The English Premier League (EPL) is the number one football league in the world. The best footballers from around the globe come to feature in English football. So, if your dream is to become one of the best players in the world, you need to understand how to join a football club in England. You may either start from a local football club or join a football academy in England to get started.
A football career is as exciting as it is daunting. Many young talents never emerge into the spotlight and many more will switch to another career from frustration. The truth is that many football talents seek for a golden opportunity to play in top-flight clubs in Europe, Asia, and America. Unfortunately, football teams have space for only a few talents.
To get to the height of playing for top clubs, you’ll have to be an extremely good player. But like every other career, you can’t become excellent overnight. It takes a really long time to develop your football skills and become a talent the world scrambles for. So, what does this mean?
It means you have to start your football career very early – probably as a kid. But this doesn’t mean you don’t have a hope of joining a top-flight club as an older player. What it means, instead, is that you’ll have to work harder.
In this post, we’ll explain all you need to do to join a football team in England, but first, we must answer why your focus should be England.
Why Join an English Football Club?
Joining a football club in England is the dream of many aspiring players as well as world-class players. While the aspiring football players just wish for a spot in the EPL, the top-shot players want to play in the big English clubs. It could be quite surprising as the largest number of Balon d’Or wins have come from the Spanish La Liga.
This means that there’s more to playing in the English League than winning the Balon d’Or.
Here are the benefits of joining an English football club.
The Thrill of Local Derbies
England is a compact, densely populated country hosting a good number of top league clubs. Therefore, there is a surplus of derby matches. The North London derby, the Merseyside derby, the West Midlands derby, and so many more. These derbies provide a thrill that is unmatchable to derbies in other European leagues – which are few compared to England’s.
Competitiveness of the League
One of the charms of the English League that appeals to football lovers and makes it the most-viewed football league is its level of competitiveness. Even though Manchester United has lifted the EPL title the most in the league, the team hasn’t lifted the title in the cup in the past six years. Also, with Leicester City winning the EPL title after an impressive and unbelievable run in the 2015/16 season, the English League is open to lots of surprises.
You would agree with us that the English Premier League teams have been quite impressive in European competitions. This is one of the aims of the EPL, to provide a higher class of competition that would prepare English teams to compete on the European stage. From 2010 – 2019, English teams have won the UEFA Champions League twice and finished as first runner-up three times. Liverpool FC currently holds the title.
The English League has the right amount of cash to spend on players, so they attract the big stars. While top footballers aspire for glory, they want to be watched by a larger audience and have their coffers full with cash worked for. Joining a top club in England provides you the opportunity to actualize your dreams. That is why the likes of Christiano Ronaldo, David Silva, Paul Pogba, and Eden Hazard played in the EPL.
When you have an arena that holds some of the world’s best talents and a stream of derby rivalry that respects no one, what do you expect? Classic football, of course! The premier league has a distinguished style of play that offers football lovers skills, strength, drama, and start-to-finish action.
Ways to Join a Football Club in England
It is a no-brainer now to ask why you should play football in an English team. What you must be asking now is, how can I join a football club in England? It may be a thing of comfort to you to know that you’re not the only one asking this question. There are several others like you that wish to grow and showcase their talent in England.
There may not be one sure way to find yourself in England playing football in one of the top teams. However, we’ll categorically tell you the paths you must take to actualize your dream of playing football in England.
While luck may happen to you, there are two sure ways to play your way into an English football team. They are as follows;
Joining a Football Academy in England
Football is a progressive and futuristic game. A team doing well today wants to keep doing well until the end of time. So, they train youngsters to become stars. Many of the top clubs in England have academies where they groom youngsters with the intention of playing professional football.
If you are asking why you must join a football academy in England, here’s your answer: England teams are mostly interested in nurturing home-grown talents.
However, all hopes are not lost if you’re not a UK resident. What it implies, however, is that you must be in a local academy in your country and be at the top of your game. Then, you’ll have to apply to an English club to send their scout to watch you play. It is then that you can stand a chance of getting selected for the club’s academy trail.
Meanwhile, you may not only need to apply to the club’s football academy. There is also a good number of independent football academies in England that admits youth footballers. Scouts in their hunger for young talents come to scout for players in these academies.
Requirements for Joining a Football Academy in England
Football academies in England combine an intensive professional football training program with a secondary or university education. This thus implies that the football academies give the opportunity to train at a professional level while acquiring a secondary school certificate or a university degree. Therefore, in the real sense of it, football academies are educational institutions that train football professionals.
In this sense, you’ll definitely need to meet your football academy requirements. Most football academies in England admit students in the age range of 16 to 21.
To give you an idea of what you need to join a football academy in England, take a look at FCV International Football Academy’s requirements for joining their two-year full-time course.
Step by Step Guide to Joining FCV International
- The student will need to attend an Open Day and play in a trial match. If successful, an official offer will be sent.
- Accept the offer by completing relevant forms, terms & conditions and return with the first installment of fees by the deadline set.
- Confirm if you require a tier 4 student visa and learn how to obtain one.
- If you require a student visa, it is likely you will need to prove your knowledge of English Language, this can be done through arranging and sitting a recognized qualification such as the IELTS test.
- The College will conduct an interview (face to face or via Skype) with curriculum staff to ensure that the course is appropriate and that you understand the course content. Once this has been completed the College will proceed with the CAS application to issue the student visa.
- Apply for a visa if required through the relevant embassy.
- Complete and return further Academy registration forms as instructed.
- Make travel arrangements.
- Inform FCV International Football Academy of Visa confirmation (if applicable) and travel arrangements. Airport Transfers can be arranged.
- Join the academy.
It’s not that difficult, right? so let’s share with you other football academies in England that are looking for youths with great football talent.
Football Academies in England for Home and International Players
Here are five football academies in England that you can enroll in as a youth with a professional football dream.
UK Pro Academy
The UK Pro’s academy designed its programs to mirror that of professional club academy training programs. Qualified FA coaches who are experienced in working with elite players deliver these programs. Also, the academy developed its training schedule to ensure that individual player development is the central focus.
Manchester International Football Academy
The Manchester International Football Academy (MIFA) allows you to train as a full-time professional footballer. This UK-based football academy encourages development in football skills while understanding the need for continued education. MIFA runs a variety of football training and study programs, where football players can gain internationally recognized qualiﬁcations.
Claremont Independent School
Claremont Football Academy attracts talented and aspiring footballers from all over the world to study and train with its roster of professional coaches. Players at Claremont learn in an environment that demands high standards and symbolizes respect, hard work, commitment, and honesty. Also, Claremont’s unique curriculum provides scholars with the tools to raise their game to the trial level.
FCV International Football Academy
The FCV International Football Academy welcomes students from all around the world. This UK-based football academy offers a wide range of football opportunities ranging from a single trials showcase match to a full-time football program. To ensure your time at the academy is as successful and smooth as possible, the academy arranges airport transfers if necessary.
Liverpool International Academy
By following the same curriculum that it delivers to its players, the LFC Academy ensures that all participants get the very best football education from its coaching staff. Liverpool FC offers something different and something unique by developing players both on and off the pitch. The club also educates youngsters through experiences that will shape their progression into young adults.
Get Discovered by Scouts
When you can’t get to England to enroll in a football academy, then your next option is to get discovered by scouts. Scouting is serious business and every top-flight club has a number of scouts who search for young talents for them. This is also one of the ways clubs have identified exceptional players who leave a mark on the club.
One of the advantages of getting discovered by scouts is that you don’t have to be a very young player to be discovered. This is because scouts go talent-hunting with specifications from the clubs they represent.
Thus, a football team with a score of young and developing players would likely send its scouts out for an older player with a lot of experience in his position of play. You see now that even though actualizing your football career dreams may be difficult, it is not impossible.
So, the question now is how will you position football scouts for English teams to discover you.
In the following sections, we will take you on a step-by-step procedure on how to join a football club in England through scout discovery.
Step 1 – Understand The Process
For you to be discovered by a scout, you need to understand how scouting works. This is because scouts don’t get to reach every country in the world looking for local clubs to get young talents. Scouts visit some countries and leave out some other countries.
Scouts tend to explore countries with advanced professionals such as England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, etc.
However, let it not discourage you that most of the countries scouts visit are European countries. If you follow the English Premier League religiously, you’ll realize that the league has drawn stars from Africa, Asia, and even South America. So, English club scouts can also discover you.
Now, how do you overcome this location barrier?
Step 2 – Change Your Environment
The logical thing to do to make yourself discoverable by scouts is to change your environment. This doesn’t necessarily mean trying, by all means, to leave your home country, NO!
What you can do first is to put yourself in the best possible situation to actually get scouted. Scouts don’t come to watch the worst team in the league play. It is time to get out of your comfort zone. If you are playing for a local club that is performing way below average, it’s time to give them the boot.
It doesn’t matter that you may be their star man. Neither does it matter that you have blended well with the team, or found a way to the coach’s heart. If you must succeed, reach for the best.
You need to think about how can you put yourself in the best situation for scouts to discover you. You want to start looking for a way to join the best football team in the top leagues. Of course, that should mean you have to improve as a player. So, what are you waiting for? Double up your training.
You should be asking yourself this question; who is the best team in your city? There are ways to solve this problem. Just follow the points below.
You must get into a team better than your current team because better teams get into better scouting situations. They play in big games, go to bigger tournaments, and attract more attention. You want to be where the attention is.
While working your way into the best team, ensure to:
Get your grades up – this may help your scout acquire you for a football academy. It just could be that the English team isn’t only looking for talent.
Brus up your social media – Many teams want players who are responsible. What does your social media handle say about you? Clean it up and take a fresh start.
Step 3 – Find Additional Exposure
Well, now you’ve gotten yourself into the top team in your local league, it is still not enough. There are not as enough scouts in the world as there are enough players. So you see, you’ll have to work on being seen. How many people are watching you do what you do best, especially when you’re not in the football pitch?
Don’t practice al by yourself in your backyard. It is time for you to start attending specific events and putting yourself in situations where you will be seen by potential scouts.
Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting Discovered:
Attend Showcase Tournaments – You may have the chance of this if you’re already in the top team in your local league. However, you may want to do some research to discover tournaments in your area, and encourage your coach to register.
Combines – these are tryouts put together by organizations for a group of players. These organizations invite scouts from different professional clubs to watch these players play. Here, instead of one scout watching you play, you could have ten to twenty different scouts watch you at once.
Open Tryouts – Professional clubs hold tryouts for the public in some countries. Depending on the club, there could be up to a hundred players attending, and scouts only select one or two players. Even though you may not be scouted, open tryouts make you visible, gains you some experience, and gives you the chance to gain connections.
Player and ID Camps – Discover ID Camps around you by searching the internet. Player development camps not only give you an opportunity to develop your game but also to be seen by potential coaches, scouts, or people with connections. Some popular colleges will also hold pre-season ID camps for young talents to showcase their skills. Many players have been selected this way.
Step 4 – Stand Out Every Time You Play
You play football for yourself in as much as you play for the delight of others. Therefore, you would want to impress yourself first. You want to always be at your best of yesterday. Really, there are no two ways about it – you just have to play better each day because you never know who’s watching.
For this reason, every time there is a ball at your feet believe you are on a tryout.
When you grow this kind of mentality, your performance will improve.
Here are questions you should ask yourself if you really want a scout to discover you:
If you know the way you would play if scouts were watching you and you haven’t been playing that way on a regular, you had better start.
Think of Lionel Messi. Anytime the ball is at his feet, he does magic. If you rate Messi very high, then you have to try to be better than him. Let your football play look like sorcery.
What are Scouts Really Looking For?
You may be putting yourself out there and becoming more visible, but do you have the qualities scouts are looking for?
Do you even know what football scouts are looking for in a player?
Here are qualities scouts are looking for:
Players who make an Impact
If you are a player who makes a contribution to the outcome of the game, scouts will notice you. How do you become a player of impact?
You have to be scoring goals, make assists, create chances, keep clean sheets, make big saves, and do everything you can to help your team win.
Good Knowledge of Your Position.
How well do you play your registered position?
As a striker, you need to score goals.
As a defender/ goalkeeper, you need to keep clean sheets.
If you want to impress scouts, learn to play your position properly. You have to be at the right place, making the right decisions, and executing with your position-specific skills.
For example, CB winning a header, CDM playing a cross-field pass, or WINGER beating a defender and creating a chance.
Show your unique qualities because scouts always look for a specific quality that makes a player stand out.
It could be your speed, physical strength, technical skill, or passing ability. If you know what your best qualities are, demonstrate them when you play. Also, don’t try to overcomplicate your play. Do what you’re good at and be comfortable doing it.
Scouts are also looking for players who can inspire their teammates to play better. Not only do they want to bring good players into their club but also bring in good people.
Therefore, work on your communication skills, so you can stand out. Additionally, motivate your teammates, give description advice, and help your team with your words as well as your feet.
No matter the kind of skill or ability you have, you will not fit into a team if you don’t have the right attitude. You have to be obedient to your coach. You have to live a decent life outside the pitch. Scouts are looking for these things. They’ll make use of your references to get this info.
Here’s what Williams a current coach at Hull City said about a goalkeeper who fell out with Jose Mourinho when he was the Manager at Chelsea.
On Mourinho’s first day, he told everyone they had to meet at the training ground at 7 am. It was a test to see how committed everyone was. Everyone got there apart from one player, Yves Ma-Kalamby. If a player doesn’t have the hunger and desire, they won’t make it.
Whether you are in England or in other parts of the world, it is not impossible to join a football team in England. All you have to do is to either join a football academy in England or get discovered by a scout. Joining a football academy in England gives you the exposure of the big English teams, especially if you are enrolled in their academy. Also, academies give you international recognition.
However, if you’ll want to be discovered by a scout, you may have to understand the scouting process, change your environment, find additional exposure, and stand out every time you play.