Life at a football academy vs life at a football programme boarding school.......
Many questions are asked about what is the best pathway into the professional game. Where are the best academies? Are they in the UK? Are they in Europe or elsewhere across the globe? Or is a specialist football boarding school the best pathway to make it?
Academies generally dominate the business in the UK and in Europe with some of the worlds best academies. Potential players can join an academy from the age of 9 and all premiership clubs have academies. Other league clubs will either have an academy or a centre of excellence which runs along the same lines as an academy.
Life at academies varies from club to club but generally academies will train 2/3 times a week with a game against another academy during the weekend or midweek.
Some parents choose to go down a different pathway into the professional and semi professional game and put their children into a boarding school with an excellent football programme with academies linked to the school so it balances education and football at the same time. The UK has some excellent boarding schools with top football programmes and many international student parents choose to send their children to the UK for this reason and for a potential career in the professional game.
The life of a boarding school student player will only differ slightly from an academy based player as a boarding school player will live onsite whereas an academy based player will travel to and from the academy when necessary, however the level of coaching in some UK boarding schools will be just as good as an academy with many ex professional players and managers choosing to take up positions as head of coaching or head of recruitment in boarding schools.
Many academies will set homework tasks and drills for their academy players to take home and practice. Parents will be given nutritional advice and schools will often be asked for players to take part in other school sports activities. This will be the same in a boarding school except it wouldn't be taken home as home is onsite at campus. Lots of boarding schools will have facilities and staff on hand to provide strength and conditioning and sports nutrition for students as would many academies depending on which academy you was at.
So the variation between life at an academy doesn't differ very much from a boarding school football programme other than one will live at school and the other will travel to an academy. It's just a choice of which pathway parents and players take to try and make it into the professional or semi professional game.