How can iceland produce so many professional players sept 2010

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Talent Development in one of Europe's smallest countries with a population of 320,000 who have qualified as one of 8 countries for the 2011 UEFA Under 21 Championship beating Scotland at home and away …

Talent Development in one of Europe's smallest countries with a population of 320,000 who have qualified as one of 8 countries for the 2011 UEFA Under 21 Championship beating Scotland at home and away in the play-offs.France,Germany,Holland,Russia,Portugal and 42 other countries did not qualify but Icleand did- why ?

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  • 1. Icelandic Football, the development of Icelandic players and coach education in Iceland Siggi Eyjolfsson Technical director at the The Football Association of IcelandIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 2. Icelandic football - facts and figures • Population of Iceland: 319.368 • Registered players: 19.220 (6,01%) • Number of clubs: 90 • Number of teams: 816 • Number of coaches: 575 • Number of professional players playing abroad: 66 • Semi-professional premier leagueIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 3. Icelandic premier league 2010 1. ÍBV 2. Breidablik 3. FH 4. KR 5. Fram 6. Valur 7. Stjarnan 8. Keflavík 9. Grindavík 10. Fylkir 11. Selfoss 12. HaukarIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 4. Sam Allardyce quote "When you consider the fact that the population of Iceland is similar to the population of Bolton, it becomes astonishing how many good footballers come from Iceland. Icelandic players are playing all across Europe." Morgunbladid, May 8th, 2003Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 5. Male statistics Sources: The Football Associations and Nordic Statistical Yearbook 2009 (population jan 1st 2009) Country: Denmark Finland Norway Sweden Iceland Faroe Islands Total 5.511.451 5.326.314 4.799.252 9.256.347 319.368 48.778 population # of men at 1.024.687 987.067 945.115 1.729.164 71.531 10.488 age 5-34 # of men 249.938 90.218 257.415 365.226 13.087 2.290 players registered % of all 24.4% 9.1% 27.2% 21.1% 18.3% 21.8% men age 5- 34 playing footballIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 6. Female statistics Sources: The Football Associations and Nordic Statistical Yearbook 2009 (population jan 1st 2009) Country: Denmark Finland Norway Sweden Iceland Faroe Islands Total 5.511.451 5.326.314 4.799.252 9.256.347 319.368 48.778 population # of women 991.291 942.201 905.016 1.646.125 67.449 9.178 at age 5-34 # of women 63.736 25.050 106.418 166.319 6.133 950 players registered % of all 6.4% 2.7% 11.8% 10.1% 9.1% 10.4% women age 5-34 playing footballIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 7. Teitur Thordarson, ex head coach KR, Lyn, Brann, Lilleström, Estonia... "What surprised me the most when I came to Iceland was how many young players you have with great potential. The country is crowded with them and it can´t be explained except through the tremendous interest the nation has for football." (Frettabladid, Nov, 5th 2006)Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 8. Teitur Thordarson continued... "It does not matter how many people live in Iceland, you don´t need a nation of 20 million people to make good football players. Iceland has developed surprisingly many good players in the past and it has drawn attention" (Frettabladid, Nov, 5th 2006)Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 9. Teitur Thordarson quote "It is the dream of every Icelandic football player to become a professional player abroad, and the dream carries them on. The Icelandic boys have a different attitude from the boys abroad. They are willing to work harder to succeed" (Frettabladid, Nov, 5th 2006)Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 10. Henning Berg, Head coach, Lyn Football Club, Norwegian Premier League "The mental attitude is the first thing you notice in Icelandic players. They are always giving their best effort, they work hard in training and they are mentally strong. They handle the pressure and act as true professionals" (Morgunbladid, Nov 5th 2007)Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 11. Henning Berg, Head coach, Lyn Football Club, Norwegian Premier League "Icelandic players are interesting because they are good players. They have had good basic training and are willing to work hard to succeed. The mental attitude is what makes them interesting" (Morgunbladid, Nov 5th 2007)Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 12. Steve Coppell - Manager of Reading F.C. on his Icelandic player Brynjar Gunnarsson... “The most important people at this club aren’t the players who play regularly, but those who are waiting for their chance and remain 100% supportive, ready for action whenever called upon. Brynjar Gunnarsson, showed at Stamford Bridge how important the right mentality is. He played a full and important part in our performance, and because of his dedication to his craft, he was ready to play and didn’t need any significant time to get up to speed. He typifies professionalism at our club.” Steve Coppell – RFC Matchday Programme – v West Ham 01/01/07Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 13. What is so special about Iceland? • Long pre-season (7 months) • Short football season (May 10th - September 30th). • The Icelandic professional players playing today grew up in poor football conditions/facilities. • We have players that are willing to train very hard without much financial gain • High level of coach educationIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 14. Our professional players playing abroad: • Who are they and where are they playing?Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 15. Icelanders who are playing professionally in Denmark • Arnor Smarason, Esbjerg • Stefan Gislason, Bröndby • Rurik Gislason, OB • Sölvi Geir Ottesen, FC Köbenhavn • Aron Johannsson, AGF Århus • Arnar Darri Petursson, SönderjyskE • Olafur Ingi Skulason, SönderjyskEIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 16. Icelandic professionals in England Eidur Gudjohnsen, Stoke Hermann Hreidarsson, Portsmouth Heidar Helguson, QPR Ivar Ingimarsson, Reading Brynjar Gunnarsson, Reading Kari Arnason, Plymouth Johannes Gudjonsson, Huddersfield Aron Einar Gunnarsson, Coventry Gretar Rafn Steinsson, Bolton Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, West Ham Gudlaugur V. Palsson, Liverpool Armann Smari Bjornsson, HartlepoolIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 17. In Belgium • Bjarni Thor Vidarsson, Mechelen • Arnar Thor Vidarsson, Cercle BruggeIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 18. In NorwayArni Gautur Arason, Odd GrenlandIndridi Sigurdsson, VikingBirkir Bjarnason, VikingKristjan Orn Sigurdsson, HönefossGardar Johannsson, StrömsgodsetPalmi Rafn Palmason, StabækBjarni Olafur Eiriksson, StabækVeigar Pall Gunnarsson, StabækGylfi Einarsson, BrannBirkir Mar Sævarsson, BrannStefan Logi Magnusson, LilleströmBjörn Bergmann Sigurdarson, LilleströmGunnar Heidar Thorvaldsson, FrederiksstadIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 19. In Sweden Jonas Gudni Sævarsson, Halmstad Theodór Elmar Bjarnason, IFK Göteborg Ragnar Sigurdsson, IFK Göteborg Hjalmar Jonsson, IFK Göteborg Helgi Valur Daníelsson, AIK Eyjolfur Hedinsson, GAIS Gudjon Baldvinsson, GAIS Gudmundur Reynir Gunnarssom GAIS Hallgrimur Jonasson, GAIS Gunnar Thor Gunnarsson, Norrköping Ari Freyr Skulason, GIF Sundsvall Hannes Sigurdsson, GIF Sundsvall David Thor Vidarsson, ÖsterIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 20. In Netherlands Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, AZ Alkmaar Johann Berg Gudmundsson, AZ Alkmaar Bjorn Jonsson, Heerenveen (youth)Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 21. In Scotland Eggert Jonsson, HeartsIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 22. In Germany • Gylfi Thor Sigurdsson, HoffenheimIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 23. In Italy • Emil Hallfredsson, Hellas VeronaIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 24. The characteristics of the typical Icelandic professional player • Works hard • Listens to the coach • Adjusts well • Learns the language • Has leadership qualities • In surprisingly many cases he becomes the captain of his clubIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 25. Icelandic professional players who have been captains at their clubs • Arnar Thor Vidarssson, Lokeren, Belgium • Eidur Gudjohnsen, Chelsea, England • Asgeir Sigurvinsson, VFB Stuttgart, Germany • Gudni Bergsson, Bolton, England • Hermann Hreidarsson, Charlton, England • Ivar Ingimarsson, Reading, England • Runar Kristinsson, Lokeren, Belgium • Eyjolfur Sverrisson, Hertha Berlin, Germany • Janus Gudlaugsson, F.C. Köln, Germany • Sigurdur Gretarsson, Grasshoppers, Switzerland • Petur Marteinsson, Hammarby, Sweden • Larus Orri Sigurdsson, Stoke City, England • Haraldur Gudmundsson, Aalesund, Norway • Stefan Gislason, Lyn, Norway and Bröndby, DenmarkIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 26. A few possible reasons why Iceland produces so many professional players... • Icelandic players cost less in • The level of coach education many cases is very high • Solid athletic background • A great number of our from young age coaches at all age groups are • The nation as a whole works physical education teachers very hard with football background • Football is the number 1 sport • Open door policy at all clubs in Iceland. Football culture. for all age groups except the • Qualified, paid football first team coaches, coach the kids from • Everybody can play for their age 5-6 and up. favourite team!Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 27. Number of training sessions for the typical Icelandic player • 6-10 year olds = 2-3x per week • 10-14 year olds = 3-4x per week • 14-18 year olds = 4-6x per week • Adults = 5-8 times per week Additional training: • We have educated physical education teachers teaching sports at school 2x per week (age 6-19) • All children must learn how to swim 1x per week (age 6-17)Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 28. Home fan support for the Icelandic women´s national team: Qualifiers for World Cup 2007: Qualifiers for EURO 2009: • Iceland-Belarus 739 • Iceland-France 1.667 • Iceland-Portugal 1.429 • Iceland-Serbia 5.976 • Iceland-Czech Republic 1.423 • Iceland-Slovenia 3.922 • Iceland-Sweden 675 • Iceland-Greece 5.323 • Iceland-Rep.of Ireland 4.729 Total: 4.266 fans Total: 21.617 fans Average 1.067 fans/game Average: 4.323 fans/gameIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 29. Milestones in women´s football • A-national team participated in EURO 2009 in Finland • U-19 national team participated in the EURO 2009 in Belarus • TV rights were sold for the first time in 2009 for the women´s top league and the women´s national teamIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 30. An interesting point! • "All the best players from Iceland through the years have come through the clubs in the countryside" Ásgeir Sigurvinsson, Iceland´s A-national team head coach, radio interview, Iceland, 2005Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 31. A case study - ÍA Akranes Football ClubIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 32. A case study - ÍA Akranes Football Club • Akranes is a small town with population of 6.609. • 1.573 men are football age (5-34) • Have competed in the premier league for 59 years out of the last 63. • 18 times Icelandic champions • 9 times Cup winnersIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 33. Players who have come straight from ÍA Akranes and turned professional abroad (31 players in 33 years) 1976 Matthias Hallgrimsson, Halmia 1996 Stefan Thor Thordarson, Öster 1977 Teitur Thordarson, Jönköbing 1996 Haraldur Ingolfsson, Aberdeen 1978 Karl Thordarson, La Louviere 1997 Bjarni Gudjonsson, Newcastle 1997 Arnar Gunnlaugsson, Bolton, 1978 Petur Petursson, Feyenoord 1997 Haraldur Ingolfsson, Elfsborg 1980 Sveinbjorn Hakonarson, Grimsas 1998 Gunnlaugur Jonsson, Örebro 1984 Sigurdur Jonsson, Sheffield 1998 Johannes Karl Gudjonsson, Genk Wednesday 1998 Steinar Adolfsson, Kongsvinger 1985 Bjarni Sigurðsson, Brann, 1998 Thordur Thordarson, Norrköping 1985 Gudbjorn Tryggvason Start 1999 Siggi Eyjolfsson, Walsall, 1988 Olafur Thordarson, Brann 1999 Stefán Thor Thordarson, Ürdingen 1990 Adalsteinn Viglundsson B1909 2000 Johannes Hardarson, Groningen 1992 Arnar Gunnlaugsson Feyenoord 2004 Julian Johnson, B68, 1992 Bjarki Gunnlaugsson Feyenoord 2005 Gretar Rafn Steinsson, Young Boys 2005 Stefán Thor Thordarson, Norrköping 1993 Þórður Guðjónsson Bochum 2009 Björn Bergmann, Lilleström, 1995 Arnar Gunnlaugsson, Sochaux 1996 Bjarki Gunnlaugsson, Mannheim,Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 34. ÍA Akranes • No club has produced • In 1993 Icelandic more leading goalscorers champion ÍA Akranes in the Icelandic premier beat Dutch champions league (26 times) Feyenoord in Iceland 1-0. • Typically 90-95% of ÍA´s • ÍA Akranes had 8 squad are players born homegrown players in and raised in Akranes the starting lineup. • The club also typically • 6 of them went on to play has one of the best youth professionally. teams (16-18 year olds)Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 35. How is this possible for such a small town? • Football tradition, football culture • Great work ethic • Support for football from local authorities • Hardly any room for other sports • Young players have always been given a chance to play for the first team • Professional players from the town become role models and the cycle continues • Like father like son...Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 36. Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 37. ÍA Akranes training groundIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 38. ÍA Akranes- Full size indoor football hallIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 39. ÍA Akranes - football stadiumIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 40. A case study Grindavík´s football facilities • Grindavík - Premier league team in Iceland. • Total population in the town of Grindavík: 2.850 • Stadium seating capacity: 1.750 • They also have a 60x80m indoor football field (artificial grass).Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 41. To create good players you need good coaches To create good coaches you need good coach education So what is the status of our coach education?Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 42. Coach education in Iceland 2006 The study • B.S. thesis in exercise and sport science from Kennaraháskóli Íslands – Íþróttafræðisetur, Laugarvatn, Iceland (Sports University). • Authors: Jon Thorsteinsson and Rikhard Snorrason. • How did they do it?... • Every single coach was included. We wanted 100% accurate results.Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 43. Coach education in Iceland 2006 The results • There were 575 football coaches coaching in Iceland for the 2006-2007 season • These 575 coaches were coaching at 90 clubs and were in charge of 816 teams. • 83.5% of the coaches were males, 16.5% females.Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 44. Coach education in Iceland 2006 The results • 41.4% of the coaches had the UEFA B coaching licence or more coach education than that! • 17% of the coaches had the UEFA A coaching licence or more coach education than that. • 20.1% of the coaches had no coach education at all - however... • We now have personal information in our database for every single coach who was coaching in Iceland in 2006-2007. • That means: Full name, identification number, full address, name of club, what age group he/she was coaching, E-mail address, and mobile number (GSM).Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 45. Practical implications • We can now send e-mails to every active coach in Iceland. Very useful for coaching courses and other information we need to get to them. • We now have statistical information on the coaching profession, e.g. how many, how old, male/female ratio, level of education at all levels and age groups etc.Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 46. Practical implications • Our old coach education requirements were largely fulfilled. It was time to set new requirements for coach education. Enables us to set new goals... • Will we get 50% of our coaches with the UEFA B licence? • Is it possible to have every single coach in Iceland complete the UEFA B licence?Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 47. How do we produce players...? Here are some important steps we have taken in improving Iceland´s player development...Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 48. Coach education: Number of coaches attending our coach education courses 2000-2009 700 600 500 400 KSÍ I - VII courses 300 All KSÍ courses 200 100 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 49. We have made coach education mandatory • We have made coach education mandatory in the top two leagues for all coaches who are coaching men´s teams (club licencing). • We recommend the same coach education requirements for coaches in the women´s game.Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 50. Our current professionals grew up in poor football conditions... January 2000: • A total of only 5 artificial grass pitches existed, no football hall, and 6-7 mini pitches in the whole country. January 2002: • Still only 5 artificial grass pitches, 1 football hall and 7-8 mini pitches in the whole country. Today: • We have 17 artificial grass pitches, 7 football halls and 130 mini pitches. We also have 1 half size football hall, and a few half size football halls are planned to be built!Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 51. Facilities: Much better facilities for playing football! • 6 full size indoor football fields built since the year 2002. • The facilities are used by all age groups.Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 52. Facilities: 17 astroturf pitches all around IcelandIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 53. Facilities: 111 mini-pitches built all around Iceland, since 2004Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 54. Built on schoolgrounds to promote interestIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 55. Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 56. How we are working on player development... • Clubs have recently started to focus more on developing their talented players • Establishment of Football Academies - links with schools • We have prolonged the football season by playing the league cup inside the football halls. • Clubs have started to employ head coaches and goalkeeper coachesIcelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 57. We have + and - • We have better educated • Children don´t exercise as coaches much? • We offer more coaching • Street football has decreased courses than ever before • Some of our clubs are too • We have much better crowded facilities than before • Too young assistant • We have more football coaches? players than ever before • Too many players per coach? • Coaching is a profession at • Not enough emphasis on all levels in Iceland, it puts a developing the best players? higher standard on the coaching.Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 58. The new generation – Gylfi Sigurdsson and our U-21 national team?Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson
  • 59. Thank you for your attention! Siggi Eyjolfsson • Technical director/coach education director at The Football Association of Iceland • Women´s national team head coach • English F.A. Pro licence coach • B.Sc. Exercise and Sport Science • M.Sc. Exercise and Sport Psychology • siggi@ksi.is • Tel:(354)-848-8040Icelandic football – Siggi Eyjolfsson