Academy directors and club specialists from across Europe will meet in Lyon next month for the sixth and final ECA Youth Football Exchange event of the current cycle.
The gathering in France comes just over 18 months after the ECA held its first event following the launch of its dedicated 2021/23 Youth Football Strategy. Since then, ECA Member and Network Clubs have come together both digitally and physically to take part in a variety of modules all aimed at learning and benefiting from each other’s expertise and experience in developing the game.
Participants will descend on Olympique Lyonnais’ Groupama Stadium and academy centre, and over two days will focus on ‘how to define, measure and manage performance’ in the youth football sector.
Vincent Ponsot, General Director of Football at Olympique Lyonnais, said: “It is an honour for our club and our academy to host a major event in international football such as the ECA Youth Knowledge Exchange programme. Our mission remains above all to train young men and women in their sporting career and to help them flourish and become the citizens of tomorrow. Each experience, each know-how must be shared to develop our talents and contribute to improving the quality of football. We hope that delegates have an informative and rewarding visit to Lyon. We thank ECA for this opportunity and welcome our colleagues.”
The workshop will gather academy directors and club experts from across Europe and South America, all keen to discuss the processes when it comes to defining, measuring and managing performance within their academies.
Over the course of the two days, delegates will participate in six presentations, including from event host Olympique Lyonnais, Manchester City FC, Valencia CF, FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Independiente del Valle, giving them the opportunity to hear first-hand how leading clubs have implemented their processes when it comes to performance.
Jean-Francois Vulliez, Academy Director at Olympique Lyonnais, said: “We want to present our club and show how we have approached youth development and performance, and hope that we can all learn something from each other. We have been working for many years to train football talents. The value of sharing carried by football must be deployed on all fields. By comparing our experiences, by evaluating our knowledge, we will be able to develop new models and strive a little more towards excellence. Football must stay in motion to allow future generations to benefit from the best training techniques.”
Pouya Yaghoubinia, Football Development Manager at ECA, said: “Delegates will have the opportunity to learn and exchange with their colleagues on the different practices at European and global level, and then take away key processes they can implement in their own structures. Each module so far has been hugely rewarding and we have had excellent feedback, and we have no doubt that this final event will be the same.”
In developing its 2021-23 Youth Strategy, ECA recognised that the identification and development of talented young players had become a central concern of modern football clubs and that a productive academy system was key to long-term success.
The 2021/23 strategic plan dedicated to driving the development of youth football around Europe is based on four fundamental pillars: Regulatory protection of training clubs; development of the youth competition landscape; delivering essential research; and facilitating knowledge exchange. It is the last of these that saw the ECA establish its Youth Exchange framework to provide valuable opportunities for professionals working throughout youth systems across Europe to learn from one another.
The modules sit alongside ECA Connect, a centralised and user-friendly platform for youth, academy professionals to connect with, learn from and inspire one another.