About the FAI / ETB Player Development Courses

About the FAI / ETB Player Development Courses


The FAI in partnership with a number of Education and Training Boards throughout the country and supported by the European Social Fund operates Local Training Initiatives that provide a unique blend of educational and football development for talented young footballers.

The renowned programme enables interested participants to achieve their potential and in many cases, to develop a career in professional football. The programme also prepares participants for a career in the sports and leisure industry as well as encouraging them to improve their level of education and reach their potential in this regard, thus enhancing their job prospects and opportunities.

The ETB (Formerly FAS), in conjunction with the FAI, have completed their 12th year of football courses in Dublin while the Cork FAI/ETB Soccer Academy has run for over 20 years.

The courses now take place in venues in Clondalkin, Cabra, Irishtown in Dublin, Limerick, Castlebar, and Blarney, Carrigaline, Dundalk and Waterford..

Football player development has been a major feature on the courses with more than 100 trainees progressing to the SSE Airtricity League in recent seasons with graduates including Chris Forrester , Matt Doherty, Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan who have carved out full time professional football careers in the UK.

It is significant that the two leading clubs in Ireland at present – Dundalk and Cork City – boost numerous FAI ETB graduates in their ranks.

Dundalk's FAI ETB graduates include Sean Gannon, Chris Shields, John Mountney, Darren Meenan, Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan from Dundalk while Cork's graduates from the programme include John Kavanagh, Gearóid Morrissey, Ian Turner, Colin Healy, Stuart Ashton, Mark McNulty, Mark O'Sullivan and Garry Buckley. Indeed both Boyle and Horgan made their full senior international debuts against Iceland in March 2017 and acknowledged the opportunity provided by the FAI / ETB Football courses as significant.


"The opportunity to train full time in Milebush Park in Mayo was fantastic. The coaches Leo Tierney and Mickey Feeney gave us a great insight into being a full time footballer and both of us never looked back," said Daryl Horgan.

"It was a year to savour and never to be forgotten. It prepared us for professional football and the education was a great back up. We're reaping the rewards now," said Andy Boyle.


Of course, not everybody will make the grade to a pro player - but the course will help players to find their level and hopefully continue to enjoy the game. When the Course is complete, the participants can identify other opportunities in the sport and leisure industry to explore which hopefully that will lead to meaningful careers where they can focus and move on as a more developed and rounded individuals.

As part of the academic side of the programme, learners will complete a QQI Level 5 in Sport & Recreation studies plus an ITEC Gym Instructors Diploma, Pool Lifeguard and FAI Coaching Certificates.

In the last number of years the CAO points accumulated on this programme has allowed numerous learners to progress to Third Level Institutions in Ireland and the U.K. FAI / ETB programme graduates have continued to add to their educational development in a variety of degree courses delivered in UCC and UCD and more often in the Institutes of Technology in Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Carlow where sports themed degree courses are very popular choices.

Expressions of interest and Registrations for the 2017-18 FAI / ETB football courses can be made by clicking HERE

Registrations are now open from Intreo offices (formerly FAS and Social Protection centres)