Welcome to AFDA
When Leicester City legends Muzzy Izzet and Steve Walsh teamed up with PTC Sports to create a football academy, they dreamed of an empire.
Now well into its second season, and on the back of a successful recruitment campaign, student numbers have doubled and the reputation of the Advanced Football Development Academy is a positive one in the competitive world of further education.
It is well documented that football can be an unforgiving environment. Injuries, poor attitude and the relentless approach of professional clubs in sweeping up talented individuals has led to the alarming statistic that less than one percent of professional academy players achieve first team status. With this in mind, the Advanced Football Development Academy looks to offer youngsters with ambitions of playing professional football, or indeed those who simply love the game, the opportunity to explore further careers in sport, whilst also developing their physical and technical ability on the pitch.
In conjunction with elite level coaching, led by Muzzy, ‘Walshy’ and former Leicester City player Jon Stevenson, the AFDA offers players the chance to gain a 180 credit BTEC Sport Level 3 qualification in a unique programme that can successfully prepare them for employment or higher education. By studying a variety of units - from Sport Psychology to Sports Coaching, from Anatomy and Physiology to Fitness Testing - learners will leave with the knowledge to make an informed career decision. Whether learners choose to be a sport psychologist, a physiotherapist, a sport journalist or indeed any other vocation, the experience of AFDA enhances not only employability skills such as organisation, teamwork and communication skills but also old school values such as respect for peers and the surrounding environment.
With a firm emphasis on education as priority, the lecturers aim to prepare all learners for a variety of career paths. As the first batch of AFDA learners (current second year students) begin to accept offers from respected Universities, others are considering the military, employment (assisted by AFDA links with local employment agencies), USA scholarships or the Activity L e a d e r s h i p apprenticeship pathway offered by the academy. Following a period of extensive training delivered by Muzzy and Steve, this particular opportunity provides successful candidates the chance to work within local schools and offer quality coaching during PE sessions, after school clubs and lunchtime clubs - a terrific opportunity for prospective sport coaches.
Following a successful first campaign on the pitch, the 2015/16 season has continued in a similar manner, with three men’s teams and a newly formed women’s side competing for silverware in the English Colleges Football Association League. The enthusiasm and professionalism of the AFDA coaches is infectious, resulting in competitive yet enjoyable training sessions on a daily basis. However, the importance of leaving the academy with a qualification is recognised by all staff who actively encourage learners to ensure academic work is complete and up to standard. For any young person who lives for football, the Advanced Football Development Academy is an ideal opportunity to receive professional coaching, play competitive matches and gain a valued qualification. Some might even suggest the perfect match.