Date: 23rd February 2008 at 2:48pm
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Are you a young budding football player and think you have the ability to become the next Queens Park Rangers fans favourite? If you are, may I suggest you read on?

A career as a professional footballer is one that many children dream of from an early age. It can be one of the most glamorous and attractive careers a young person can hope to enter after leaving school.

Unlike many jobs, the road to becoming a professional footballer starts from an early age, sometimes as young as nine, through involvement with a club.

Clubs nowadays provide the best in football training as well a proper infrastructure to look after a child’s educational and welfare needs. It has become unusual for players above school age to be signed as professional footballers.

All F.A. Premier League and Football League clubs have extensive networks in their local areas, with talent scouts watching games at every level.

They develop their own contacts with local football, with a particular focus on schools and junior clubs. Scouts are usually accountable to Academy Directors or Youth Development Officers, who link their activities with the overall policies for developing young players.

All professional clubs now run Football Academies or Centres of Excellence, where the most talented youngsters in their areas gain access to the best training and support, from the age of nine upwards. Almost all boys who go on to become professional footballers will come through their local Academy or Centre of Excellence.

In order to attract the attention of scouts, young players should be playing football at the highest possible level: with their school, district or club. Ask at your school, or contact your local County Football Association for details of local clubs.

Football Academies

Thirty-eight Football Academies now operate at all F.A. Premier League and some Football League clubs. The Academies combine the best facilities and training with detailed programmes tailored to the needs of young players, emphasising the need to balance the amount of football played with education and welfare support.

Boys can join from as young as nine years old, and throughout their time with the Academy will combine football training with expert tuition, medical provision and educational support, leading to A level standard education for those who are successful in making it through to Scholarship status (for players aged 16-19). Academies have dedicated and fully-qualified staff covering coaching, medical, development, education and welfare.

Centres of Excellence

Fifty-four Football League clubs operate Centres of Excellence. These offer comprehensive programmes to improve and develop young players, under strict guidelines regarding the amount of football played, facilities and access to qualified staff.

Boys can attend Centres from the age of nine, and those successful in moving forward beyond the age of 16 into the professional game can join a Youth Training Scheme, where they will follow a comprehensive programme of education and football development.

Releasing Players

Not all players who are successful in gaining entry to Football Academies and Centres of Excellence, will make it as established professionals.

Some will be ‘released’ by their clubs. Boys and parents/guardians need to be realistic and appreciate the extremely small chance of successfully overcoming all the obstacles to becoming an established professional.

A key part of their involvement should be to enjoy and learn from the experience of being associated with a professional club. Clubs also take seriously their responsibilities towards the future of boys who do not make it, through a focus on continuing education and development.

Courtesy of the FA.com.

Details on how to register as a possible professional football candidate please click the following link.

Profootball.com

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