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The Icelandic way. Iceland Thorlakur Arnason Head of player development at the F.A. and coach of U17s national team for boys. Academy manager at IF Brommapojkarna.

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Presentation on theme: "The Icelandic way. Iceland Thorlakur Arnason Head of player development at the F.A. and coach of U17s national team for boys. Academy manager at IF Brommapojkarna."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Icelandic way

2 Iceland

3 Thorlakur Arnason Head of player development at the F.A. and coach of U17s national team for boys. Academy manager at IF Brommapojkarna from january 2015

4 Icelandic football - facts and figures Population of Iceland: Registered players: (6.2%) – Males: (68.6%) – Females: (31.4%) Number of clubs: 90 Number of coaches: 575

5 Youth team set up Under 10 year old play 5-a-side Under 12 year old play 7-a-side 13 – 19 year old play 11-a-side Football used to be a summersport in Iceland but now it is a all-year sport

6 Facilities 2014: Much better facilities for playing football! 7 full size indoor football fields built since the year half size indoor football fields. The facilities are used by all age groups, men and women.

7 Facilities: 111 mini-pitches built all around Iceland, since 2004

8 Icelandic Football Longest pre-season in the world (7 months) One of the shortest football season in the world (May 6th - September 30th). League cup played from February-May. A lot of young players get the chance to play. Very important for their progress! The older Icelandic professional players playing today grew up in poor football conditions/facilities. A younger generation is a product of the changes in Iceland in the last ten years. Facilites and better coach education.

9 Coach education – research done in % of the coaches had UEFA B coaching license or more coach education than that! 17% of the coaches had UEFA A coaching license or more coach education than that. Because of this research we have the e- mail and phone number for every coach in Iceland Every coach in Iceland is a paid, qualified coach – no volunteers. In total we have 406 coaches with UEFA B license (not all active). 45 of them are women. In total we have 185 coaches with UEFA A license (not all active). 10 of them are women.


11 Typical Icelandic coach Has two jobs. Works from and coaches in the afternoon Coaches and is also a student Really good leaders and good at setting up a team and structure Not good at individual things, details like Eastern Europe or Balkan countries.

12 Sports in Iceland Players are good athletes. Have played basketball, team handball and many other sports as kids. Have had very good teaching in swimming and physical education.

13 Clubs set up - In general All the clubs are grassroot clubs. Kids need to pay a fee every month to play football ( Euros a year) The parents get an amount of 200 Euros a year to spend on sports for their children. Most of the coaches have another job but some coaches are full time. We have a lot of volunteers, mostly parents. Parents do not coach!

14 Clubs set up-In general Kids start at the age of years old. Two age groups play together , 01-02, expect U19 with three. U x a week U-8 and U-10 3 x a week U-12, U-14 4 x a week U-16, U-19 5 x a week Games all year around

15 Clubs set up years old Very easy to connect school and football. From years old you have clubs with special practices before school or on school hours in the morning. Biggest clubs have special training through schools. Distances are very short.

16 Clubs set up years old Best players almost always get something extra. Train with older players. Train a lot with the national team. Inside the country the transfer fee is very low Start early to play in the first team

17 Clubs set up years Clubs are very independant! What they do is very different. Some structure but changes with people. Philosophy? The F.A. works with the clubs but has no control over things

18 Clubs set up years No real style of play Some play really good football and others kick the ball long. Some clubs have strong philosophy by playing good football. Others no style. Very independant and not always organized

19 F.A.Player development years Boys and girls Spotting talented players – late developers Grassroots thinking on the countryside

20 Height girls - PD Tournament Girls tallest = 178 cm Girls lowest = 145 cm Average = 164 cm Average height for women in Iceland = 167 cm

21 Height boys - PD Tournament Highest = 193 cm Lowest = 150 cm Average = 169 cm Average for men in Iceland= 181 cm

22 Weight boys - PD Tournament Heaviest = 78 kg Lightest = 38 kg Average = 55 kg

23 Birth effect - PD Tournament Girls = average July 5thBoys = average June 10th

24 Biggest question in football? Is he/she going to make it? It is sometimes not what you see, but rather what you are not seeing!

25 You need to know! Late developers Early developers Player n 1: 180 cm and 63 kilos Player n 2: 180 cm and 81 kilos

26 Talent Identification Performance v Potential HIGH Performance LOW Potential HIGH Performance AVERAGE Potential HIGH Performance HIGH Potential AVERAGE Performance LOW Potential AVERAGE Performance AVERAGE Potential AVERAGE Performance HIGH Potential LOW Performance LOW Potential LOW Performance AVERAGE Potential LOW Performance HIGH Potential Performance

27 National team set up years old  years preparation for U17 national team. Practises every other weekend from Oct – April!  10 games a year. UEFA, Nordic cup and EC  years many practises but depending on elite round. Practise games and EC. Girls train every other weekend!

28 Hotspot – Small club „Sindri“ = 2089 inhabitants

29 Players abroad 20 years and older Norway - 19 Sweden - 14 Denmark - 6 England - 5 Italy - 3 Holland - 3 Russia - 2 Spain,Belgium,Scotland

30 Players abroad 19 years and younger Denmark - 8 England - 6 Holland - 5 Sweden - 3 Norway - 2

31 Henning Berg coach at Legia Warsaw „Icelandic players have good basic training and are willing to work hard to succeed. The mental attitude is what makes them interesting.“

32 Gary Cotterill Sky Sports reporter about Icelandic players in November 2014 „They always speak good english. It is really nice to interview players who are humble and down to earth. They are not carried away by their big houses and big wages and all the publicity.“

33 Why? How? What?

34 DNA - Who are we? Fighters Hard workers We know each other well- a lot of information Ready to struggle Crazy vikings?

35 Living on an Island - The dream Ready to struggle- players and coaches Dream of making it abroad Role models - stories


37 How can we produce so many professionals?  Football is the number 1 sport. Football culture. Transfer fee is often less than in other countries Qualified, paid coaches Level of coach education Mental attitude Facilities are good Really good grassroots clubs, specially from years

38 No secret formula Some players go early abroad: Gylfi Sigurðsson, Aron Einar Gunnarsson and Kolbeinn Sigþórsson. Some later: Alfreð Finnbogason, Emil Hallfreðsson and Ragnar Sigurðsson

39 Some stats for the Icelandic national teams Women‘s A-national team – In the EURO final in 2009 and 2013 – 20th place on the FIFA ranking (11th in Europe) WU19 - Spain, Croatia, Lithuania – Second in the group, qualified to the Elite round Men‘s A-national team – Made it to the World Cup play-offs but lost to Croatia – Are now 28th in the FIFA ranking (17th in Europe) – With 9 points after three matches in EURO qualification (Turkey, Latvia and Holland) U21 - France, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan – Second in the group, went to the play-offs but lost to Denmark on away goal U17 - Italy, Moldova, Armenia – Second in the group, qualified for the Elite round – In 2013 all youth national teams went into the elite round! Best year ever.

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