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The Academy in full swing

21.10.13 The Academy in full swing

The club founded its Youth Academy in June 2013, but not to be just another football nursery. The scope of the Academy is to provide a holistic approach towards the game. The Youth Academy will provide certain values and life-skills which are essential for complete Player Development, but most importantly, for the individual’s growth.

We have always believed in innovation and, even though we are not inventing something completely new or alien, our idea is to create a Youth Academy that would specialize in a holistic approach. The SUFC holistic approach will give young players those technical skills that are much needed to progress in the game but will also aim to impart those soft skills which are not only needed by a prospective professional footballer but also needed as a professional and citizen in today's world. Key competences like self-discipline, self-motivation, and communication, among others are competences which will help the young kids as a footballer but will also help them if they decide to stop football and follow another sport or profession. Our long term goal is to an Academy that approaches the sport of football in a manner that will aide young footballers reach their potential and aspirations on the football pitch and off it.

The Academy has so far two affiliations: the Spinach Fitness Centre in Pembroke, and Brescia Calcio.

The Academy is divided in three different phases:

1.       The Pre-Academy Phase (4-8 years)

2.       The Foundation Phase (9-13 years)

3.       The Youth Development Phase (14-17 years)

Each Phase has its own Scheme of Work, Coaching Methodology, Teaching Aims and its different objectives and targets which are set weekly, monthly and even according to Scheme of Work, for complete youth development to take place both on and off the pitch.

The U/17 squad commenced its 9-month development programme prior to league commitments for the 2014/2015 season in July and the squad is made up of 30 players. The boys responded positively to the work so far, and all seem focused to what they have set out to achieve. The team has already played 8 friendly matches and showed some great improvements with just three months of work. Mr. Leon Camilleri is assisting the group in terms of coaching but has also taken up the role of Mental Coach. Mr. Camilleri has already delivered two events for the boys and the individuals have taken a lot out of it, as growth in confidence, self-belief, improvement in attitude and positive thinking, together with a lovely team spirit are all evident within the group. Two social events which have so far been organised were the 5-a-side football tournament and the Bowling and Champions League Night. The group did become more united because of these events, events which we at the Academy are vital for team bonding.

The Pre-Academy Phase kicked off at the end of September with 16 boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 9 attending the Saturday morning session. The session is divided into two parts: in the first hour, instructors from our affiliate the Spinach Club Fitness Centre deliver a fun Motor Skills session, to get the kids moving correctly from the first day. Exercises include co-ordination, agility, hand-eye co-ordination, jumping, crawling, etc. Then the kids are taken to the Santa Clara Primary School, home of SUFC, to enjoy their hour of fun games and football basic skills.

Academy Staff include: Jonathan Bartolo (Academy Co-ordinator), Alan Pace (Academy Manager), Leon Camilleri (Mental Coach & U/17 Assist. Coach), Alan Talbot and Jose Luiz (Academy Staff Coaches), and Saviour Darmanin (GK Coach).

It’s been a great start at the Academy and more is to come. We are still receiving applications for boys and girls to join our Academy between the ages of 4-16. If anyone is interested, kindly drop me an email on

Andrea Vella

Youth Academy Director

Swieqi United Football Club

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