Why maltese youth players are not moving abroad?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 15:00

by Gordon Attard Editor & Owner MalteseFootballStarlets.com.

It has always been a problem… Maltese youth players are stuck on the island. What’s keeping them in here?

With just 4 senior international Maltese players that play their trade abroad and a couple from the U17s and U19s, Malta certainly lacks quantity. Malta’s performances in the last decade weren’t to the level that the locals would appreciate to see. We all know our limitations as a small island but can we expect some progress from our national teams especially from the youth’s level to build up for the senior’s side in the coming future?

With 49 nurseries officially functioning on the island, we believe that it is time to step up the level in developing more quality young players to succeed in this sport. Talent is everywhere but we must be honest with ourselves, that it is not being cultivated enough in our country. Financial problems will always be there, but what should the local football nurseries do to help our kids tackle this problem?

An important thing that helps in getting Maltese kids exposed to Foreign Academy Scouts would be affiliates. A nursery should be affiliated with 2/3 European academies e.g from Holland, Germany (one of the best youth development systems) and Belgium. They will work together as a team so both the local nursery (coaches etc…) and their young players will develop better. Thanks to these affiliate measures the local football nursery could improve drastically in many aspects of the game, technical and development. Considering that Foreign Academies are always looking for raw talent around the globe especially for 15/16 year olds, they will arrange and organize training sessions, coaching courses and mental training  together with the local nursery as their intention is to spot the talent which eventually they can sign. As a small country we have to collaborate with the ones that are having success from their youth systems. A big example is Germany from which their youth system produces top quality players every year.

Are maltese young players willing at all to move abroad ?

Are maltese young players willing at all to move abroad ?

Why Maltese young players find it hard to start a career abroad? I found out at least 5 things that a local youth player certainly lacks in.

1. Study/Career - Kids in Malta are brainwashed to focus more on their studies than on their self development (studying is important do not get me wrong) but if they have talent in football let them develop and grow in a more professional manner to make a career in football. In a foreign professional academy (not necessary English or Italian Academy) they will have to study as they attend school but the main focus will be training and developing in every aspect of the game.

2. Commitment - Nowadays with many temptations around, young kids are easily tempted to not commit enough to get what they want in the future.  I saw many kids with raw talent that could have made a career in football even abroad but because they weren’t committed enough and were guided badly they quit the game. If the kid is committed to succeed in his passion in this case football, their parents and their nursery coaches should work together to help them reach their potential in this sport.

3. Hunger - Are the local kids hungry enough to go and play abroad? It is easy to say that I want to play abroad when I grow up. But it is not the case. Do the local nursery coaches mentor our kids to make goals in their lives and teach them how to achieve them? I doubt it. You watch and hear stories of top footballers that in their tender age had hunger in their eyes although with certain difficulties but they knew what they want… to play professional football. That was their goal!

4. Uncontrolled Entertainment - We all heard that till 15/16 years of age Maltese youth players can compete against foreign teams especially in top youth tournaments when they win tournaments with flying colours. But what is happening next? The kid will turn to a teenager, which is the rebellion stage. He changes school, goes to college, girl friends, parties, alcohol, hangovers, late nights out and so on and so forth. I am not saying that having fun is prohibited especially at this stage but I thing with a bit of moderation, things can be changed so the teenager will learn how to be responsible. A 15/16 year old teenager have to be monitored and discipline is a must for that age, especially if he has a match the next day and he is out partying. If the teenager is serious to get signed by a professional foreign academy, he have to make sacrifices and responsible even at that young age. How can he live and settling abroad, if he doesn’t know how to be responsible and disciplined for his actions. Few are those who fights for their dream.

5. Wrong Mentality - We often hear that e.g a local kid is going for a trial with an English club. But nothing materialize? I ask you guys, Are these kids being prepared mentally to face a trial in foreign soil? What’s happening next when the kid is back on the island? How’s the nursery follow up with the foreign club/academy who offered the opportunity?

I’d bet there are more other things that are becoming more of an obstacle for the Maltese youth playersto go and fight for their dream to play abroad. I believe that the local nurseries have the responsibility to help exposing their youth players especially if they are talented. Internet is a good tool to start from.

Let’s Discuss this matter in here… FOOTBALL FORUM or comment below article.





1 Comment

  1. footie fan says:

    lack of player agents.  Having the right player agents with the right connection who cure the real interest of the child, then we can start to see these players moving abroad.

    Players in top academies (like Inter, Milan, Fiorentina) are chosen after loads of trials.  Most of these trialists are not invited but they just contact the club that they wish to sit for a trial.  This job has to be done by an agent for credibility.

    So more player agents or at least more professional help from Maltese clubs and we can see our boys moving away from our islands and making a name for themselves.

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