Stevenage FC is an English professional football club based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England. The club competes in the EFL League Two, the fourth tier of English football.
Stevenage FC Youth Development System
Stevenage Football Club believes in developing players to support and enhance the first team squad and has a detailed Academy structure in place to help achieve this.
The Academy operates at Category 3 under EPPP criteria and auditing. Teams are registered from Under 9s to Under 18s. The Under 9-Under 14s play friendly games in the EFL programme whilst the Under 15/16 and Under 18 sides play in regional competitive leagues.
Players within the Academy are given the best opportunity to develop based upon their individual needs and growth and are reviewed during each six week phase. This is in addition to player / parent coach review meetings every ten weeks. Players must strive to progress year on year to achieve a new contract under Under 16s, where they are given a decision as to whether they are offered a two year scholarship with the club.
All Academy coaches are UEFA ‘B’ certified and follow a stringent appraisal system and CPD programme, in order to ensure the coaching delivered is fresh, relevant and engaging.
In addition to the regular Academy teams at Under 9 to Under 16 level, the club operates development centres, shadow squads and Elite Development Programmes, all of which provide youngsters from Stevenage, across the country and beyond with a range of performance and educational opportunities to help fulfil their potential.
Stevenage FC Academy Mission Statement
Stevenage FC’s long-term aim at Stevenage Academy is to produce elite level footballers in an environment that is safe and secure, however at the same time challenging players needs. Stevenage FC recognises that the success of the academy is a partnership between the player, parent and staff, with all parties playing an active role to support the player in achieving his goals. Stevenage FC will endeavor to develop young people who will go on to be a credit to themselves , their families and Stevenage Football Club.
At Stevenage Football Club they strongly believe in the development of the individual and seek to continually stretch each player across their 6 pillars through coaching (on and off the pitch), analysis and game play. Stevenage FC continues to strive to improve all elements of the Academy programme and demand that players registered to their programme do the same.
Stevenage FC Academy Playing Philosophy
Across all 3 phases (Foundation, Youth Development and Professional) all teams will display three distinct philosophies – in and out of possession and transition:
1) In possession the overarching requirement and style is possession-based football that encourages individuals to display an array of talents that enables the play to transition from calm and measured to explosive creative moments. All teams will be encouraged to have players in front of the ball in possession and to play forward at every opportunity. Ball movement is regarded as essential to developing all players technically and players will be encouraged to make good decisions on whether to pass/shoot/cross or dribble dependant on where they are on the pitch and what scenario they are faced with. Using the Goalkeeper as an extra outfield player is considered vital in an individuals development and Goalkeepers will be tasked with being excellent with the ball at their feet. Ball handling, awareness, 1 v 1 skills, athleticism and resilience are considered essential for any SFC player.
2) Out of possession all teams will press as high as possible with the demand on individuals and the team to work as one, in a variety of different ways dependant upon the opposition formation and tactics, to win the ball back. 1v1 skills, athleticism and resilience provide 3 key elements in order to be successful as an individual and as a team.
3) In transition when winning the ball back individuals will be tasked with ensuring that retaining possession becomes key. With this in mind winning the ball back, releasing immediate pressure and keeping the ball become the most important aspect in their philosophy. Awareness and ball handling are 2 key elements here.
In addition to the above Stevenage FC aim to develop players who can exhibit a Unique Skill that is clearly linked to the individual and which every coach and player can easily identify and at PDP mirror the 1st team playing philosophy.
Stevenage FC recognises its moral and legal obligation to ensure that, the coaches and volunteers who have a responsibility for young people within the Club provide them with the highest possible standard of care.
Through the implementation of a policy for the Welfare of Young People and the support of its coaches and volunteers, Stevenage FC will maintain the professionalism and safeguards of good practice which are associated with the game. The welfare and safety of every child will come before any technical or tactical philosophy of this Football Club.
Stevenage FC Academy Coaching Philosophy
Stevenage Academy ensures that the player will always remain at the centre of our entire organisation. They consciously aspire to meet the players needs and continually challenge and appropriately stretch them in all areas of their development with them as an Academy. The Academy aims to create an environment that encourages cross-communication, recruits and develops passionate individuals to challenge, debate and discuss the game and our organisations beliefs and philosophy with the player ALWAYS at the centre.
Each coach has outlined to them (via the Academy Manager and the Head of Department) what is expected of them within the specific development phase. Stevenage FC endeavors as an Academy to make their expectations simple to understand and provide a blueprint of how their Academy players are coached. This is supported by in-service sessions and the use of the technical coaching programme. With the advent of our 6 pillars, all coaches within the pathway are to be immersed in the syllabus, ensuring that there is a consistency of delivery, communication and language used with all of their players.
There are a number of non-negotiables their coaches both expect and themselves adhere to when delivering within the coaching programme. As per EPPP rules, in order to be a Lead Coach, the individual must hold at least a UEFA B Licence. Every single Lead Coach holds the UEFA B Licence, with 5 UEFA A licence coaches and 2 AYA qualified coaches with a further 2 awaiting sign off pre season. Coaches ensure that they follow the syllabus, that they deliver as per the outlined session structure and that when delivering, their sessions are competitive, challenging and realistic to the game – must look like the game. In their interventions, coaches are succinct and to the point, keeping ball-rolling time high and they debrief, consolidate and keep the PMA up to date.
On match days, coaches display and discuss the weeks (plus individuals) learning objectives, referring consistently to the pillars. They ensure that players are stretched and challenged throughout fixtures and place learning and development at the forefront of their minds, NOT the result. Coaches are again, punchy and logical with their briefings within and after fixtures, whilst being empathetic to the emotions of the players having participated in a passionate activity, without wavering from their and the club’s standards. Coaches are early to all meets, enthusiastic and prepared for every contact with players.
Coaching is not limited to the pitch; their coaches are committed to support the learning of all their players through several off-pitch methods. Fixtures are filmed every weekend, each age group will have access to at least one full-game film per month and coaches can refer to clips, games, moments when discussing with players their development. Coaches are not limited to face-to-face contact; they also deliver reviews and action plan via the PMA and are able to interact via Hudl. The reviews are conducted every 6 weeks, with a player-parent meeting taking place after 12 weeks, which the coaching team has planned and collaborated on in advance.
The players, parents and all staff at Stevenage FC Academy all adhere to and reflect the Standards of Performance outlined at the start of every season. These Standards capture what it means to be a part of the club and identify how every person has a responsibility to enhance the reputation of the club by valuing the Safety, Learning & Respect of its members.
Development Centre & Shadow Squads
Development Centres at Stevenage FC provide children aged 7-16 the opportunity to receive extra technical coaching, in additional to their fun community and grassroots based provision. Players receive one hour of technical coaching per week at either the Stevenage FC Academy or Cheshunt FC, as well as the opportunity to be scouted by the club’s Academy scouts.
The Development Centres are highly suitable for players who want to begin their journey on the club’s Elite Player Pathway and understand as an individual the areas to focus on to help fulfil their potential. Similarly, the Centres are equally as suitable for players who want to receive additional technical development.
Development Centres operate in line with the academic year in term-based blocks with each player receiving a detailed performance report at the end of each block. Pathways are also in place to fast-track suitable players in the Academy’s Centre of Excellence.
For more information on how to join our Development Centres, please click here to visit their official site.
Stevenage FC operates a Player Pathway programme for players aged 7-16 with the potential to be Elite players, but who are not yet deemed competent. The Player Pathway programme is designed to strengthen the Academy infrastructure and provide Academy standard coaching to players that we perceive to be Academy players in the near but not-too-distant future.
Pathway players, who can still play for their local grassroots clubs, receive the following provision which is of the same standard as Academy players to support their developmental needs:
- UEFA B candidate / qualifying coaching
- Elite Academy based structured session
- Elite Academy coaching syllabus
- Opportunities to train with and against Academy teams
- Clear Player Pathway
- Full player based medical cover
- Full review process every 6 weeks to feedback to players and parents
- 1 competitive fixture per 6 week phase to assess development and progression
For more information on how to join our Development Centres, please click here to visit their official site.
Stevenage FC Education & Development Programme (EDP)
The Stevenage Football Club Education & Development Programme (EDP) is for Year 11 and 12 aspiring footballers to enroll on the Programme which includes full-time education in a professional football environment.
The Programme consists of a coaching and competitive games programme alongside a Level 2 or 3 BTEC in Sports Coaching & Development.
The EDP Programme consists of a coaching and competitive games programme. The coaching takes place alongside education on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays and Wednesdays are dedicated for fixtures. Players will compete in the English Football League Community & Education Football Alliance League and Cup.
The coaching is delivered by UEFA qualified coaches who have Safeguarding accreditations and Enhanced DBS checks. All coaches have a vast amount of experience of coaching at elite levels alongside support staff including Goalkeeper coaching and physiotherapy/rehab for injured players. Further support includes individual development plans, video analysis and individualised gym programmes.
The football element of the programme is delivered at Herts FA County Ground in Letchworth.
Alongside the coaching, the education side allows student to gain a BTEC Level 2 or 3 National Extended Diploma in Sport. The Level 3 BTEC is the equivalent of gaining up to 3 A Levels for a 2 year course whilst the BTEC Level 2 is over 3 years.
There is a strong emphasis on the importance of players completing the Level 2 or 3 BTEC to ensure they give themselves the best possible opportunities to leave the programme with a qualification and use this to go onto other aspects in their aspiring careers.
The education curriculum and qualifications are delivered by Virtual Learning UK, who provide and employ all teaching staff and work in partnership with Stevenage Football Club.
For more information on the Programme, please click here to visit their official website.
Stevenage FC Recruitment Trials
At the time of this writing, there are no official publishings on Stevenage FC trials/tryouts. Please come back at a later date while we monitor this club or click here to visit their official academy contact section.
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