Before the giant strides, there were humble beginnings in football academies for most today’s football stars. Rising to the summit of the game requires guidance, mentoring, and proper coaching and that is where football academies come in.
Almost all of the top stars and legends of the game had spells with established institutions, which provided both moral, emotional, and most importantly technical support and guidance.
The role of coaching institutions in molding and grooming top players cannot be overestimated. There are multiple football academies and coaching institutes spread across the globe. But we will take a look at the top 5 best institutions, and how to gain admission.
Chelsea Cobham Academy
Chelsea Football Club is leading the list of clubs with some of the best facilities and trainers in the world.
The academy is known for producing some of the best legs and talents that have gone ahead to dominate English football and by extension European football.
Chelsea Youth team have dominated the FA Youth cup for a decade appearing in the finals, and winning seven of them.
They have also dominated the UEFA Youth League winning it back-to-back in the 2014 and 2016 seasons.
Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount, and Reece James are some of the home-grown players that rose through the ranks and stamped their feet into English football.
Barcelona La Masia Academy
Second, on the list of top football academies in the World is Barcelona’s La Masia Academy.
The world is still reaping the rewards and fruits of the legendary football coaching institute. Barcelona academy came into prominence in 2000. Promising youngsters, who will later come to dominate Spanish and European football, were birthed at the academy.
In 2010, Pep Guardiola expedited the process of integration, bringing many youngsters into Barcelona’s first team.
The likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Carles Puyol, Pedro, Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, and Sergio Busquets rose from the Barcelona La Masia football academy and helped Barcelona dominate European football.
The academy products also infused new energy into Spain’s national team, shaping the fortunes of the team in European football.
Johan Cruyff was the pinnacle of Ajax’s football academy; a complete icon, who was groomed and raised through the football tutorial school.
For years, Ajax’s exceptional and heavy investment in the club’s academy has yielded immense results.
Johan Cruyff reportedly reinvested and shaped the philosophy of Ajax’s football which has lived till today. He reportedly laid the groundwork for the high-press, energetic, attacking, and flexible style of football which has kept Ajax at the apex of Dutch football for years, including a giant stride in European football.
Some Ajax Academy players such as Ryan Gravenberch, Matthijs de Ligt, and Donny van de Beek have equally excelled outside the shores of Dutch football.
Other legendary footballers who were groomed in the Ajax academy include Wesley Sneijder and Clarence Seerdorf.
Benfica Academy is fourth on the list of clubs with top football coaching and training institutes. Benfica Academy has kept the club at the summit of Portuguese football.
Benfica had produced high-flying and some of the most prolific football stars that are dominating the game, not only in Portugal but excelling in other climes.
Some of the players that were groomed in the academy are plying their trade in some of the top and best clubs and leagues in Europe.
Manchester City has a good bundle of Benfica academy talents, who have contributed immensely to City’s domination of the Premier League.
Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias, Ederson, and Joao Cancelo are all Benfica graduates.
Victor Lindelof at Manchester United, Joao Felix at Atletico Madrid, Goncalo Guedes at Valencia, and Renato Sanches at Lille are also on the list.
PSG has risen to compete with other elite and top football academies in Europe in the past decade. However, there are fears that the gains of the last decade may likely be eroded as the club seems to veer from the route of prioritizing grooming home-grown talents into the club’s first team.
Some of the big names who rose through the PSG Academy include Presnel Kimpembe, Moussa Diaby, and Yacine Adli
How to be admitted into a Football Academy
Unlike other training institutes, it is not difficult to gain access and be admitted into football academies. First, you could be scouted by the academies themselves.
Also, a football agent can help you locate and link you to a soccer academy. However, a prerequisite is good football potential and talent. You can also apply through a club’s email address to join the club and could be luckily picked in the process.