This is the next big milestone for team GB and with an excellent response to invites around 140 adult and junior players are expected to attend.
All players have been issued player packs, sharing valuable information about what will happen on the day, what preparation they need to do and what’s expected of them.
For both the Junior and Adult GB programmes, the invitational camps aren’t about winning a one day tournament; they’re about building a lasting and sustainable programme.
For Junior Head Coach Damian Anderson the key thing is developing the players involved and supporting the adult team with a pipeline of talented athletes who can continue their junior success into the senior programme. “It was something I did and I want others to achieve,” he explained. “The coming camps will look to start the education of our players by not only installing a playbook but providing an education in how you achieve your sporting goals with information on nutrition, training programs and a overall insight of football tactics. In turn we expect the players to give us 100% commitment to not only the camps but to each and every play.”
The next step for the junior programme after this, and the further two camps in May and August, will be for players to make the travelling squad for the European tournament taking place from 7-9 September in Italy.
“The travelling squad should be every junior player’s short term goal, “says Damian. “To compete in Europe it's not enough to be a good player, you have to be willing to play 100% football on every down.”
For Adult Head Coach Mike Callan, there may be a longer period of time before European competition but the overall aims are just the same. “As Damian has said, we’re not just trying to win a one-off but rather create and build the programme. For our adult programme, the invitational camps are an opportunity to assess the players in a much smaller setting than at the open trials – we’ll be able to evaluate players better. We’re going to use the invitationals to install our playbooks and also to create a culture of what’s expected of a Great British player. It’s important to show that in order to compete at the highest levels in Europe it’s not only about the X's and O's – it’s about how you prepare on and off the field and committing to making the step from being a good player to a great player.”
And although there’s already a great pool of talent for the GB coaching team to work with, they’ll be continuing the search for potential players at both junior and adult level. “It’s an ongoing process in which players will be brought in throughout the season as we are able to do more scouting and evaluation and look at film,” explained Mike. “This includes players that may have previously trialled for the Great Britain programme. We want to make sure that we are always looking to build the programme.”
For both junior and adult the assessment process will be continual too, with progress monitored both at the camps and outside it. “The coaches have already started scouting games and reporting on not only players we may have missed at trials but on players we selected. They're not only being judged by what they do on the field at these camps, but all information out there.” confirmed Damian.
Look out for further updates from the National Programme coaches and players following the first camp. Further invitational camps will take place on 19 May and 17 August.