The FAI in partnership with a number of Education and Training Boards throughout the country operate Local Training Initiatives that provide a unique blend of educational and football development for talented young footballers. The renowned FAI-ETB Player Development programme enables interested participants to train full time while also availing of a sport themed education programme.

The programme enables young players to achieve their potential and in many cases, to develop a career in professional football. It also prepares participants for a career in the sports and leisure industry as well as encouraging them to improve their level of education and reach their potential in this regard, thus enhancing their job prospects and opportunities.

The courses currently take place in Clondalkin, Cabra and Irishtown in Dublin, Limerick, Castlebar, and Blarney, Carrigaline and Ringmahon in Cork. The programme has also expanded this year and features new courses in Dundalk and Waterford. Player development has been a successful feature of the courses with more than 100 trainees progressing to the SSE Airtricity League in recent seasons. Other course graduates including Kevin Long, Matt Doherty, Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan and Enda Stevens have all featured in recent senior Republic of Ireland squads. Indeed, current Women’s National team captain, Katie McCabe also graduated from the programme in recent years alongside a number of other senior women’s players such as Roma McLaughlin, Amanda McQuillan and Stephanie Roche.

The courses are headed up by FAI Coordinators with UEFA A and UEFA Pro License qualifications and who have come from a professional football background. So, young players will have access to top class training in state of the art facilities and sound career advice if becoming a professional footballer is their ambition. Of course not everyone will make the grade to a pro player – but the course will help players to find their level and hopefully continue to enjoy the game.

As part of the academic side of the programme, learners will complete a QQI Level 5 in Sport & Recreation studies plus an ITEC Gym Instructors Diploma, Pool Lifeguard and FAI Coaching Certificates. In the last number of years, the CAO points accumulated on this programme has allowed numerous learners to progress to Third Level Institutions in Ireland. Course graduates have continued to add to their educational development in a variety of degree courses in the Institutes of Technology in Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Dundalk and Carlow where sports themed degree courses are very popular choices.

Courses are run in Clondalkin Leisure Centre.

For more information www.fai.ie/fai-etb-courses