The Malta FA as part of its Strategic Plan – Goal 3 and through its Develop & Grow vision, has launched two out of three Regional Hubs which will be managed by the newly constituted Inħobb il-Futbol Foundation.
The Malta FA’s mission is to continue growing and improving the game of football, working mostly on development and giving little attention to the competition results at this level of the player pathway.
This talent identification program will strengthen the player pathway from the grassroots level to the youth development. Apart from training sessions with the clubs’ academies, players between the 11-14 age range will be given the opportunity to train also regularly in one of the hubs. Boys born in 2008 have already started attending the Regional Hubs where a curriculum set by the Technical Centre will be followed. Players are expected to receive a minimum of 230 hours of coaching on a yearly basis in a professional environment.
The group of Under 14 players who have embarked on this project are coming from different clubs from across the island and were assessed during the summer months for their level of technique, insight, speed, behaviour and attitude. However apart from their technical and tactical development, the Regional Football Hubs Project, aims to ensure holistic development and with this in mind, both parents and players have regular sessions with a qualified sport nutritionist and sport psychologist to enhance player welfare through education and personal support.
The coaches working in this area are continuously monitoring the players in the clubs’ academies through numerous visits to the clubs, nation-wide scouting and through constant communication with head coaches from the clubs.
In the month of November, more football players born in 2009 and 2010, will join the Regional Football Hubs Project, which eventually will bring the total number of players making part of the project up to around 150. A third Regional Hub is also expected to run on the island of Gozo in the near future.
The Malta FA President Bjorn Vassallo, whilst highlighting the work carried out in the Regional Hubs to the Executive Board, emphasized on the importance of long term development through a sustainable pathway from the grassroots to the elite.