You’re passionate about football and dream of making it professionally one day. But how do you get there? Attending a top football academy can give you the coaching, facilities and exposure needed to develop your skills and get noticed by scouts.
In Africa, football academies are growing rapidly as clubs and independent organizations work to nurture talented local youth. The academies provide structured training regimes, high quality coaching, education programs and opportunities to gain experience through youth tournaments.
In this guide, we’ll look at what football academies are, the benefits of attending one, how to get into a top African academy, typical costs and a list of the leading academies on the continent. We’ll also answer some common questions around academies in Africa.
What is a Football Academy?
A football academy is an organization that develops young football talent through structured coaching programs and matches. Academies are usually run by professional clubs, schools, colleges or independent companies.
The main goal of an academy is to produce elite level youth players who can eventually graduate to play professionally. They achieve this by providing high quality coaching, training facilities and education tailored to developing young athletes.
Academies take in players from a young age, often starting at under 10 years old. They are enrolled in tailored schooling or educational programs combined with intensive football training most days of the week.
As players progress through age groups, the training becomes more advanced and their matches more competitive. The top academies participate in youth leagues and tournaments.
The best academies have excellent facilities like pitches, gyms, classrooms and accommodation. And they attract top quality coaches with experience playing or coaching professionally.
The end goal is to graduate players to the club’s professional team or place them with other professional sides. The very best talents may go on to represent their national teams.
Benefits of Attending a Football Academy
Attending a leading football academy can propel talented young players towards a professional career. Here are some of the major benefits:
- Expert coaching – You’ll get high quality training from experienced, often pro-level coaches. This can drastically improve your technical, tactical, physical and mental skills.
- Facilities – Access to top class pitches, gyms, training equipment and facilities. Everything you need to maximize development.
- Competition – You’ll play more competitive matches and participate in leagues or tournaments against other top academies. This level of competition brings out your best.
- Exposure – Scouts from professional clubs and national teams regularly watch the top academies to spot emerging talent. Excelling for your academy builds your reputation.
- Education – Academies provide tailored schooling and tutoring, ensuring you don’t neglect education. This prepares you for life on and off the pitch.
- Habits – You’ll develop good training habits, discipline and professional conduct expected of pro players. Living in a structured football environment breeds professionalism.
- Progress monitoring – Coaches provide feedback on your technical, tactical and physical progression. This helps accelerate your development pathway.
Attending the right academy vastly improves your chances of emerging as a top player.
How to Get Into a Top African Football Academy
To get on the path to turning professional via an academy, here’s what’s required:
- Commitment – You need dedication to put in the hard work and follow the program. Training is intense and requires discipline.
- Basic skills – Solid fundamentals like touch, passing, dribbling and shooting technique. Physical attributes like speed, coordination and agility. Game understanding helps too.
- Be scouted – Attend trial matches or skills camps run by pro clubs or academies to get spotted. Some also scout youth tournaments.
- Pass trials – If scouted you’ll be invited for a trial. Coaches will assess your technical abilities, physical condition, tactical understanding and attitude.
- Age limit – Most take players between 8-15 years old. Better to start younger when foundations are built. Some have U18 development squads.
- Parents support – Parents must commit to supporting your academy needs like transportation, diet, education, costs and encouragement.
Bring your A-game to every trial. Show your ability, hunger and potential. If your talent matches their needs, you’ll be offered a place.
Find out when clubs hold trials. Contact academies about assessment days. And get scouted at major youth tournaments.
Costs of Attending an African Football Academy
One of the biggest considerations for aspiring academy players is cost and funding. Expenses typically include:
- Tuition – Annual academy fees which covers coaching, facilities, tournaments etc. From around $500 to $5,000 USD for top academies.
- Accommodation – Weekly or monthly boarding fees if staying on campus. Around $100-500 per month.
- Equipment – Playing kit, training gear, boots etc. Upfront costs around $200-500. Ongoing replacement costs.
- Transportation – To and from home plus traveling to matches. Gas and vehicle costs or bus fares.
- Food – Meal plans or groceries if cooking. $100-300 monthly.
- Education – If extra tutoring needed beyond classroom lessons. Approx $30-60 per hour.
Many academies offer scholarships or financial aid to support talented, underprivileged youths. Look for sponsorships from brands, local businesses or your community.
Talk to parents and create a funding plan. Calculate all costs and identify sources of financial support before joining. It’s an investment in your future!
Top 20 Football Academies in Africa
Here are 20 of the top academies across Africa right now producing the next generation of talent:
|Ghana||Right to Dream Academy||Under 15s|
|Nigeria||Papilo Football Academy||Under 18s|
|Kenya||Galaxy Football Academy||Under 15s|
|South Africa||African Soccer Institute||Under 19s|
|Egypt||Al Ahly FC Academy||Under 19s|
|Morocco||Mohammed VI Football Academy||Under 18s|
|Zambia||ZESCO United Football Academy||Under 15s|
|Zambia||Power Dynamos Football Academy||Under 15s|
|Kenya||Express Soccer Academy||Under 18s|
|Tanzania||Azam FC Academy||Under 19s|
|Uganda||El Cambio Academy||Under 16s|
|Zimbabwe||Belgravia Junior Soccer Academy||Under 19s|
|Tunisia||Espérance Sportive de Tunis Academy||Under 19s|
|Algeria||PARADOU AC Academy||Under 19s|
|Ivory Coast||ASEC Mimosas Youth Academy||Under 20s|
|Kenya||Kipaji Soccer Academy||Under 17s|
|Ghana||Tima Football Academy||Under 18s|
|Nigeria||Midas Soccer Academy||Under 15s|
|Ghana||Dreams Football Club Academy||Under 18s|
|Nigeria||Bridge House College Football Academy||Under 15s|
Frequently Asked Questions
How old do you need to be to join an academy?
Most academies recruit players aged 8-15 years old. The ideal age is 10-12 years when fundamentals are being ingrained. Some academies have Under 18 squads for late developers.
Do football academies provide education?
Yes. Most established academies provide classroom education at their facilities or partner with local schools. They ensure players don’t neglect academics.
Can girls join academies?
Generally yes. Many academies now have girls’ programs running alongside the boys. But options are still more limited for female players.
Do I need prior experience to join?
Not necessarily. Raw potential and attitude can be enough to get a trial. But some experience in a youth club, school or representative team will help.
How do I get assessed or scouted for trials?
Contact the academy directly about assessment days. Attend their scouting camps. Get exposure playing youth tournaments. Many also scout youth leagues.
Attending a top football academy is the surest path to developing the skills, exposure and habits needed to make it professionally. Africa’s academies are growing rapidly and producing some excellent talent. With commitment and preparation, you have an opportunity to write your own story.
Keep visiting this site as we bring you more insider tips and guides to maximizing your football potential and achieving your dreams through the academy pathway. Believe in yourself and your abilities – you’ve got this!