Talent Development Workshop examines ways to help all MAs reach their full potential

22 November 2021

  • Technical experts want to help GAs reach their full potential

  • Long-term planning and stability considered essential

  • Discussions were based on FIFA’s report on the Global Talent Development System

High performance specialists and regional FIFA technical consultants from around the world have gathered in Portugal to seek ways to support Member Associations (MAs) to raise the level of their national teams and ensure that every talented player has a luck.

One of the key messages from the workshop was that people and financial resources do not necessarily determine success in national team football, which is particularly relevant for the more than 130 MAs who have never qualified for a Cup. of the senior male world. However, to be successful, PAs will need to implement and follow a long-term talent development plan and be aware that success will not happen overnight.

“Talent development is a long-term commitment, it’s about investing in youth and creating the right environment for young players to thrive and reach professional level and the pinnacle of the game,” said Patricia González, Group Head of the FIFA Talent Development Program.

Ulf Schott, head of FIFA’s high performance program, stressed that a plan would need the support of all stakeholders to be successful. “The plan itself is not rocket science, but you have to have everyone on board and agree to it,” he said. “The whole country must come together. “

The workshop, held in the football town of Federação Portuguesa de Futebol on the outskirts of Lisbon, was part of the project of FIFA’s head of global football development, Arsene Wenger, to improve the competitive balance at the globally by helping PAs reach their full potential. This in turn is at the heart of FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s Vision 2020-23 to have 50 national teams and 50 clubs around the world capable of competing at the highest level.

To get the ball rolling, FIFA earlier this year released a groundbreaking study of the global talent development ecosystem that included a dedicated country report for each of the 205 FIFA member associations (MAs) that participated.

The report offered insight into a number of key areas of talent development, namely talent identification, training, playing opportunities and the transition from youth to senior level. Discussions in Lisbon focused on how to implement the next step of establishing individual roadmaps for each of the participating MAs.

Among the many issues raised, one of the most important was that many countries are losing talent as young people transition to professional levels, even in South America which is traditionally one of the best performing confederations.

“We have the talent there and the fact that a lot of children play football helps develop footballers, but it is difficult to find a comprehensive program for the training and education of talents in any of the countries,” he said. said Daniel Bañales, a regional technical consultant (RTC) from Uruguay.

Meanwhile, despite the widespread publicity given to the problem of match congestion, the problem in most regions was the lack of competitive football, especially among the younger age groups.

“Providing age-appropriate competition for each age group, quality competition over a longer period of time, would be a huge advantage in our region,” said Tony Readings, RTC for Oceania.

The high turnover of AM technical directors is a current concern. Over the past year, 106 GAs – more than half of FIFA’s members – have changed their TDs, leading to potential difficulties in the design, development and implementation of a long-term development plan. term and leads to a lack of stability within the organization.

Some MAs, such as Denmark, the United States, Mexico and Thailand, have already started to act on the report’s recommendations, and these have been presented as models for other MAs.

Thailand was cited as an example of how a strong, stable and well-supported TD could have a positive impact.

“Having a TD who wants analysis, embraces analysis and knows the report is going to be powerful for him is a great message to use with other countries,” said Kelly Cross, High Performance Specialist of FIFA (HPS). who worked on the country report. Thailand was also happy to receive outside advice, as was the United States.

“The United States was just hungry for ideas, for information and it is really focused on being the best it can be,” said Ged Roddy, an HPS who worked on the US national report. “I think they are a great example of a really proactive governing body and probably a role model that others might look to.”

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