an early stage.
In Bitcademy, we bring the solution to the countries affected by the ruling. We build high-tech academies in the places that are yet to be discovered. We want to invest some more than sandy pitch into Zambia, Indonesia and many other countries with huge potential. We bring tracking devices, AI talent recognition and player monitoring to control our players better and expose them for more sponsorship options. We elevate local communities and allow children to educate, train and learn football on school premises.
You can help us build these academies with us and be part of the football revolution.
Check us out on https://bitcademy.io