Updated: Mar 25
Why attend a Residential soccer Academy in Europe?
A good start point is to reflect on what exactly is a Residential Academy and then begin to self-reflect on what your individual goals are as it relates to exploring the opportunity of living and training abroad.
A residential soccer academy will typically provide a player with:
· Competitive calendar – training and games
· Individual training and strength & conditioning plan
· Individual performance analysis with focus on areas for improvement
· Academic options as desired
· Cultural activities
As you reflect on what is the best fit for you, you need to consider a range of factors that will be personal to you and may include:
· Language of the country you intend to go to
· Climate and cuisine
· Academic options
· Accommodation options
· Training platform and staff
· Game calendar
· Opportunities afforded to trial at the professional level
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The rationale for exploring a residential soccer experience in Europe may differ from person to person but some of the overall benefits will stay the same. These may include:
1. Becoming a better player:
Having the ability to enter into a professional training and playing environment that includes a significantly higher contact time with skilled staff will increase the development of talent. Players will still need to have the correct attitude and work ethic, but having a full-time schedule will see improvement across the four pillars of the game – technical, tactical, physical and psychological. Training and playing at a consistently more competitive level will stand players in better stead to return to a US college environment better prepared to contribute more quickly to the program they are entering.
2. Becoming a better person:
Taking a year to immerse oneself in a different culture is a tremendous way to expand your life experience. Having the capacity to learn a new language, try different cuisines and generally be involved in a different way of life provides the opportunity to build independence, confidence and a greater global awareness in general. This will set up student-athletes to return to a traditional college experience with more focus, self-reliance and maturity and allow them to show a college that they are going to enter their institution as a much more rounded person.
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3. Additional time:
This may be because a student-athlete already has secured a college spot and is looking to defer for a year to benefit athletically and socially from the extra time afforded by the deferral. It may be due to the fact that a student-athlete needs more time to figure out exactly what they want to do and have not been able to narrow the search enough to select the best fit possible. It may be that the student-athlete feels that a year training and playing in a full-time academy program will stand them in better stead to see increased playing time when to do attend the college of their choice.
While getting prepared for a great collegiate soccer experience in a full-time soccer environment, IDA residential academies offer student-athletes opportunities to be exposed to different levels of European football.
Weekly games vs professional academies and trials at local semi-professional and amateur clubs – the pathway towards professional soccer is the hardest one, but not impossible. ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough’.
Whatever the reason is for looking at the opportunity to be part of a residential soccer academy, you need to research your options thoroughly, be honest and open with yourself as to what you want, and get as much information as you possibly can before embarking on what can be a rewarding and exciting journey.