Academy Shadow Squads

Our Academy Shadow Squad is for the Foundation Phase age groups of U9-U12 and is invite only. The Shadow Squad is for elite players only and forms the second tier of our ‘selection only’ player structure. The Shadow Squad sits directly below FITC Academy.

Any player who is invited to the Shadow Squad, will then undergo a 6 week trial so our academy coaches can assess the player to decide if they would be at the correct standard to be invited to join on a permanent basis.

We select our players based on attitude, effort, willingness to improve, commitment and natural ability. The Shadow Squad sessions will develop technical ability, confidence and quality on the ball, ability to beat a player, speed of play, movement, awareness and thought process. It will also improve natural fitness, sharpness, strength, decision making and discipline.

The Shadow Squad has been designed to increase the opportunities for players to maximise their individual development. The main aim of the Shadow Squad programme is to provide a facility where players who have the potential to be signed for the academy can be coached to enable them to fulfil their potential while giving them the opportunity to progress within the system. This session also supplies the players who have been released from the academy a programme in which they can be coached in the areas they need to improve to get them back into the academy set up.

Session Layout

0-30mins: Warm up – This has to include a ‘ball each’ element for 15 minutes and ‘pass and move’ element for 15 mins, along with both dynamic and static stretches.

30-60mins: Technical Session – This is the main part of the session and must involve lots of technical information. The sessions must be high tempo and high intensity with minimal queues and lots of individual player involvement.

60-90mins: Tactical/Positional Session – This section is to help the player develop their game understanding and see how our technical sessions translate into realistic match situations. Again, the sessions must be high tempo, high intensity and remain realistic and relatable throughout.

90-120mins: Match Play – Match play will be structured and coached with the emphasis on what the players have been working on in that session.

Shadow Squad players will be continually assessed during their time with us, by all academy coaches and scouts. We will have a ‘retain or release’ for all the players twice a year. The reason we do this is to keep the standard in the group as high as possible and highlight the areas in which the players are both excelling at and the areas they need to improve.

Players at these sessions will benefit from expert coaching, and increased contact time with our academy coaches. The players will be trained once a week and any players who progress and improve at a fast speed will be invited to attend a trial at the academy.

The Shadow Squad will play against the academy team regularly to see how they fair against the academy players. Those who excel in the matches will again be invited into the academy for a trial. The Academy Shadow Squad players may also be selected for academy matches against the professional clubs.