After deciding to take a break from Academy football Steve Gale developed his own soccer school to help bridge the gap between grass roots and Academy players.
He is still very frustrated with the lack of street play and has tried to create the right environment for his boys and girls to develop away from too much pressure. His aim is to produce players that can use repeatable skills and make clever decisions that don’t depend on physical size.
Steve himself ran one of the most successful Pre Academy’s in England working for Fulham FC for 8 years before moving into recruitment as a scout for Chelsea FC in the premier league.
“You will become clever through your mistakes”
Failing at pre academy is not the end of the road for young players just an experience that didn’t work at this moment in time. Most signings are early birthdays or boys that can physically affect the game through speed and strength. Often technique is ignored if the boys cannot “affect the game” this should be treated as “ignition” the moment we fail and start the fight back through better practice and self-motivation.
By the end of primary school, we should start to identify the best players. Observing good balance technique and athletic movement and the most important factors which are mostly mental skills and intelligence. Does the child really “Need” to be a footballer are they motivated to train past their comfort zone into the conveyer belt of Academy football.
Steve’s links across London and the south east help him to attract the right boys into his soccer school but will only put them forward if he feels the player is right for the club.” From the ages of U6 – U11 it is important to love the game and experience grass roots football as well as playing for the school and district/county. It is vital to sustain a love for the game, constantly challenging yourself throughout your journey and striving always for the highest possible level to play at!
Academy football is a huge commitment for both parents and children, before you throw away your child’s free time and Sundays consider the consequences it will have on the rest of the family. The level of commitment is not for the feint hearted and some of the most talented boys I have worked with failed as the result of lack of parental and adult support.
Forget the category, forget the club ask yourself what people work there, what is the best club for your child, is it really worth sacrificing education for football?
We put many children into the system but very few come out with success stories with a pro contract. This is the reality of elite sport, though the journey will hopefully strengthen your child into becoming a well prepared human being.
The most important message is to enjoy the game improve as much as possible and eventually you will find your level!!