European academies and stunted growth

Is this the model we want?

Chelsea’s had 68 players play in an FA Youth Cup final in the last 10 years. They’ve played in a total of 84 senior team matches, an average of 1.2 matches per player. Nobody’s played more in that group than Josh McEachran, who’s featured 22 times on the senior level. … Chelsea will continue putting off their first team minutes until, by the time they’re 23, they’ve been shipped off on a bevy of different loan spells in myriad different systems. Lacking a consistent, solid ground on which to plant themselves, they’ll then be sold off to a middle-tier club in Europe with a fraction of the nourishing first team experience they could’ve had.

via Chelsea won the UEFA Youth League title, flaunting talent it’ll never use | The 91st Minute | Soccer Blog | Videos | Pop-Culture.

Related: German clubs don’t like UEFA competition because it takes kids away from school.

And that fits with the German emphasis on education:

“When I went to Aston Villa eight years ago I told them our players, under-17, 18 and 19, go to school for 34 hours a week,” he says. “They said: ‘No, you’re a liar, it’s not possible, our players go for nine hours.’ I said: ‘No, I’m not lying.’ They said: ‘It’s not possible, you can’t train and do 34 hours of education.’ I said: ‘Sure. And what do you do with the players who have for three years, from the age of 16 to 19, only had nine hours a week of school?

“They said: ‘They have to try to be a professional or not. They have to decide.’ I said: ‘No, we can’t do that in Freiburg. It’s wrong. Most players in our academy can’t be professionals, they will have to look for a job. The school is the most important thing, then comes football.’ We give players the best chance to be a footballer but we give them two educations here. If 80% can’t go on to play in the professional team, we have to look out for them. The players that play here, the majority of them go on to higher education. And we need intelligent players on the pitch anyway.”

(From the classic Guardian piece on German development)

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One Response to European academies and stunted growth

  1. JG says:

    Always a little suspicious of self-serving comments like the ones from the Freiburg guy. This old bigsoccer post regarding German youth soccer comes to mind:
    http://forums.bigsoccer.com/threads/is-soccer-in-america-that-far-behind.380406/#post-8982611

    Granted, things in 2015 may be different than they were in 2006.

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