New FAI-ETB course launches in Dundalk
A large attendance to celebrate the launch included key members of the Louth and Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) as well as a strong representation from Dundalk Football Club who have a number of their underage players participating on the course.
Course Coordinator, Paul Friel spoke of the opportunities which the course offers young players not only from a sporting and academic point of view but also from a personal development angle.
Paul Rosbotham from the LMETB spoke of the innovative partnership which the FAI and LMETB had formed and the ability of the course to attract learners evidenced by the large number of applications received.
The FAI in partnership with a number of Education and Training Boards throughout the country operate Local Training Initiatives that provide a unique blend of educational and football development for talented young footballers.
The renowned FAI-ETB Player Development programme enables interested participants to train full time while also availing of a sport themed education programme. The programme enables young players to achieve their potential and in many cases, to develop a career in professional football. It 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.
Current Dundalk FC stars Patrick McEleney and Jamie McGrath were in attendance to offer encouragement to this new group of young players while the club were also represented by CEO Mal Brannigan, General Manager Martin Connolly and Board Member Frank Watters.
As well as Dundalk, courses also take place in Clondalkin, Cabra and Irishtown in Dublin, Limerick, Castlebar, and Blarney, Carrigaline and Ringmahon in Cork. Further details and online applications can be made at www.fai.ie/fai-etb-courses
Player development has been a successful feature of the courses with more than 100 trainees progressing to the SSE Airtricity League in recent seasons. Other course graduates including Kevin Long, Matt Doherty, Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan and Enda Stevens have all featured in recent senior Republic of Ireland squads.
Current Women’s National team captain, Katie McCabe also graduated from the programme in recent years alongside a number of other senior women’s players such as Roma McLaughlin, Amanda McQuillan and Stephanie Roche.
The courses are headed up by FAI Coordinators with UEFA A and UEFA Pro License qualifications and who have come from a professional football background. So, young players will have access to top class training in state-of-the-art facilities and sound career advice if becoming a professional footballer is their ambition. Of course, not everyone 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.