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The Next Generation Sports Academy: Prioritising soft skills for youth development

The Next Generation Sports (TNGS) are a sports consulting company and international football academy that specialise in developing young talents across the world in a high-performance environment.

Participants who have attended TNGS camps have been selected for clubs such as West Ham United in the Premier League, Villarreal in La Liga and Toronto FC in the MLS. Alongside this, players have also been chosen for the England and United States National Teams.

Based in Valencia, the company has developed athletes and coaches over the last 10 years in territories such as Sweden, USA, South Korea, Japan, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Bermuda Islands and many more using their own methodology.

This methodology includes a strong emphasis on educating young talent on abilities that will make them an important player in a team and also on an individual basis.

Improving the ‘soft skills’ of young players, such as creativity, leadership, adaptability, problem-solving and decision making is prioritised across the board by coaches at the academy.

Using an example according to the TNGS website, the creativity of players is tested through various technical, tactical and psychosocial exercises to challenge and prepare them to resolve situations in-game and improve their overall game intelligence.

Decision making is encouraged through visual coaching strategies which are implemented through the use of modern learning tools, to help youngsters immediately understand and learn how to read and interpret proposals to make appropriate decisions.

Adaptability, which is a key factor between being a successful player or not, is encouraged and drummed into players in a tactical sense, so they are aware of when and how to put a certain tactic into practice.

The Academy was forced to be adaptable itself in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and change the way in which they connected and worked with players.

Coaches were not only concerned about players’ physical wellbeing but also their mental skills when it came to self-motivation, discipline and dedication.

In response to dealing with this predicament, through the use of technology, TNGS created innovative NG Virtual Camps. This was a concept that blended sports training exercises and soft skills exercises for new talent to overcome during the challenging period.

Players would conduct weekly sessions, with the TNGS coaches providing youngsters with guidelines through personalised Zoom calls.

TNGS coaches have worked in top clubs all over Europe and have obtained their UEFA Pro Licences. Some of the academy’s coaches work at La Liga clubs Levante UD and Villarreal CF, with others having played at Valencia and Real Madrid.

These aspects make them specialised in high performance training and talent development, with their video calls for the online camp focusing on the following three areas:

  • Soft skills sessions: Organising exercises and providing knowledge on how to develop the mental abilities of players so that they are able to reach their maximum potential in this area
  • Technical sessions: Teaching the concepts of the sport which have defined Spanish football over its history
  • On the field: Initiate team activities that develop challenges so coaches are able to evaluate factors such as creativity, empathetic communication, cooperation and much more.

These sessions, that were completed in the virtual camp, were a perfect scenario to educate young players on a variety of matters, including tactical concepts, game intelligence and technical and physical aspects in multiple situations during a game.

“The TNGS virtual camp was an amazing experience for me. It was informative, well organised…it was not only about football, it was about mentality, how to be a good person, things that are crucial in life, success, and school,” a student of the program explained after experiencing the opportunity with other players of various cultures.

A list of other details from the TNGS website on their methodology for teaching players can be found below:

  • Individualized training to strengthen the player’s effective and quick responses based on the tactical principles of the game.
  • Application of Visual Coaching strategies for reading, understanding and decision making in the field.
  • Match and training analysis to improve self-knowledge and self-confidence.
  • Creation of a profile and individual technical report that is reviewed monthly.
  • Specific plans for preparatory periods, holidays and free time that complement the role of the player
  • Establishment of weekly objectives for the development of self-determination and task orientation.
  • Cater for all specific needs: Physiotherapy, Sports Psychology, Nutrition.

For more information about TNGS click here.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Sky Sports extends rights to NIFL

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of Football in the region once again.

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will once again be the exclusive broadcaster of top-flight football in the region for the next three years.

The Irish League has had a long-lasting partnership with Sky over the years and the agreement will see the relationship in place until the end of the 2024/25 season.

The new agreement will see four Danske Bank Premiership fixtures and the BetMcLean League Cup final broadcast live across the UK & Ireland each season.

Northern Ireland Football Chief Executive, Gerard Lawlor:

“We sincerely thank Sky Sports for their continued backing of our game and we look forward to showcasing some of the best NI Football League matches together over the next three seasons,” he said.

“To continue to have the invaluable support of such a high-profile broadcaster shows how far our league has progressed in recent years as we bring our game to an increasing audience of loyal fans.

“The NI Football League brand is continuing to grow outside of the confines of Northern Ireland, and through Sky Sports, many football fans are now becoming more familiar with the rich history of our clubs and as well as some of the household names that have played in the Irish League.”

Sky Sports Director of Football, Gary Hughes:

“As a long-term partner to the Northern Ireland Football League, we’re delighted to extend Sky Sports’ support of the league and ensure that its entertaining action continues to be available to our customers,” he said.

“Sky Sports customers will be able to enjoy the Northern Ireland Football league alongside our ever-expanding football offering in the UK & Ireland which includes over 500 live games in 2022, from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and FA Women’s Super League as well as international action in the form of World Cup Qualifiers, and this month’s Africa Cup of Nations – placing Sky Sports as the home of live football.”

Valencia CF presents revised stadium upgrade plans

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia’s stadium, the Nuevo Mestalla, was originally under construction in 2009. However, over the last 12 years, due to financial issues and negotiation breakdowns, construction has never been completed and the situation has become known as one of the world’s most notorious stadium projects.

Murthy presented revised plans to a Council delegation led by Ribó, with the club seeking to recommence work on the stadium in order to ensure it retains the advantages granted to it under an ATE construction license given in 2012.

The plans presented to the council include a stadium capacity between 43,000 to 46,000, expandable to 60,000. The stadium would have a second ring dedicated almost exclusively to leisure and restaurant offerings, while the roof will be fitted with solar panels in an effort to drive sustainability.

Valencia Mayor, Joan Ribo:

“Initially it is proposed for a capacity comparable to that which the (Mestalla) stadium currently has (48,500), but expandable to 62,000 spectators. But I think this is not the fundamental element,” he said.

“The fundamental element is the novelty of this second ring that has seemed to me to be a remarkable element that is not in many football stadia. They propose a roof that is made of photovoltaic panels, which is an example at that level that I want to value.

“They have assured us that they have guarantees with the bank where they have the debt, which is now Caixabank.

“They have presented us with a calendar where in June 2022 the works of the sports centre would begin, in October 2022 the start of the works of the stadium and in August 2024 the inauguration of the new Mestalla. The calendar seems realistic and possible, but if it is not met, they will listen to us.”

In December, Valencia revealed plans to use funds from LaLiga’s strategic venture, with global investment fund CVC Capital Partners to help finance the construction of its new stadium. Valencia is reportedly set to receive approximately $189 million AUD from LaLiga as part of the LaLiga Impulso venture. $125 million of which is set to head to the stadium project.

Valencia CF President, Anil Murthy:

“The meeting has been very positive. After the two meetings with the Generalitat, today we have taken an important step by formally presenting the project we have to the important institution, which is the City Council,” he said.

“We have agreed on recommencing work as soon as possible, after presenting the project to the Generalitat and the City Council.

“Nobody talks about a low-cost stadium. It’s going to be a stadium that’s going to give a lot of people a lot of hope and it’s going to mean a lot of investment in the city. It’s going to be something different and something attractive.”

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