Readers of this blog will know that we are big supporters of the work done by the Iceland FA in player development and coach education.
Iceland ( population 300,000) qualified for the ( 8 team ) finals of the Women’s Euros in 2009 and the Men’s Under 21’s in 2011 and last week confirmed the effectiveness of their programmes by qualifying for this year’s ( men’s) Under 17 Championship in Slovenia
With only 7 places available from the 50 + nations in UEFA Iceland qualified by finishing above Denmark, Sotland and Lithuania in their group.
So Iceland make the last 8 of the tournament – whilst other nations with more players to choose from – e.g.Italy,Russia,Portugal,Sweden,Ukraine,Turkey,- and former winners of the tournament –e.g.Spain,Switzerland,and England failed to do so
Readers may be interested in the presentations and note some of the features of Iceland’s success in developing players - there are over 50 Icelandic players playing as professional leagues in Scandinavia, Germany, Holland and the UK –from a difficult climate and a population of 300,000
Key issues would indicate the following:
- Shortest playing season in Europe – so low number of games
- Longest ‘close’ season in Europe – but with a great attitude to practice
- Mandatory Coach Qualification in place to ensure only qualified coaches may coach teams
- 1st Class Coach Education Programme with initial and refresher courses provided ( The Icelandic FA also promote the LMA School of Football Management Courses as options to retain UEFA qualifications)
We have previously highlighted the great strides made in Iceland (http://sportspath.typepad.com/sports-path-e-learning-bl/2011/07/case-study-iceland.html)
Another article here from Canada extolling their virtues http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Success+comes+from+Infrastructure/5574001/story.html