Academy Directors and managers from clubs across Europe are being invited to join a brand-new initiative from ECA in collaboration with Johan Cruyff Institute which launches this autumn.

The ECA Academy Management Programme (AMP) is aimed at elevating and inspiring the next generation of directors and those in management positions within European club academies and is the latest offering from ECA Campus.

Johan Cruyff Institute’s General Manager, Mariël Koerhuis said:

“We're proud of being selected by the European Club Association to develop this programme. We are challenged to make a significant contribution to the further development of football academy management in Europe and that gives us a sense of joy and responsibility. We look forward to a great collaboration with the European Club Association at delivering a high-class program for the best of talent development in football around Europe.

Those working in academies are being invited to apply for the programme which gets underway in November. Closing date for candidates to apply is 27 October 2023 and the full prospectus can be downloaded here.

A product of the ECA Youth Football Strategy and Working Group, this blended executive education programme is committed to helping individuals and academies to realise their full potential. Through a tailored and flexible approach, the programme is designed with the specific needs and goals of the participants in mind, working through real-life case studies to support individual growth in key areas of academy management.

ECA Football Development Manager, Pouya Yaghoubinia said:

The programme consists of both academic and pragmatic elements, and is a unique opportunity for those working within academy management to challenge themselves personally and professionally.

Johan Cruyff Institute’s Board Member, Jordi Cruyff added

 “My father was passionate about working with young players, as everyone knows. Having the opportunity, through this programme, to contribute to the development of the academies, with a management model inspired by my father's philosophy, is very rewarding. In professional football the result is more important, but in youth academies other things have a bigger impact; it’s about forming a young player to get better and better on a weekly basis. As an academy director, you may probably have your own philosophy of doing things, but it’s essential to be also open minded and learn from others. I really hope this programme fulfills ECA’s aim to provide its clubs new tools that, at the end of the day, will revert to the European football of the future.

The ECA AMP is a nine-month programme, running from November 2023 to July 2024, and is open to those in academy roles at ECA Clubs. The hybrid programme combines online and onsite learning hosted by top European football clubs such as AFC Ajax, Manchester City FC, and Club Brugge.

Online modules cover Strategic and Operational management development; Managing People, including leadership and working with the community; Football Development; and Final Project Work.

Mixed with that are 3-4 days of in-person onsite training within three modules at top academy locations across Europe.

ECA Membership Project Lead, Jeremy Cottino mentioned:

ECA recognises the importance of maximising opportunities to interact, discuss, exchange, as well as share moments of fun and laughter with peers, which is why three of the core modules will take place in-person."

A further key element of the ECA AMP is mentoring and coaching, underlining the importance of self-leadership in enabling participants to excel in their roles. The coaching programme will focus on helping participants develop greater self-awareness, confidence, and resilience. By cultivating self-leadership skills, participants will be better equipped to drive their personal growth and navigate challenges effectively.

For further information on the ECA AMP, or any other ECA Campus education programmes, please contact

Johan Cruyff Institute

The AMP is a collaboration with the Johan Cruyff Institute, where sport, management and social work are three key pillars of the Dutch great’s legacy. Cruyff’s own experience as a professional footballer, and later as a coach and advisor, led him to devise a plan to help athletes enter the working world at the end of their sports careers, leading to the founding of the Johan Cruyff Institute in 1999. Since then, it has trained athletes, sport managers and other professionals in sport management, marketing, sponsorship, football business, leadership and coaching. It now offers over 90 study programmes, In Company Training, Sport Xperiences and, besides it’s pioneer Online Platform, has teaching centres in Spain, the Netherlands, Peru and Mexico.