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European Mobility as a Catalyst for Coaching Success
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Coach education is one of the most important duties of Stoke City FC Academy. Improvement of coaching skills through European interaction and exchange of innovation, coupled with enhanced employability for all mobility participants is central to this Erasmus+ application under Key Action 1. Unemployment rates for professional football coaches remain above the national average with 26% of coaches being unemployed at any given moment (UEFA, 2010). Mobility will provide VET Staff participants with additional European skills to reduce the risk of subsequent unemployment and improve job security and career progression. The 35 participants in the VET staff mobility category will all be VET professionals drawn from three distinct categories: 1. Coaches employed by Stoke City FC who are employed on a full-time basis at a variety of levels, from schools football to elite youth development coaching. Mobility will enhance personal skills via exposure to innovative Spanish coaching skills at the Olivanova regional centre in Spain where they will study innovations in player development pathways at Levente FC, Villareal FC and Valencia FC. 2. Elite Academy coaches, having achieved UEFA A, B, or Pro Licence standards. These participants generally have aspirations towards coaching at first team level. This group will comprise both male and female participants and will involve mobility to study coaching structures at Real Madrid. 3. Community and grassroots coaches employed by Stoke City FC who are involved in community work and health education in the local area will travel to Benfica FC in Lisbon to examine community initiative in Portugal aimed at increasing participation rates and retention rates in men’s and women’s football. This project will raise the importance and status of youth and talent development in England, in both men’s and women’s football, and this remains the key to future success. This can only be achieved if football builds on the large numbers of children and young people, male and female, participating in the game at grassroots level and community level, and this project will directly address these key issues. This area of talent development is where our more successful European partner nations have a greater comparative competitive edge over England. Work programmes for women’s football coaches will place a strong emphasis on studying how young talented female players are identified at the earliest opportunity and how that talent is supported and sustained through the community and grassroots infrastructure in the European partner countries. These studies will be crucial to the employability of the participant coaches but will also be pivotal in increasing participation rates in women’s football in England. These mobility outcomes will have a significant impact on the restructuring of Stoke City FC regional talent identification programmes in women’s football. As such mobility will have a major impact in these sectors on a local, regional and national basis.
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