ABOUT THE FOOTBALL
HOW OFTEN DO STUDENTS TRAIN?
Students will train specifically three times a week and will be coached and managed by UEFA or FA qualified coaches who will develop the players physically, tactically and technically during the programme through coaching and match play.
There may be added training sessions with the coach subject to availability, also there may be opportunities to join in reserve/development and first team training sessions depending on how they progress.
WHAT CAN A STUDENT DO TO ENHANCE HIS TRAINING?
The majority of our students will experience full time training for the first time. Over the duration of the two year programme, there will be over 200 sessions organised and students will need to adjust their mentality and productivity to cope with the rigours of full time training.
In order to assist with this change, students will be provided with nutritional and strength/conditioning advice prior to starting the programme as well as gaining knowledge about it through their Level 3 in Sport lessons.
In order to maximise their performance and enjoyment, we recommend following this advice as well as researching themselves to enhance learning and self-development.
WHATS UNIQUE ABOUT THE ESPFA GAMES PROGRAMME?
The ESPFA games programme is unlike any other in the UK. Our aim to provide a matchday experience that not only matches the first teams of our partner clubs, but also the professional game both on and off the pitch.
On the pitch, the vast majority of our games take place at the partner clubs main stadia, which allows the replication of the first team experience from the pre match kit placing to the post-match hospitality.
Off the pitch, there is a thriving social media and website experience to enhance the profile of all our students. All the games are filmed by our video partners FilmMyMatch which all students will have access to and our media team will produce footage and images that are captured to provide the following content throughout the season:-
Match day centre (Team news and goal updates)
Match highlights (All the best bits from all the games)
Post match interviews (Interviews with students)
Post-match review (Recap of everything that took place)
Team of the Week (The best 11 players nominated by their coaches)
Player of the Week (The best player nominated by their coaches)
Player of the Month (Recognition to those who have been nominated)
Goal of the Month (Online competition for those who have been nominated)
End of Season awards (Online extravaganza of student success)
WHERE DO STUDENTS PLAY THEIR GAMES?
All league games will take place at the partner clubs main stadia unless weather dictates with cup games taking place on 3G pitches.
HOW OFTEN TO STUDENTS PLAY?
Games will be scheduled for each Thursday between October and April with the majority of games taking place in the afternoons, however due to possible backlog of some fixtures due to weather etc, there may be two games a week with some games possibly taking place in the evenings under floodlights to further enhance the students experience.
A full live match day centre is in operation on the ESPFA social media sites on Thursdays.
WHAT COMPETITIONS WILL THE STUDENTS PLAY IN?
The make up of the league structure changes each year depending on how many teams are participating. Each division will have a league season of home and away games alongside the National ESPFA Cup competition. The winners of the respective divisions will then enter the National finals at the end of the season for a chance to be crowned the National Champions.
DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY JUNIOR/YOUTH (GRASSROOTS TEAM) TO JOIN THE ESPFA?
No, we highly recommend you continue your footballing development with your local grassroots team. The ESPFA is an alternative study programme to college and is solely a Monday to Friday day time programme. This will allow evenings and weekends for you to continue with or join a grassroots team. We feel between the ages of 16-19 that you should gain as much experience and play as much football as possible and a mixture of ESPFA and grassroots is the perfect blend for your footballing development.
WHAT CAN A STUDENT EXPECT FROM THE FOOTBALL?
We will endeavour to ensure we work with students to provide an enrichment of football experiences throughout the year.
From expert coaching through to the unique match day experience, we will treat the students with respect and look to provide a platform to allow them to receive the same football programme as a scholar would at a professional club and in return we will be requesting students to dedicate themselves to the programme.
IMPORTANT: In order to take part in the football programme students will be expected to be up to date in their education and have no outstanding assignments etc.
WHERE CAN A STUDENT PROGRESS TO?
By being a part of the ESPFA and by representing a semi-professional club, students will have first chance opportunities to be able to progress into their clubs first team as a semi-professional footballer.
First team coaching staff are informed regularly of a students progression by the academy coach and inviting students to training sessions if progressing well.
Every season there are also opportunities to play in the ‘Inter-League’ representative side where a nominated selected squad of players from all clubs in the league will compete against professional club academies in a series of games to showcase their talents of which some of our students have impressed in and have progressed into the professional game.
WHO ARE THE SUCCESS STORIES?
When a student make his semi-professional first team debut they are classed as a footballing graduate. Since 2014 we have had a large number of debutants make their bow with several others receiving call ups.
In February 2015, we were proud to announce our first ever professional graduate when Yohan Rutty-Smith signed scholarship forms for Notts County.
The majority of these students have come from local junior football to semi-professional level in the space of a year which is down to the opportunities provided to them in the ESPFA and also the standard of quality coaching they are receiving on a daily basis.
WHAT IS THE INTER-LEAGUE SQUAD?
There are opportunities to be selected for the ESPFA ‘Inter-League’ side who compete against professional football club academies.
Selection for the squad is reward for those students who have impressed all season with their ability, application and attitude and are given the opportunity to showcase their talents against the professional clubs.
Click on the club badge below to see the match report.