This week has seen the Advanced Youth Award (AYA) get underway at St. George’s Park, with 78 participants welcomed and working alongside The FA’s Technical Director John McDermott, Club Lead Michael Johnson and AYA Course Director and Professional Game Youth Coach Developer Gareth Morgan.
A key part of England Football Learning and the only qualification of its kind, the AYA is specifically aimed at coaches who work with youth players in professional academies as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). The nine-month course aims to create a world class community of youth coaches within the English game, who will work on developing the next generation of elite footballers.
The course is open to coaches who currently work across three age-ranges at their clubs: Foundation (5-11), Youth Development (12-16), and Professional Development (17-23). Encompassing technical and tactical elements along with the physical, social and psychological disciplines, the modules are designed to promote an integrated approach to coaching the whole player.
The taught element of the course is 11 days in total, which is fulfilled through the delivery of five modules consisting of 2-day core, 3-day social, 2-day psych, 2-day physical and 2-day technical. These face-to-face elements of the course are also supplemented by both online learning components as well as regular in situ coach support via the FA’s Youth Coach Developers.
A national centre for all, St. George’s Park has been the perfect setting to welcome participants from a host of clubs across the football family including Burton Albion, Manchester United and Southend United to name a few.
The state-of-the-art facilities have helped bring the sessions to life, with participants coming together in the flexible conference spaces within the on-site Hilton hotel and the Staffordshire site’s indoor 3G pitch to work through the technical and tactical elements of the course.
Technical Director at The FA, John McDermott, said: “St. George’s Park is the perfect home for the AYA to take place with its array of top pitches, surroundings and facilities that allow for education at all levels. It’s important for the future of the game that we have courses like the AYA to train up the next generation of coaches, and we’re delighted to be a part of their individual, and club, journeys.”
Derby County F.C. coach Brent Freeman added: “For my personal journey as a coach, coming to St George’s Park is really important. To be able to unify where the England teams train and education, and where I want to be in terms of my career and influence those in my care in the future is really valuable.”