FÁS participants dominate Irish U21 squad
Noel King's Republic of Ireland U21 side take on Gerry Smith's UEFA Region's Cup bound Amateur side tomorrow (Saturday 20th November) at 14.00hrs in the AUL Complex.
The Republic of Ireland U21 manager has selected a squad of 18 home based players who will take on the Irish Amateur side who confirmed their place in next summer's UEFA Regions Cup after their progression from a qualifying group which contained Italy (Abruzzo), France (Ligue de Normandie) and San Marino.
Most notably however, King has selected ten Airtricity League players who are participants of the FÁS FAI Soccer Training course including Chris Shields (Bray), Enda Stevens (Shamrock Rovers), Ricardo Lopez (Bohemian FC), Aaron Greene (Bohemian FC), Jake Kelly (Bray), Ciaran Nagle (UCD), Andy Boyle (UCD), Keith Ward (UCD), Lee Dixon (Bohemian FC) and Gary Burke (Bohemian FC).
The FÁS/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.
King said, "We have organised this game so that I can have a look first hand at the home based players who qualify for Ireland Under 21's. We don't have competitive Under 21 games until next year so I want to use this time to speak with the player and to collect as much information as I can to build the strongest squad possible. I could have brought a squad of 30 in but I want to give these players a chance and we have plenty of time to see all the players on our list over the next few months. I would love to see one, two, or any number of home based players do the business and force their way into the squad and this is their chance. You cannot over-estimate the benefits of the FÁS FAI Soccer Training course for our players. Effectively it is a full-time training regime for some of Ireland's top players and their inclusion in this squad is a credit to everybody involved in the programme."
An attractive feature of the FAS/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.
Republic of Ireland Under 21 Home based Squad
Ger Hanley - Mervue United FC
Kevin Burns - Waterford United FC
Enda Stevens - Shamrock Rovers FC
Andy Boyle - UCD AFC
Shane McEleney - Derry City FC
Roberto Lopez - Bohemian FC
Ciaran Nagle - UCD AFC
Lee Dixon - Bohemian FC
Paul Corry - UCD AFC
Graham Kelly - Bray Wanderers FC
James O'Brien - St. Patricks Athletic FC
Jake Kelly - Bray Wanderers FC
Keith Ward - UCD AFC
Daniel Kearns - Dundalk FC
Gary Burke - Bohemian FC
Aaron Greene - Bohemian FC
Chris Shields - Bray Wanderers FC
Paddy Madden - Bohemian FC