Kick off into a sporting career
2017-06-15 12:39:25 -
Sports
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The 11th and latest edition of the FAI-ETB Association Football Player Development programme enables interested participants to train full-time while also availing of a sport-themed education programme.

It helps young players to achieve their potential and, in many cases, to develop a career in professional soccer.

The programme also prepares participants for a career in the sports and leisure industry, and encourages them to improve their level of education, thus enhancing their job prospects and opportunities.

On the academic side, participants will complete a QQI Level 5 in Sport and Recreation plus an Itec Gym Instructor’s Diploma, Pool Lifeguard and FAI Coaching Certificates including Kickstart One and Two. A number of graduates have also gone on to third level institutions at home and abroad to continue their education.

The player development side of the programme has seen over 100 graduates going on to play in the SSE Airtricity League, while players such as Kevin Long (Burnley), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan (Preston North End) have earned call-ups to the Republic of Ireland men’s senior squad.

Many players from migrant backgrounds have also graduated from the course, including Emeka Onwubiko, who was the first African-born player to play for a Republic of Ireland international side is now completing his Uefa Level B coaching badge.

The Cabinteely FC trio of Victor Ekanem, Ollie Hamzat and Christian Lotefa have all graduated from the Cabra campus, with Nigerian-born Ekanem just appointed a full-time coach with the FAI, while Lotefa has come to the attention of scouts from DR Congo.

The course directors are keen to recruit female trainees, who will get the opportunity to develop their skills to allow them take up places in the ranks of the ever-increasing numbers of teams competing at senior level in the women’s game.

In the last few years, the courses have also accommodated players who have returned from clubs abroad and who wish to refresh their careers at home.

The comprehensive pro-gramme of education through sport is very much in line with the recommendations of the European Union’s Dual Careers guidelines by providing options for all trainees to take up jobs in coaching or the wider sports and recreation industry, should they decide to change from their playing career path.

The courses currently take place in Limerick and Castlebar, Clondalkin, Cabra and Irishtown in Dublin, and Blarney, Carrigaline and Ringmahon in Cork. There are currently plans to expand the programme into other areas of the country that will bolster the supply of players for senior clubs in Ireland and beyond.

Any young player looking to fulfil their potential whether on or off the pitch can apply now for the 2017-18 courses by visiting www.fai.ie/fai-etb-courses
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