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.