The Football Development Schools (FDS) WBA Suomi programme aims to offer young Finnish players comprehensive opportunities to experience English professional coaching and achieve their potential. Our programme has been developing in Finland since 2008 when we first participated in the Kokkola Cup and has developed from our first football schools in 2010. Since 2008 we have organised English football schools with more than 20 clubs in Finland and taken young Finnish players to France, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Latvia and most importantly England. The programme is headed up by Kristian Heames MSc BSc & Scott Baines (UEFA Licensed Coaches), with nearly 40 years combined experience in the professional game and nearly 20 years combined experience working in Finland with young Finnish players.

ENGLISH FOOTBALL SCHOOLS

The opportunities we offer start from the English Football Schools we organise through clubs in Finland. The Finnish club will decide how to organise the participants, at times this is open to all players, sometimes they are targeted at girls and boys and at times clubs may want to offer extra opportunities to players they see as more serious, so these schools are a mixture and depend on the Finnish club. From the FDS-WBA point of view our main focus is that all participants enjoy our English Football Schools and go away having had a positive experience of English coaching. ALL coaches on our schools are English which we feel is a massive benefit to all participants, so we not only help them with their football but also their English understanding and speaking! Even with the youngest participants, who are 8 or 9 years of age we feel this is important even if it tests the language skills of our English coaches! The football schools can be open to players of all abilities and experiences, FUN is the main focus, but the coaching is tailored to the group with more able groups pushed appropriately to help them improve.  Our coaches always bring enthusiasm, passion, variety and REAL English Football approach to the schools which is well received by the players and something different than they typically receive from their own teams.

SELECTED TRAINING CAMPS

Another purpose of the English Football Schools is that, should we identify talented players that is not the end of the story. The next level of our programme in Finland is the SELECTED ONLY training camps we run in different parts of Finland all through the year.  The selection criteria is very similar to what we identify in our English players, technical ability, game understanding, athleticism but most important attitude, personality and mentality, so the players we invite can be quite a variety. Sometimes players are invited on the second on third football school to join these camps, and gives them positive motivation to improve year on year if they want to receive an invite.

THE SELECTED ONLY CAMPS offer more specific and serious coaching on developing players on and off the pitch. We set the players the same professional standards we expect of English boys and focus on all parts of the game. We have run attacking camps, defending camps, mentality camps, physical testing camps, tournament camps all to help the boys to prepare for playing at the higher level of our programme and develop them as individuals.

FDS-WBA SUOMI TEAMS & ELITE TOURNAMENTS

For players demonstrating the right mentality, ability and qualities in the training camps they have possibility to be invited in our FDS-WBA Suomi teams/squads. These squads play in tournaments in FInland and across Europe and include English and Finnish boys. All tournaments are only for coaches and players, this is to allow the boys to take responsibility for themselves and work closely with the coaches, focussing only on football, the team and the challenge of playing to their maximum. These teams are also wonderful opportunities for many reasons; making friends with the English boys, developing them as independent young people off the pitch, improving their English further, experiencing playing against Europes Elite teams and the best kids in Europe for their age (our teams are typically competing with champions league level clubs in these tournaments), becoming comfortable with travel and many other things that are important for them in the future.

Typically players invited into our teams will be invited to participate in tournaments in Finland (The Kokkola Cup, The Eremeneko Cup, The Ajax Cup) and then onto an Elite tour, this makes the step up easier having already gained tournament experience and learned more of how we ask our teams to play and what we ask the players to do individually.

The other stage of development in this programme is to invite players over to England to experience English football firsthand. When we invite players over it is to expand their opportunities and in the best circumstances give boys the opportunity to impress English professional clubs to follow up this interest with an invitation.

TRIPS TO ENGLAND

Whilst we organise trips to England for groups of players ourselves we also offer FINNISH CLUBS the opportunity to come to England and arrange, matches, training sessions, stadium tours, Premier League and other professional matches. These trips are designed around the needs of the club and can be for groups of 15 players & coaches and up to 32 players & coaches. We arrange ALL transport, accommodation, food, leisure activities, sessions, matches, tickets, shopping etc. The Finnish club arrange the flights, we do the rest.

We also arrange trips for FINNISH COACHES to come and experience the English game observe and learn about what is happening in English Academies and how this relates to their own work in Finland. Much like the Finnish club visits the groups we cater for can be from 15-32 people, where the coaching group organise their own flights to England and we organise everything else.

The trips to England are very popular in both the Autumn and Spring in particular.

COACHING CONSULTANCY

We have on going relationships with clubs, groups and schools in Finland where we work with them on a regular basis (quarterly up to monthly). This allows us to have a really big impact on the players as are regularly working in our environment with our expectations and standards and stops some of the benefits being lost due to longer periods between our sessions with them.

This coaching consultancy is also a benefit to the coaches in these organisations/clubs as we are very open as to our methods and happy to lead workshops, question and answer sessions and work with them on the training pitch.

VALUES OF OUR PROGRAMME

We have always developed players in a holistic way, that is to work on and off the pitch; both are equally important. Our goals is to ‘Develop the Person, Build the Player’, this all starts with enjoyment and continues through professional coaching, feedback, care and an individualised approach, the teams we have are merely a vehicle to help us to develop the players as individuals.

In our vast experiences across Finnish players and the Finnish game Kristian Heames was also head coach of FF Jaro for 1 year. This experience has further developed our understanding of Finland, Finnish football and what needs to be done to work with players effectively to achieve their potential.

To find out more please email finland@developmentschools.co.uk