In 2010, The FA launched The Future Game, The FA Technical Guide for Young Player Development.
Two guides, one for the grassroots and one for the elite game, were published outlining a playing and coaching philosophy for the future of the English game.
The vision: players and coaches
The Future Game vision is intended for the whole game, with the same underpinning values applicable for coaches from grassroots to elite level.
A vision for players: To produce technically excellent and innovative players with exceptional decision-making skills
A vision for coaching: To train, develop, qualify and support more innovative coaches, who are excellent teachers of the game
Innovation is a theme embedded in both vision statements, underlining the aim for a more progressive and original approach to player and coach development, one which understands and predicts the trends and demands of the ever-changing modern game.
The Future Game, The FA Technical Guide for Young Player Development, published in 2010, outlines a philosophy and vision for the future of youth development in English football.
Central to the message are the principles of creativity and innovation, for both coaches and players, and a playing philosophy based on quality passing, possession and building play through the three-thirds of the pitch.
Out of possession, the philosophy calls for a tactical approach to defending in which all players contribute.
Numerous reasons prompted publication. At the highest level of the men’s game, there was a belief that English players had fallen behind their global counterparts with regard technical competence and decision-making capability.
Statistics backed up the notion; other than success at the U17 and U18 European Championships in 2010 and 1993, England had not won an international competition, at any level, since the World Cup in 1966.
Other factors also contributed. With the development of the Premier League and the significant influence of foreign coaches and players, the landscape and culture of English football had changed unrecognisably to that of the early 1990s. European and international football, the arena in which young English players must compete, had accelerated too.
Above all, there was some feeling that in comparison to other high-performing countries at international level, England lacked a DNA, or clear vision for the future development of elite youth players.
The publications provided this response answering a growing number of calls for The FA to outline its beliefs on how the game should be played and how young English players should be developed.
The communication of The FA playing philosophy also serves to respond to a number of misconceptions. In some quarters it is still believed that The Football Association coach education pathway champions a direct method of play, based on a long-ball approach. This is not the case.
The Future Game DVD
The FA Licensed Coaches’ Club have partnered with TactX, a 3D coaching animation tool used on UEFA’s training ground website, to animate the practice syllabus from The Future Game, The FA Technical Guide for Young Player Development.
Over 100 age-appropriate practice sessions have been animated and are included on a new DVD-Rom available to all Licensed Coaches' Club members.
The Future Game - Live Coaching Sessions
Featuring exclusive footage of FA National Coaches delivering practical sessions from The Future Game at St. George's Park, The FA's new National Football Centre, three digital resources have been developed.
Each has an age-appropriate focus for coaches working with players of different ages.
◦The Foundation phase - players aged 8-11
◦The Youth Development phase - players aged 12-16
◦The Professional Development phase - players aged 17-21
Each resource features several hours of age-appropriate coaching footage including defending, attacking and goalkeeping sessions.