Stevens and Doherty help launch ETB Courses


Stevens and Doherty help launch ETB 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 both male and female.
21st Mar 2019

The renowned FAI-ETB Player Development programme enables participants to train full time while also availing of a sport themed education course accredited at QQI level 5. 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. Trainees may also receive a weekly training allowance for the duration of the 1-year programme.

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

Player development has been a hugely successful feature of the courses with more than 100 trainees progressing into the SSE Airtricity League in recent years. Course graduates have also progressed to careers in the Premier League where players such as Kevin Long and Matt Doherty are making a big impression this season with Burnley and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively.

Enda Stevens who is a graduate of the course in Cabra is also having a spectacular season at EFL Championship high fliers Sheffield United and they are among a significant number of course graduates playing professionally in the UK and beyond. All three also feature in Mick McCarthy’s first Republic of Ireland squad for the Euro 2020 campaign.

Both Matt and Enda expressed their appreciation of the opportunity provided by the FAI / ETB Player Development courses which were a significant stepping stone in their progression to the professional game. Helping to launch the new programme for 2019-20 in Dublin this week, they were full of praise for the FAI-ETB programme;

"The opportunity to train full time on the FAI-ETB course was great and really helpful. The coaches who are all from a professional background themselves gave us a great insight into being a full-time footballer and encouraged us to reach our potential" said Wolves’ star Matt Doherty.

"It was a great year with great people and it helped to prepare us for life as a professional footballer. Although my ambition was to play full time professional football, the education was a great back up plan." said Enda Stevens.

Female players are also very welcome to apply for the courses with some high-profile players having graduated from the FAI-ETB programme in recent years including current Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team Captain, Katie McCabe who spent a year on the Clondalkin course before signing professional forms with Arsenal FC. Katie is among a group of female FAI-ETB course graduates including Stephanie Roche and Roma McLaughlin who have made the step up to full international level.

The FAI-ETB courses are headed up by a team of FAI Coordinators with UEFA A and UEFA Pro License qualifications who have also 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.

On the academic side of the programme, learners will complete a QQI Level 5 in Sport & Recreation studies plus an ITEC Gym Instructor 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, the U.K and even avail of college scholarships in the USA. Course graduates have continued to add to their educational development in a variety of degree courses in the Institutes of Technology in Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Carlow where sports themed degree courses are very popular choices.

If you’re a young player looking to achieve your potential in a sporting or educational context, you can apply now for the 2019-20 FAI / ETB Player Development courses by visiting;

PHOTO CAPTION: Shaun Maher (ETB FAI),  Helen Sinnott (Litton Lane Training), Republic of Ireland internationals Enda Stevens and Matt Doherty, Harry McCue (ETB FAI) and Ronan Mee (Litton Lane Training).