Friday, March 16, 2007

How To Sign Talented Youngsters At No Cost

At our recent Public Open Meeting we raised an idea that our Club should hold open days to give trials to young players. As far as we know, no other Premiership club does this.

We thought we'd expand on this idea here; if after reading it you have any comments to make please leave them on this article or send them to us at we always welcome feedback, questions and input.

During our research and planning stage we looked at a few football clubs here and abroad. There was one in particular that jumped out at us and that was Ajax.

Ajax are well known for developing much of their own talent and Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Franck Rijkaard, Dennis Berkamp and Patrick Kluivert are a few of the international players to have come through their ranks. At City we have one of the best academies in the Premiership of that there is no doubt. Many Premiership clubs would pay a small fortune to find out Jim Cassell and his team's secrets to producing so much talent on a regular basis. But could something else be done on top of all the great work they already do?

At Ajax each year they hold a three day "Talent Week" where 1,400 youngsters are able to showcase their abilities in a series of tests and skills. Usually they pick up a player or two for their academy this way. When thinking about this we thought that our Club could do something similar. Before you jump to conclusions or think that every potential young talent has been picked up by Clubs already, please keep reading, there is more to this than meets the eye!

If City were to run a "Talent Week" then they could cover a wider age range than Ajax, perhaps run it for 10 - 18 year olds. This would not only give youngsters unattached to Clubs a chance but those older youngsters released from Clubs would also have a chance. Don't forget, Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips were both released by clubs before being picked up by our Club.

Of course there is more to this than picking up a potential talented player. Such an event would raise the Club's profile locally, nationally and perhaps internationally. Such an event would also benefit Manchester and the community at large.

And of course like most things involved with football there is a commercial aspect. Major sponsors would be attracted to such an event, meaning that our Club would be able to run such an event at no cost (it may even make a profit, which could be donated to charity or given to the Academy).

In short, and without going into too much detail, this would appear to be a "win win" situation for all concerned. We hope that our Club gives our idea serious consideration.

To finish we must take you back to the City of Amsterdam and tell a story of a ten year old boy who took part in Ajax's "Talent Week" in 1993. He was good enough to be picked for a further trial which he passed and then he joined the Ajax academy.

Seven years later he made his debut for Ajax and became a first team regular a season later. For three seasons running he was voted Ajax's most promising youngster. On 6 October 2001 he made his debut for Holland and played in Euro 2004.

In 2005 Ajax sold him for €7.5m to Hamburg where he is now the Captain of their team and recently he has been linked to a "big money" move to Bayern Munich this summer. He was 24 last month and has already played for Holland over 40 times. His name is Rafael Van Der Vaart.

Could there be a "Rafael" in the UK waiting to be signed?


At 9:40 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

could not agree more with you add on the present scouting system(Charlton took a "risk" this week by taking a striker from non league league -31 goals/35 games-for 35000 pounds).I also agree on the previos articles re:agreements by supportng intl.clubs etc. Somewhere along the line
this is must be on the agenda of the future board.

At 7:15 pm, Blogger brian prendergast said...

i fully agree with open trial days,some lower league teams use this method,about 5 years ago my son attended one at rochdale f.c he was picked up as a goalkeeper when he was 10 years old.. he played for rochdale for abuot 6 months, went on to play for macclesfield town for a season and then onto stockport county for two seasons, this has also led to further trials over the years for city ,united,and sheffield wed and pre trial training bolton,oldham and bury. so up to know it is proof that open trials are the best way of spoting raw talent ...when i was a kid playin junior football and over the many years watching junior games i have only known scouts turn up on two occasions..again proof that scouts are missing talent. now having a lot of experience of these academys i have also seen the... darker side..some kids are given trials and also signed..not on ability but they are related or family freinds of coaches or somoene within the club or even their relations were footballers of the clubs one of the coaches set up a company.. promises trials at various lower league long as you pay £35 join then 4 coaching sessions at £10...about 50 kids attend he then gets his mates...3 scouts from other pick abuot 5..these are then invited to train with that club..easy talent needed but £75 for a chance of a trial...also at these clubs the kids are being let down by the standard of coaching..some coaches have sat down in a classroom for a couple of hours and gained there F.A badge, but dont know anything about football..this is why we are signing players from abroad because our youngsters are not getting a chance to be discoverd and if they do get a chance they are not being coached correctly...ON SUNDAY I AM GOING TO WATCH A UNDER 12S GAME IN A PARK IN GORTON..A FEW PLAYERS IN THAT GAME WILL STAND OUT FROM THE REST AND I AM SURE IF I WAS WATCHING A UNDER 12S GAME IN A PARK IN BRAZIL,ITALY,AGENTINA,FRANCE,ETC,ECT THE PLAYERS WOULD NOT BE ANY BETTER....


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