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Difference’s Between IFA & Local Academies

April 26, 2016

As a parent you have a difficult choice to make. We’re sure you may think that having your son join a local professional academy is the right thing to do, but we have found that most parents don’t really know the pitfalls and issues that surround a category three academy. Here are some home truths for you to consider before making any final choice. Be sure to think long and hard about it, their future depends on you!

What you need to know


  • Our players are receiving more coaching hours than those in local professional category 3 clubs. The Independent Football Academy is providing between 6-8 hours of coaching for players within our academy, comparable to some category 1 and category 2 clubs.
  • Being an independent academy – we allow our boys to continue to play for their local clubs, we believe that playing in a team environment is fundamental to their development, many players who have not experienced anything other than academy football within a professional club have never experienced playing for points, playing in cup finals, experience winning or losing. These experiences in our opinion are vital, as it develops an individual’s character which is significant, as the profession they are entering is predominantly a results business.
  • In addition to allowing players to continue playing for their grass roots clubs, we have our own games programme, playing against teams a year older, and playing against professional clubs at least every 6 weeks, predominantly in half term holidays.
  • Our players are not subject to the compensation criteria that is regulated by the EPPP, which dictates that every ‘child’ within a Football League Academy has a ‘price tag’ on the child’s head. What does this mean, in short if your child, and as a parent choose to sign for a particular professional football club, it is extremely unlikely that your child will play for any other professional clubs youth academy – unless a club meets the ‘compensation figures’ that are demanded. Compensation is a detailed subject, but important to be aware of, as this could prevent your son moving to an academy programme which would enhance his career.
  • Why would you sign for a club, that would deny talented players the opportunity of moving to category 1 and category 2 clubs? Which would allow access to being involved with higher ability of players, playing against higher class of opposition, more coaching hours, better resources. An overall structure that would be more beneficial to the player.
  • Our players are deemed attractive propositions to professional clubs with category 1 and 2 academy status, as there is no compensation payments for our players, unlike when they are registered to a professional category 3 club academy.
  • Players within category 3 academies are an asset to their club and have a price tag on their head, which increases for every year they are in the academy. Due to the financial demands of the clubs where players are registered, often players can find themselves being blocked, and unable to move to category 1 and 2 clubs, which offers far better programme, and a clear pathway to the ‘First Team.’ Therefore the interests of the player are secondary to the interests of the club, and therefore detrimental to the player’s development.
  • Due to the support of a national football agency (Crown), the Independent Football Academy have associations with a number of the top academies in the country.
  • During the 2015/2016 season we have players attend trials at the following Academies: Manchester City, Manchester United, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Derby County, Bristol City.
    The Independent Football Academy is set up to offer players the best pathway into top professional category one and two academies, we strive to help players be the best they can be. If you want your child to succeed, thalk to us about a free trial and meeting our coaching team

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