For the last two years 1. FC Köln - in co-operation with the South Korean agency, G.K Football Exchange - have offered an exciting opportunity to young players from South Korea. They have the chance to train under professional conditions in Köln for a time frame of between three to 12 months. In the future, youngsters from Japan and North American will also have the opportunity to take part in the programme. As part of that, the FC Football School has signed two further partnerships. Soccerlife is active in Japan above all, while the Football Total agency will concentrate on the USA.
The International Talent Programme takes in five training session a week, performance tests and friendly against local opponents. The partners organise the travel, accomodation as well as language classes. Through the partnerhsips, the young people can develop their footballng schools and showcase their talent in front of the coaches and scouts at FC. That is how some of the participants in the programme are able to train with the FC youth teams. After two talents made it onto the pitch with the under-19s, there was recently a player on trial with the under-21s.
FC Managing Director, Alexander Wehrle said: "The programme is a nice example that football is a universal language. Since 2018, we have made it possible for ambitious South Korean footballers to train under the supervision of qualified coaches in Germany. We are pleased to be able to extend the FC Football School programme to Japan and North America. Through this, we don't just come into contact with foreign talents but at the same time promote the international awareness of FC."
Training in Düsseldorf
Since the beginning of September, 60 Japanese children and young people between the age of six and 11 have taken part in training in Düsseldorf. Under the instruction of coaches from the FC Football School, there is basic weekly football training, for dribbling, passing or ball control. The coaches are being supported by translators. The project is for the long-term and is intended to promote internationalisation and intensify the relationship with the Japanese community.
"Even when only a few children speak German and a full understanding is only possible through a translator, they also come smiling to training. We are sure that we will be able to convey our idea of football and fun in this sport," said Simon Scheibe, sporting director of the 1. FC Köln Football School.