National Player Development Plan roadshow
The FAI was represented by CEO John Delaney, FAI Vice President, Donal Conway, High Performance Director, Ruud Dokter, Grassroots Director, Tom O’Shea and Club and League Development manager, Barry Gleeson.
During the roadshow, Ruud Dokter explained the background to the process, which has already involved extensive work with SFAI officers and Executive as well as the FAIS. The plans come out of recommendations made by the Technical Advisory Committee overseen by Dokter, which was composed of experienced coaches nominated by the SFAI, FAIS and the FAI. A separate Women’s Development plan is also being prepared in tandem, and meetings have already taken place with the WFAI Executive and Council.
The plans set out the best way for the game to be coached and developed to nurture the coming generation of players, stressing a greater need for uniformity across each of the leagues. Details were provided on the overall philosophy and the time frames envisaged, as well as what is happening in other countries that have progressed rapidly in this area.
The important feedback from leagues will now be analysed and considered before we issue a briefing document to update all leagues and clubs on progress in early March. Most of the feedback centred around the single calendar season and the concept of elite player competitions operating above, and connected to, each of the existing leagues. To this end, the Association will also be in contact with League secretaries and fixture secretaries in early March to invite them to a workshop to discuss these aspects of the plan. We look forward to helping the Leagues to update clubs on the recommendations as the consultation progresses.
Commenting on the plan and the roadshow, FAI CEO John Delaney said,
“There has been tremendous work done by clubs and leagues, particularly at schoolboys/girls and schools level around the country in recent years but the game has advanced a lot. It is our responsibility to ensure that the way the game is played and coached adapts. Ultimately we want our national teams to be successful and we will only do that if we are producing a large number of quality footballers on a consistent basis. There are a number of recommendations within the plans overseen by Ruud that were discussed with the Leagues at the workshops and I think it is fair to say that the consultation process has been positive and will continue, with the emphasis now on looking at two of the ten recommendations in more detail.”
“2015 will be a big year in setting the groundwork for the future and everyone, particularly the coaches and administrators at our clubs, will have a major role to play in shaping the future of our sport.”
Ireland captain, Robbie Keane has also been across the development when he attended his latest UEFA A and B licence course. “I have spoken to Ruud about these plans. They look good to me and put the players first. At lot of countries have been making big improvements in recent years. It is really important that everyone in Irish football takes this opportunity to work together so that we can continue to be successful at international level.”
Commenting on the Player Development Plan, FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter said, “These plans are really important for the future development of Irish football. They will help us all to work together towards the same goal of producing better players at all levels. The roadshow with the Leagues was a very useful exercise and the start of an important process that will benefit everyone involved in Irish football.”