Opportunities in Football
It is very difficult for foreign nationals to get a professional football opportunity in the UK, due to strict visa controls. Our aim is to develop your football skills as far as possible, so that you can be considered for football opportunities in your own country, or in Europe and the USA. We have links to many clubs around the world.
Exposure to professional clubs is provided on a constant basis throughout the duration of our IH Manchester Football programmes in the following 3 key ways:
Competitive Friendly matches
On a regular basis the IH Manchester Football Programme squad will play matches against professional and semi-professional club youth academy or development squads or against local North West College teams whose coaches are also scouts for professional and semi-professional clubs. These matches provide a regular opportunity for participants to showcase their talents directly and indirectly to clubs. Follow up matches are often organised later in the season so the clubs and College scouts can measure the progress of our participants. These fixtures also give the players the opportunity to put into practice the work they have done on the pitch through the year and review their performance and progress. These fixtures are split into 2 different categories: development fixtures, where all available players will have time in the game and target fixtures, where in the weeks and development fixtures prior, the players would have to work hard to be selected in the playing squad, just as they would in the professional game.
Professional Club guest coaching sessions
IH Manchester has good working relationships with many professional clubs in the North West of England and each month the Academy squad will receive guest coaching sessions from professional club coaches. These sessions may take place at either the academy training ground or the professional club. IH Manchester also has a close link with the PFA (professional footballers association) where we take regular sessions with their members. It is important that our participants are exposed to all levels of the professional game in England and these sessions help our participants to measure their ability levels with those required of a professional club Academy player as well as providing them with a direct trial exposure opportunity. The guest sessions will be conducted by either the PFA coaching sessions or a selection of local professional clubs.
All IH Manchester Football Academy participants are entered into the showcase event that the Academy host in Manchester. Participants are given the maximum opportunity to expose their talents in front of the invited professional & semi-professional club scouts & coaches from the UK and around the world. In the weeks leading up to the showcase event our players will prepared ready. At the end of the showcase event each player will receive direct feedback. During the following week after the event IH Manchester will be contacted by the scouting/coaches to arrange individual follow up trials for selected participants.
Opportunities for Non EU / UK Student Players
Due to English FA regulations and UK visa restrictions it is incredibly difficult for non EU / UK citizens to be allowed to play professionally for a UK club. The restrictions are even greater for players who are under 18 years of age. IHM is aware of these limitations and so will always expressly inform prospective student players and their parents about these at the enquiry stage. However, there are some opportunities and benefits available to non EU / UK players that are worthy of note:
-Tracking Players in Home Country – Exceptionally talented players may be tracked in the longer term by an interested UK professional club. Big clubs have a global network of scouts who monitor the progress of certain players in their home countries. Should such a club then wish to pursue such a player, they would then need to work with the player and their parents directly to find a legitimate way of making this happen.
-The IPSO scouts – IHM works closely with the International Professional Scouting Organisation (www.ipsofooty.com) which provides professional scout training and tale I.D. courses all around the world. IPSO scout trainers work with scouts from professional clubs, sometimes a number of clubs. IHM contracts IPSO scouts to attend our Showcase Events and Talent I.D. courses and provide a written report on each individual player taking part. If they spot exceptional talent at any of these events, they will send a report
onto any of the clubs, outside of the UK, that they represent for them to consider. It is then up to the club to assess this and see if they wish to or can take it any further.
-IHM is building links with scouts who work for non-EU / UK clubs – scouts representing clubs from outside of the UK have already attended our events. We are working to bring more such scouts to our events in the future.
-Improved prospects for a player in their home country – By attending IHM football coaching a player will improve his fitness, reading of the game and football skill and ability. In short, we will make him or her a better player. We help all our players to build an online football cv and having attended our academy only enhances that cv. Similarly, if a player is identified as talented by a UK club, even if that club is prevented from pursuing the player further, this is a great attribute to have on a football cv. Many of our players have gone onto to sign pro contracts with teams back home after attending our school.
Please note: for players without a UK or EU passport it is very difficult to be able to progress on in UK football academies under visa and FA rule. Article 19 of the FA rules prevents many progressions in these cases. IHM therefore have commissioned a study of player friendly countries and league in Europe who can and will accept players and we invite these, plus send highlight footage to these clubs and contacts.