Four members of last year's FĂS/FAI Soccer Training Programme have been called up to Sean McCaffrey's U19 international squad for this week's double international friendly with Poland ahead of the UEFA U19 Elite qualifying phase in the Ukraine next May.
Republic of Ireland Under 19's will take on Poland tonight, Tuesday April 6 and Thursday April 8 in Tolka Park with both matches kicking off at 7.30pm.
Ian McLaughlin (Ipswich Town), Gary Burke (Bohemians), Ryan Brennan (Drogheda United - Pictured right) and Padraig Ormsby (Shamrock Rovers) have all been selected in the 18 man squad after they graduated from the training programme last year.
UCD's influential defender, Andy Boyle is also a regular feature in McCaffrey's U19 squad but he will stay with his club during the international fixtures due to the Students visit to Dundalk on Friday April 9th in the Airtricity League.
The FĂS/FAI joint initiative has had a number of substantial success stories in a relatively short period of time. Among the past pupils in the course were Kevin Long, now with Premier League side, Burnley and former Galway star, Jay O'Shea who is now with Birmingham City. Last year's class have also excelled in Ireland and in the UK with players such as Ian McLaughlin signing for Roy Keane's Ipswich Town last August. Gary Burke (Pictured below), a participant on the Cabra Course is currently forcing his way into the Bohemians first team following an impressive appearance in the Setanta Cup semi-final against Linfield last weekend.
Drogheda United's Ryan Brennan has been a revelation in defence for Drogheda United this season picking-up a man of the match award in the recent meeting with Sligo Rovers while Padraic Ormsby returns from his spell with Scottish side, Hamilton Academical and has signed for Michael O'Neill's Shamrock Rovers.
The training programme which is based in Cabra, Irish Town and Clondalkin in Dublin, facilitates both male and female participants with over 75 players in total taking part.
The FĂS/FAI Youth Soccer Training Courses provide a unique blend of educational and football development for talented young footballers in Ireland who are currently unemployed. The programme enables footballers who have left school and are interested in developing a potential career in football or the sports and leisure industry an opportunity to enhance both their football skills and education level.
An attractive feature of the FĂS/FAI programme is the emphasis placed on the educational development of the students. The education programme co-ordinates and delivers this aspect of the programme which consists of theory and practical sessions in the areas of health, fitness, business and computers.
Students are prepared for FETAC qualifications in health and fitness and if a certain standard of performance is achieved during this phase students then prepare for the ITEC Gym Instructor Diploma. Qualifications such as these allow students to secure full or part time employment in fitness centres, teach their own classes on a freelance basis or work as fitness consultants to teams.
The football aspects of the programme are looked after by FAI qualified coaches. The three to four hours coaching a day, which is expert and progressive, is supplemented by a fitness programme that would be equivalent to full time training. Weekly matches and regular gym work are also part of the programme. The course participants will also take part in Kick Start 1 and 2, the first two steps on the way to becoming a qualified coach.
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