With just a week and a half of the programme gone, the academy players are already planning their future and looking at opportunities along the way.

As part of the IHM Football Academy programme in both Manchester & Ellesmere, the team of coaches and staff are keen to ensure that all players make the most of their time in the UK. At IHM the coaching team want them to take every opportunity to look towards their future, beyond their time with us. The IHM staff have always worked with the student players to facilitate this longer-term planning. However, this season they have gone one step further by developing a calendar of opportunities for the players.

The programme sets out the monthly and weekly opportunities to gain experience and knowledge, as well as where they are specifically able to showcase their ability. Each time the players step out on the pitch they are giving themselves an opportunity. In the new programme there are a number of enrichment sessions, including presentations from within the industry, guest coaching, tournaments and games. All of these are occasions to demonstrate their skills and ambition and will include visiting scouts providing individual feedback and reports and assessments, along with a chance to join the USA college and university soccer scholarship routes.

The Ellesmere team were the first to be involved in one of these sessions, kicking off a series of seminars from our Football Consultant, Mick Brennan, on how to best show case themselves as a player. These sessions will run throughout the season, 2 per term, and will guide players as to how they can optimise their opportunities by using a variety of means including: the development of player CVs, the use of social media, gaining knowledge of the industry and creating their own ‘shop window’.

The first session was a great success with Mick setting out the series of seminars for the year and clarifying what to expect. Mick also got the players to start to think about future career and academic pathways and to start to gather information that will help them along the way.

About the first presentation of 2023 Mick said:

“ It was great to be back at Ellesmere again to talk with the players. After a quiet start, the players really started to engage with the information being presented. By the end of the session they were even beginning to put themselves forward to be interviewed and practice selling themselves with confidence.

The session will clarify that it is their responsibility to take all these wonderful opportunities and to seek out ways to maximise their chances of success.

It’s always surprising how many young people don’t know how to gather together information for a CV or realise just how powerful social media and positive communication can be to showcase their ability.

Hopefully, by the end of these sessions they will each create a portfolio that can stay with them for the future. The players here have a great platform to grow, the coaches are a fantastic support and with the technology here at the academy and with every game being recorded, there is no reason why they can’t all build something to be proud of.”

Mick is well placed to guide and share his knowledge with the young players having had a long career in the game. Starting as a young coach at then Premier League club, Blackburn Rovers FC, Mick quickly progressed through the ranks at the club to be leading the coaching team at the BRFC Foundation, alongside coaching and recruiting at the impressive youth academy at Blackburn Rovers. Following his 14 year spell at the club Mick went onto teaching and coaching young players at both Preston North end and Burnley FC briefly, before joining Peter Hayes in developing the IHM Football Academy in Manchester and Ellesmere. Mick spent 15 as a director here at IHM, leading the football and teaching and guiding our young international players on their football journey. After leaving the academy at the end of the 2021/2022 season it’s great that Mick can come back for these sessions to be a part of these young players’ journeys.

As we go through the season watch out for he work of the players as they build their profiles.

If you would like advice on your football career and journey, and would like to be part of the team here at IHM Football Academy, take a look at the website and contact us now for a review of what courses might work best for you.