A host of talented young footballers who trained at City Football Schools in the UAE are starting the new season at professional clubs around the world.
These include two brothers who relocated from Abu Dhabi to Manchester — with one now at Manchester City and the other at Manchester United.
One teenager is getting ready for action with Valencia in Spain, another boy is signed up with Porto in Portugal and the line-up is completed by Isaac Brown at Italian club Atalanta. Closer to home, Adulla Rashed is playing for Al Ain and is also involved with the UAE national team.
City Football Schools’ Talented Player Programme provides a platform for the best performers to develop their all-round game under the watchful eye of fully qualified and knowledgeable coaches, with additional elements such as strength and conditioning, performance analysis and individual development plans incorporated into the season programme to give players every opportunity to progress.
Brown believes the attributes he developed while training with City Football Schools in the UAE will serve him well as he looks to make his mark at Atalanta.
“Some huge things I’ve taken from City Football Schools have definitely been the technical, tactical, physical and mental part of the game,” he said. “They really focused on those four points, which are the concrete foundations of football.
“City has developed me to become the player I am now. They have basically started me off. In the Talented Player Programme, which I played in, they focused even more in those four areas. City has been great, they developed me so much since the beginning, they set me up for success as I now live in Italy and have been offered many trials with different teams. And all I can say is thank you for all the training they gave me, for all the tips, for everything, it was great.”
Lewis Childs, Talented Player Programme Head Coach, added: “Having managed talent programs around the world we were excited to introduce the Talented Player Program (TPP) to the Emirates in our 10th season of developing football within the region. Our TPP is built on the strength of our community and recreational programs across both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with many positive stories of young people progressing through our City pathway.
“The most obvious measure of success for this type of program is a player signing for a professional academy, but our role is to help the players maximise their potential. We need to make sure our City programmes are an amazing addition to the childhood years, so that young people’s lives are enriched by being associated with the Club. If we can develop well-rounded, robust people who have had a variety of experiences, then we can make sure their football journey is a positive one, regardless of the football outcome.
“We aim to develop an environment to accelerate a player’s learning and performance, developing a player’s talent and supporting them to fulfil their future potential.
“This season we have had a young player sign for our very own Manchester City FC, with another signing for local rivals Manchester United. We are also equally proud of players who moved to new countries and have been recognised by top flight academies across Europe such as Lazio, Valencia, Porto and Leicester City. We continue to support local talent and currently have 14 players involved in UAE professional academies, who are progressing well. Other achievements this past season include players being accepted on football scholarships in England, and players now beginning to explore academic and athletic scholarships in the USA.”
Now in its 11th year of running football coaching programmes throughout the UAE, City Football Schools operates from six separate locations across Abu Dhabi and Dubai, giving boys and girls aged three to 18 an opportunity to develop their skills in a fun environment while making friends along the way, all under the guidance and supervision of fully qualified City Football Schools coaches.