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Guus Hiddink Launches the UK Football Academy

Thu 10th Nov 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

Guus Hiddink, one of the world’s best football managers and Raymond Verheijen, Hiddink’s assistant at South Korea, Russia and Chelsea, have launched the UK Football Academy (UKFA), an institute dedicated to coach education through bringing the world’s best coaches and professionals to the doorstep of UK football people at all levels of the game.

The UKFA marks the second phase of the pair’s world football academy vision, following the success of its Dutch counterpart which launched in December 2009. The blueprint for the academies was developed when Hiddink and Verheijen worked together with Russia in 2008 and they started to plan Hiddink’s legacy to the game.

The UKFA’s inaugural symposium, entitled ‘Improve Your Team – Meet the World’s Best Football Experts’, will take place at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, February 8.  The event will be open to managers, coaches and practitioners at every level of the game, where Hiddink and Verheijen will be joined as keynote speakers by UKFA ambassador, Sam Allardyce.

As well as plenary presentations, the symposium will comprise specific sub-sessions for professional, amateur, and also for medical and sport science staff. All presentations will be delivered by internationally-renowned football specialists.

Hiddink, Holland’s most successful club and national team manager, who is currently trying to engineer Turkey’s play-off qualification for the Euro 2012 Finals, is committed to the transfer of knowledge and experience from the world’s best coaches and will be in charge of the football-specific content of UKFA courses:

“If you think about it, it makes so much sense. Our aim is for football people who often have experienced the game themselves as a player, to be provided with the tools so they can transfer their football knowledge onto the next generation of players.”

Importantly, for all UKFA courses, football will always be the starting point. Hiddink continues, “in the modern football world one sees more and more clashes between practice and theory. Often because the theory is from outside football. That’s why it’s crucial to stick with the essence of the game and always take this as the starting point for coaching and training.”

UKFA course participants will get the opportunity to develop themselves in a football-specific way in areas like periodisation, player monitoring, psychology, rehabilitation, leadership, management, strength training, nutrition, goalkeeper coaching, technique training, injury prevention and performance analysis.

Raymond Verheijen, 39, who since February has been working alongside Gary Speed to produce the steep upward performance curve of the Wales football team, and has been in Assistant Coach roles with national teams at the last six major football championship finals, is thrilled to be extending the momentum already generated by his partnership with Hiddink on the Dutch Football Academy to the UK:

“From the start, it has been so encouraging for us to see so many coaches and staff members eager to learn new ideas and methods, based on the knowledge and experience of specialists, in an attempt to develop the game to the next level. The feedback we have already had here to the academy idea has been overwhelming.”

On his partnership with Hiddink, Verheijen continues,“the strength of Guus Hiddink is that he always protects the essence of the game. For example, with the discipline of players. Many coaches focus on the discipline of players off the pitch first. For Guus it’s the other way around. He always takes football as a starting point. He focuses on discipline on the pitch first. For him that’s the only thing that matters. Everything else will develop as a logical consequence.”

Importantly, as it does in Holland*, the UKFA will work in close cooperation with the FA’s of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and England. 

Verheijen explains:  “The fundamental coaching courses belong to the FA’s. That’s how football has been organised world-wide by FIFA and that’s the way it should be. We fully respect this structure. Therefore, we are no alternative or rival coach education structure. Our objective is to add specific and specialised courses to the established coach education structure of the respective FA’s.”

Delegate places for the UKFA’s ‘Meet the Elite’ symposium are priced at £145 + VAT. For further information or to book places, visit:  www.ukfootballacademy.net


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