Did you know there are soccer academies in the world that train you to be the best player? I didn’t. I always thought soccer players kick off their careers on the street.
There is some truth in that as most players start out practicing and playing on the street/field or pitch. Some players were given the opportunity by football scouts to excel and make a future out of soccer and some were not so opportune.
There are thousands of soccer academies but there are 15 renowned in the world today. But before we go in deeper, let’s be in the know.
What Is A Soccer Academy?
A soccer academy is a place where aspiring young soccer players go to train and learn how to play the game professionally. Most youngsters set up early to know about the game and improve to be recognized by scouts.
As such, these academies not only train and teach you but also look out for what you bring, what makes you stand out, and what makes you unique on the pitch.
What Qualifies You For Soccer Academy?
In order for you to get into a soccer academy, there are some qualities, skills, and talents scouts look for in you. If you have any of this, you are just an academy away from being a soccer superstar.
- Technical Skills
Strategy is essential quality scouts look for in young soccer players. A player’s natural ability to handle a ball is important, but technique encompasses much more. Elite Academies place a high emphasis on identifying players with strong technical skills.
The ability to anticipate the next pass, control the ball under pressure and make quick decisions are all vital characteristics of a technically gifted player. These skills are highly valued by coaches and trainers in soccer academies
Speed is by far another important quality scouts look for in young soccer players. Having talent and strategy in playing is not enough for them if you don’t have speed. Football scouts look for young players with speed to a level and then help to improve those speeds over time.
- Motion & Mental Skills
If you want to be picked by football scouts, you should have the motion and mental ability to easily find space and the right time to receive the ball so as to keep moving and continue the game.
- Positive Attitude
Football scouts look for young soccer players that are not only positive towards the game but also have positive communication with their coequal.
What Are Soccer Academies Requirements?
In preparation for a soccer academy, there are some requirements that must be met before you are allowed to enter the academy. If you want to enroll, you must:
- Be 9 years
- Excel the coach’s evaluation (i.e you must pass the examination on balance and speed)
- Have a great fit physically
- Be Extraordinary
A contract is reached between the academy and the trainees of ages 9 and 16. On the basis of the improvement, growth, antics, and skills of the trainee, the contract is renewed every 1-2 years, and players who turn 16 may advance to the Traning Scheme.
The Training Scheme is a bonus as it comes with not only the opportunity to train professionally for 3 years but also come with academics to equip and grow them in the game to be successful.
How Much Is The Average Tuition For Soccer Academies?
The cost of tuition for soccer academies varies depending on the location, level of training, and reputation of the academy.
Some academies may charge a few thousand dollars per year while others can charge tens of thousands of dollars. And, some academies may also charge extra fees for things such as accommodation, travel, and gear.
It is best to research and compare different academies to determine the cost and what is included in the tuition. Some academies offer scholarships or financial aid to players who may not be able to afford the full cost of tuition.
How Do Soccer Academies Works?
Soccer academies are like boot camps for young soccer players, where they learn the ins and outs of the game and train to become the next big thing.
They’re a sort of special training facility where young players are taught how to score goals, make passes, and perform cool moves all while learning. These academies not only make the players better at the game but also make them better people, they build confidence, and commitment to help them believe in themselves.
And just like in any training program, not every student will become a star player, but they’ll all leave with valuable skills and experience
These academies provide cost-effective means of developing young talents who will eventually take over from the established members of the senior squad. Examples of successful academies include Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich, who have a history of promoting academy players to their first team.
Financially, academies also benefit from selling players to other clubs and help to maintain the club’s football culture and identity by sourcing and educating young talents within the club’s locality or internationally.
Players from the academies are expected to progress through the club’s ranks and eventually play for the first team.
15 Best Soccer Academies In The World
- Barcelona (La Masia) Academy
Barcelona (La Massia) is renowned as the world’s best soccer academy in the world, bringing about rare skills, tacts, and talents that have advanced into the face of soccer in not only Spain but Europe. In the year 2011, the final nominees for the Ballon d’Or came from Barcelona (La Massia) graduates.
One of these graduates is Lionel Messi, known worldwide for his skills, pace, and talents, and has been enthroned as one of the world’s best soccer players. Other successful players this academy has given rise to are Xavi, Puyoli, and Andres Iniesta who were winners of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- Ajax Academy
This academy is well known for producing fine soccer players who have gone far and beyond in their soccer careers. This academy produces strategic players that compete with other teams nationwide.
This academy has given rise to players like Frankie De Jong, Matthijs De Ligt, Christian Eriksen, Kasper Dolberg, Justin Kluivert, and many others.
- Manchester United Academy
Manchester United has a long-standing history of promoting its academy players to the first team and giving them regular playing time in league games. This approach has led to many of the academy products becoming world-class players.
Players such as David Beckham, Danny Welbeck, Marcus Rashford, George Best, Paul Pogba, and many others are alumni of this academy.
- Bayern Munich Academy
Bayern Munich is recognized for lavishing and investing millions of dollars each year on 200 or less on young soccer players to produce world-class players. Players like Phillip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba, and Thomas Muller are the many graduates this investment has given rise to.
- Sporting Lisbon Academy
The most talked about and loved professional soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo graduated from Sporting Lisbon. This Portugal academy has produced other fine players with successful careers like Luis Nani, Joo Moutinho, Ricardo Quaresms, and Luis Figo.
- Sao Paulo Academy
Given the abundance of talented soccer players in Brazil, it comes as no surprise that the country boasts several esteemed soccer academies. One such academy is the São Paulo Academy, considered by many to be one of the top academies in the country.
This academy provides all the required necessities to produce fine soccer players like Kaka, Eder Militao, Lucas Moura, and Oscar Emboaba among many other successful graduates.
Players from all over Brazil travel to train at the academy, which provides the necessary resources and support for players from diverse backgrounds to have the opportunity to reach the highest level of the game.
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- Santos Academy
Graduates like Pele, the retired renowned Brazillian player, Neymar Jr, Rodrygo Emerson, and Robinho all graduated from Santos Academy as their finest players with successful careers in soccer.
While the São Paulo Academy may currently be higher in the rankings and has long placed a strong emphasis on education, providing opportunities for players who may not pursue a career in soccer.
Thanks to the training program at the academy, Santos remains one of the top teams in Brazil.
- Southampton Academy
Although, not well-to-do like the others, alumni players speak for the academy in producing world-class players. Players produced by this academy are Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, and Luke Shaw.
However, the club continues to invest heavily in training facilities to compete with other academies globally. This investment has resulted in some players choosing to stay loyal to their home club, which is a positive aspect for a club that places a strong emphasis on developing youth players.
- Schalke 04 Academy
The Schalke 04 academy, also known as the Knappenschmiede, is one of the most successful and renowned youth academies in German football. The academy has produced several notable players such as Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil, and Julian Draxler, all of whom have gone on to have successful careers at the highest level of the sport.
The academy is known for its focus on developing young players not only technically and tactically, but also in terms of mental and physical aspects. Schalke 04 has a strong tradition of promoting players from the academy to the first team, which has helped the club maintain a competitive squad for many years.
- Real Madrid Academy
Similar to the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the senior level, the two clubs also compete for top youth players. In the past, Real Madrid struggled to produce a significant number of homegrown players, but they have made significant changes in recent years.
Florentino Perez has played a key role in this shift, and the club has seen success with players breaking through to the first team and other top-flight clubs. As long as Real Madrid continues to invest financially, it will continue to attract players from Spain and other regions.
This European Academy has produced players like Alvaro Morata, Carvajal, Iker Casillas, and Marcos Llorente. It is known for producing some finest European best players.
- Boca Juniors Academy
Undoubtedly the best soccer academy in the world, it has led to the rising of successful players like Carlos Tevez and Diego Maradona. This academy is known for investing in its players while scouting for youngsters to develop and brush up their soccer skills to become one of the world’s finest players.
Carlos Tevez continues to express how the academy has helped shape his tacts, theatrics, and strategies into the finest player he is now.
- River Plate Academy
River Plate academy is considered one of the best in Argentina, known for producing top-level talent. The academy focuses on providing a strong foundation from a young age and continuing to develop players’ skills as they progress through the academy.
Many players who excel in the academy tend to move to Europe, where they can find more financial opportunities. However, some players choose to stay with the club and have contributed to the national level.
River Plate has a long-standing tradition of promoting players from the academy to the first team, which has helped the club maintain a competitive squad for many years. This academy has given rise to players like Erik Lamela, Alfredo Di Stefano, Javier Mascherano, and Herman Crespo.
- FK Partizan Belgrade Academy
The FK Partizan Belgrade academy is one of the most successful and renowned youth academies in Serbia. The academy has produced several notable players such as Dejan Stanković, Nemanja Vidić, Saša Ilić, Stevan Jovetic, Stefan Savic, and Dusan Vlahovic.
The academy is known for its focus on developing young players not only technically and tactically, but also in terms of mental and physical aspects. FK Partizan Belgrade has a strong tradition of promoting players from the academy to the first team, which has helped the club maintain a competitive squad for many years.
The Serbian football academy founded in the 1950s focuses on teaching youngsters the skills and strategies of soccer.
- West Ham United FC Academy
The academy has a long-standing tradition of producing young talent and promoting them to the first team. The academy focuses on developing young players not only technically and tactically, but also in terms of mental and physical aspects.
The academy maintains a vast network of scouts that helps in identifying and recruiting talented kids from various locations within the country and the surrounding region.
This academy has produced one of the finest players like Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, De Dan Rice, and Joe Cole.
- Anderlecht Academy
Anderlecht is a well-known Belgian football academy that has produced several top-level players such as Youri Tielemanns, Romelu Lukaku, and Vincent Kompany.
Graduates of the academy have excelled in various leagues worldwide. The academy has a strong tradition of success in the Jupiler Pro League, and it continues to be a primary source of the top talent in the Brussels area.
As players developed in the academy move on to top clubs in Europe, the academy continues to uphold its reputation as a premier destination for developing soccer prospects.
Soccer academies are an advanced way of learning how to play soccer games. It will not only bring success to your starting soccer career but also help in shaping you to be better if not the best or one of the finest players out there.
So, which of these academies would you attend?