Fleetwood Town’s International Football Academy is proving to be a huge success after helping players from all over the world work towards their dreams of becoming a professional footballer.
Launched in May this year and based at the club’s £10m state-of-the-art training complex, Poolfoot Farm, the Pro Experience on offer at Fleetwood Town International Football Academy (FTIFA) is going from strength to strength.
Since July, the unique player development programme has attracted 24 ambitious players from across the world including Nigeria, Australia, India, Portugal, Belgium, New York, Canada, and Rwanda, as well as the UK.
James Ward, FTIFA’s International Partnerships Manager, said, “The success of the Pro Experience has completely surpassed our expectations, and the fact that we have attracted players from all over the world is amazing.
“We’re working on enhancing the quality of the programme and the experience even further, so we can continue providing a platform where participants can develop as people, as well as on the pitch.”
“Bringing different cultures and nationalities together at Poolfoot Farm cements our place as a first-class global facility rather than just a local one,” added Mick Horsfall, FTIFA’s Operations Manager.
Joel Sobalbarro, aged 16 from Costa Rica, wanted to step outside of the US and out of his comfort zone, so he could really focus on his footballing career. As a high school student, Joel is continuing his studies while he’s here in the UK and is thankful for all the support he receives from the coaches.
“The facilities at Poolfoot Farm are fantastic, and it’s such a nice environment to learn in,” said Joel. “I was a little uncertain at first, being away from home, however everyone is so nice, and I settled in really quickly.
“I spend my spare time focussing on my studies so they’re not interrupted. I can do my classes on the laptop and the FTIFA coaches here help push me by setting deadlines to keep me going.
“My favourite aspect of the Pro Experience is being able to watch Fleetwood Town’s first team train – it motivates me and makes me want to train harder. I’ve told my friends back home about it and now they all want to come over and experience it for themselves.”
After being referred by his coach in Canada, Dennis Kettner, aged 16, is definitely making the most of the experience.
“When my coach mentioned the Pro Experience to me, I signed up straight away,” said Dennis. “It’s a great platform to enable me to go as far as I can in my footballing career.
“I love being able to train every day and watch the first team train, and I’ve been to all Fleetwood Town’s home games which I find so inspiring.
“All the coaches have different coaching techniques so I can learn different aspects of the game from the different coaches, which definitely enhances my skills.”
As well as training alongside Fleetwood Town’s first team and academy teams, FTIFA’s Pro Experience provides players with a platform where they can receive expert UEFA-qualified coaching and bespoke training programmes tailored to their individual skills and development needs. They also have the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of scouts representing clubs in the UK and abroad.
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