Application open for FAI / ETB Player Development courses

The FAI in partnership with a number of Education and Training Boards throughout the country and supported by the European Social Fund

operates Local Training Initiatives that provide a unique blend of educational and football development for talented young footballers. The renowned FAI-ETB Player Development programme enables interested participants to train full time while also availing of a sport themed education programme.  The programme enables young players to achieve their potential and in many cases, to develop a career in professional football. It also prepares participants for a career in the sports and leisure industry as well as encouraging them to improve their level of education and reach their potential in this regard, thus enhancing their job prospects and opportunities.

The courses currently take place in venues in Clondalkin, Cabra, Irishtown in Dublin, Limerick, Castlebar, and Blarney, Carrigaline and Ringmahon in Cork. There are plans also to expand the programme into other areas of the country.

Player development has been a successful feature of the courses with more than 100 trainees progressing to the SSE Airtricity League in recent seasons. It is also significant that two of the leading clubs in Ireland at present – Dundalk and Cork City – boost numerous FAI ETB course graduates in their ranks.

Other course graduates including Kevin Long (Burnley), Chris Forrester (Peterborough), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan (Preston North End) have carved out full time professional football careers in the UK. Indeed both Boyle and Horgan made their full senior international debuts against Iceland in March 2017 and have acknowledged the opportunity provided by the FAI / ETB Player Development courses as significant. Burnley’s Kevin Long who graduated from the course in Cork was a starter in the Republic’s senior team recently in the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Austria.

Both Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle were glad to lend their support to promoting the benefits of the courses recently.

The opportunity to train full time in Milebush Park in Mayo was fantastic. The coaches gave us a great insight into being a full time footballer and both of us never looked back,” said Daryl Horgan.

“It was a year to savour and never to be forgotten. It prepared us for professional football and the education was a great back up. We’re reaping the rewards now,” said Andy Boyle.

The courses are headed up by FAI Coordinators with UEFA A and UEFA Pro License qualifications and who have come from a professional football background. So, young players will have access to top class training in state of the art facilities and sound career advice if becoming a professional footballer is their ambition. Of course not everyone will make the grade to a pro player – but the course will help players to find their level and hopefully continue to enjoy the game.

As part of the academic side of the programme, learners will complete a QQI Level 5 in Sport & Recreation studies plus an ITEC Gym Instructors Diploma, Pool Lifeguard and FAI Coaching Certificates. In the last number of years the CAO points accumulated on this programme (there are 400 points available) has allowed numerous learners to progress to Third Level Institutions in Ireland and the U.K. Course graduates have continued to add to their educational development in a variety of degree courses in the Institutes of Technology in Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Carlow where sports themed degree courses are very popular choices.

If you’re a young player looking to achieve your potential, you can apply now for the 2017-18 FAI / ETB Player Development courses by visiting