Frequently Asked Questions
Below Is Information About Programs, Training and Travel. If You Have A Question
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Minor (Under 18) Players Training Abroad
FIFA prohibits the international transfer of minors (player under the age of 18) with certain exceptions. LEARN MORE
If you have an EU-member citizenship, you will be able to play in Europe. If not, you will need to meet one of the six exceptions under FIFA's regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) as they relate to minor players. LEARN MORE
You need to contact the Consulate Office FOR the country to which you wish to travel. They will assist you in identifying and completing the proper visa application.
A Schengen visa is essentially a 90 day visa permitting an individual to travel to any one of the Schengen Area countries for purposes of business or tourism. There are 26 countries within the Schengen area. These can be used for purposes of a football trial.
The Federation Internationale de football Association aka FIFA is the governing body that oversees not only Association football, but beach football and futsal as well. LEARN MORE
Check the travel advisories for different countries, so you know where it is safe to travel. LEARN MORE
There is always a possibility that a scout, agent or coach may see you playing while you are training abroad. If they like your style of play, you may be offered a trial with their club. BUT... some European clubs may not want to deal with the paperwork involved with signing a foreign minor when they have so much talent in their own backyard. You should never sign with an Academy that promises you will be signed with a club. That is a huge red flag. Playing abroad will give you the opportunity to improve your game, but it will not guarantee that you are signed in that country or with a club when you return to your own home country.
Going Abroad to Train for Soccer
One of the most common methods whereby many foreign soccer academies are able to train their players is by enrolling them into classes in their country. This meets one of the FIFA exceptions - The player is participating in an academic program abroad as a student (art. 19, par. 2e) LEARN MORE
Most of the football Academies that are geared for foreign players offer language classes to satisfy the study requirements set by FIFA. It is helpful for the student to have some familiarity with the country's language; however, most of the Academies have some staff who also speak English. We had purchased Rosetta stone for our son before he went to Italy and felt it gave him a good grounding before he reached. This was especially useful because he was in a fully immersive program that included classes being given in Italian.
Many foreign academies that are designed for non-EU players incorporate an educational component into their programs. They may offer high school courses or even university coursework. There are also many options for online schooling that can be utilized by students training abroad.
Gap years have become increasingly popular. You can certainly choose to take a gap year and train abroad; however, unless you meet one of the other 5 FIFA exceptions, you will need to take an educational course that satisfies the FIFA requirements if you wish to go as a student.
European soccer training is very different than US training. The speed of play is often faster. More focus is given to tactical and technical ability than size and brute strength. Every parent I have spoken to who had a child train abroad has felt the experience was of tremendous benefit to their player. Not only have they come back stronger, but with an amazing life experience as well.
529 plans cover "qualified expenses". You may be able to get the schooling portion of Academy costs covered by your plan, but you will need to ensure it qualifies for this. LEARN MORE
How Can I Sign with a Professional Club?
ID Camps aka Combines allow players to showcase their talent against other players. Several companies offer these events with scouts from Professional clubs in attendance. LEARN MORE
A CV (curriculum vitae) is essentially your "resume". You should have one listing your playing history. Agents, scouts and clubs will often ask for your CV. LEARN MORE
A highlight reel should start with your basic information then follow with clips of your playing. It should not be more than 4-5 minutes in length. LEARN MORE
A football agent is a intermediary who oversees the interest of a player. They represent their clients best interests, and their responsibilities include negotiating contracts, seeking endorsements, handling journalists and coordinating appearances. LEARN MORE
Soccer talent scouts attend games throughout the world seeking out talent. They may represent specific clubs or work independently. LEARN MORE
No, a contract with an Academy is not the same thing as a contract with a professional club. LEARN MORE
Miscellaneous - Traveling Out of the Country
Make certain your player has an ATM card that they can use to access funds when abroad. You will need to speak with your bank in advance to alert them of your child's travels. Many banks may assume a foreign charge means your card has been stolen.
Check with your carrier to ensure your charges will be the same if your player is traveling out of country. Ask what the charges are for texts or data. We used Whatsapp. It is a free app that allows you to text, speak, video conference and even exchange files - all at no charge.
Even though the Academy will have medics and supplies, it may give you peace of mind to send your player with his own first aid kit. We purchased a basic kit and supplemented it with a few items such as extra ibuprofin and tums. We also sent our son with a small tens unit which he and some teammates did use.
There are fifteen different types of electrical outlets around the world. US outlets are not the same as most of the European ones. Make certain to pack one or two adaptors so your players electrical devices (and chargers) work. Here are two that my son has used. They have both worked well for him and lasted over a year.
If you order items through Amazon.com and have them shipped abroad, it will be very expensive. Fortunately, amazon has operations in other countries and you can use your account to make purchases through those links. We used Amazon.es for Spain and Amazon.it for Italy.
There are five main tiers of English football. The top flight is the Barclay's Premier League, followed by the First Division, League One, League Two then National League. LEARN MORE
There are ten tiers of Spanish football. The top flight is La Liga. It is followed by the Segunda Division. Primera Division RFEF, Segunda Division RFEF and the Tercera Division. Tiers 6-10 are made up of the 1st through 5th regional division respectively. LEARN MORE
The top flight of Italian football is Series A, followed by Serie B and Serie C. There are also six non-professional leagues. These are: Series D, Eccellenza, Promozione, Prima Categoria, Seconda Categoria and Terza Categoria. LEARN MORE
The top flight of German football is the Bundesliga followed by the Bundesliga 2 and German Liga. They also have amateur leagues. LEARN MORE
The top flight of French football is Ligue 1. It is followed by Ligue 2 and the National League. The French Football League (FFF) governs a series of semi-professional divisions as well.
Q & A with Players & Scouts
Practice / Practice / Practice
When asked what measureables he looks for when considering talent for US Soccer Youth and Men's National teams, Cristiano cited: Competitiveness, Intelligence and Personality. READ MORE
When asked if he recommends players train abroad, if possible, Ryan answered yes. "I would recommend a player get a taste of how serious youth players take the game outside of America. It's important for players to gain an appreciation for how important the game of soccer is to other cultures." READ MORE
Fans of US Soccer will be very familiar with the name Brianna Pinto. This freshman at the University of North Carolina is also a celebrated member of the US U20 Women's National Team. Many people were introduced to Brianna last year when she spoke before the FIFA conference in Moscow, helping United 2026 (United States, Mexico and Canada) in their bid to host the World Cup in 2026. READ MORE
In 2011, Dominic joined the Manchester City's youth academy. Prior to that, he had been with the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana, where he was born. READ MORE
Shawn Beyer is a scout for US Soccer. He answered some questions asked by parents on how a player is identified. READ MORE