From our academy to the national team

It  seems  unlikely  as  you  sip  a  latte  on  the  banks  of  Loch Ness,  but  this  hasn’t  always  been  the easiest  part  of  the  world  to  recruit  people  to.  That counts  for  luring  footballers  hundreds  of miles  north,  too. Here,  weve  seen  beyond  that,  investing  time  and  money  in  what  is around us,  identifying  and  growing  local  talent.  We know our  Academy  has  been  effective as the recent  Scotland  squad  contained  three  ICT  graduates,  our  gifts  to  the  nation!

From  the  age  of  eight-years-old,  talented  young  people  from  the  region  are  given  a  chance  to  develop  their  footballing  skills,  general  fitness  and  be  part  of something  bigger – a  community  clad  in  blue  and  red. Our  Youth  Department  has  created  a  pathway  from  children’s  games  to  first-team  debuts:  Ryan Christie, Liam  Polworth  Graeme  Shinnie, and Nick Ross are  all  recent  graduates. Squads  from  Under  8s  to  Under  18s  compete  across  Scotland  and  beyond.  In  recent  seasons, international  trophies  have  been  brought  back  to  IV1 – the  Iber  Cups  of  Lisbon  and Barcelona, and  the  Dublin  Cup.

Development  goes  beyond  the  pitch.  While  technical,  physical and  mental  training  is  key,  so too  is  lifestyle  awareness.  This  helps  to  spread  later  opportunities  among  those of the  136  young  players  currently  on  our  books  who  dont  make  it  as  professionals. All  of  which  helps  towards  creating  a  sustainable,  self-sufficient  club  that  belongs  to  the  city and  area  beyond.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC – Youth Development

Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC is one of the most geographically challenged full-time clubs in Scotland; thus it is imperative that we harness whatever football talent is available in the North.

The aim of Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC’s Youth Department is to progress each year through the development of the Club’s youth coaches thus then progressing the abilities and fitness of all our young players.  Furthermore to offer the talented young football players in the Highlands the long awaited opportunity to become a full-time professional player at their home club. 

The Youth Department realises the need to have a pathway from as young as eight years old through to the first team squad and in the past few seasons numerous players such as Nick Ross, Graeme Shinnie, Ryan Christie and Liam Polworth have realised that goal which is a massive step forward for the Club and the Youth Department. It was also fantastic for the Youth Department to see Ryan and Graeme both gain full international honours with the full Scotland national team.

Our Development squads travel and compete regularly throughout the country against other SPFL sides and with ages ranging from Under 8’s up to and including Under 18’s the opportunity to develop and perform at the highest level is now a reality. The squads containing 136 players are coached three times weekly at top quality training facilities by 26 SFA qualified and experienced coaches and support staff who have aims and objectives to deliver a professional and comprehensive coaching structure.

Various squads over the years have attended numerous tournaments all over Europe competing against top quality opposition such as Sporting Lisbon, Chivas Guadalajara and Ausburg.  Bringing home various trophies such as the Iber Cup Lisbon, Iber Cup Barcelona, The Dublin Cup and the Northern Counties trophy.

Throughout their time at the Club each player will cover aspects of technical, tactical, physical & movement, mental skills and lifestyle management in each age specific category by the time they have reached the opportunity to be selected for a full-time contract. The vision for the future is simple; Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC will never be able to purchase a first team squad and therefore the development of our own youngsters is a must.  It is hoped that in future seasons the Club will reap the rewards of the work being undertaken at youth level and that a far higher percentage of the first team squad will be supplied from the youth system.