2016 will be a big year for Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club as it seeks to continue to grow on the international stage, in conjunction with its partner, Global Image Sports (GIS).
Since coming together a few years ago with the aim of growing Wolves in North America and South East Asia – the club has seen large numbers of players attend regional identification camps and then later National Selection camps in both Atlanta, Georgia and Singapore.
Wolves will only send out the top academy coaches from Compton Park to work with these players in a bid to possibly one day identify a potential new recruit into the club but also to provide the opportunity and experience for partner club development.
Fundamentally – the partnership enables the Wolves coaching staff to work directly with these clubs in America, Canada and South East Asia, develop and instil the ‘Wolves Way’ into the clubs and ensure a better standard of coaching provision, player development and international growth of the brand that is synonymous with the club.
The international academy players benefit from greater levels of coaching from a category one academy at the EPPP level and some are chosen year on year from the National Selection camp (last year there were circa 150 players in total at this event) to return to Compton Park in the spring.
Here – they are treated as academy players and get to experience a week in the life of a young player at a Category One academy. Training sessions, nutrition, match preparation and evaluations are all carried out whilst the players and their families get to attend live matches, days out in Birmingham and London as well as a guided tour of Molineux!
This year alone – there will be approximately 80 players who will work under the guidance of Gareth Prosser, Marc Campbell and Steve Cullis to help them get familiarised with what it takes to train alongside their peers in the UK.
They have all been hand-picked following a four-day residential camp carried out last summer and are chosen directly by the academy coaches who want to give them the opportunity to train within a professional UK academy setup.
Global Image Sports are responsible for representing Wolves in the USA, Canada and South East Asia and through their expertise in the regions – have helped grow the club into a leading entity – with more partner clubs year on year signing up to link with Wolves.
Through collaboration with the Compton Park team, GIS are also able to provide resources and assistance to the partner clubs so that they can access coaching content, player development tools and also ensure that the ‘Wolves Way’ is ingrained into these clubs in order to ensure adequate delivery of good quality coaching.
GIS will also help young players in these regions by preparing them for the demands of the schedule in addition to giving advice in social media education, player welfare and access to high quality camps where they can be seen by the Wolves staff. They will also provide the coaching staff and club with full access to a huge number of regional identification camps, look after logistics and marketing of the club at these events – as well as maximising exposure through the media in these parts of the world.
GIS have also begun to work more actively in the UK and help Wolves by providing support via the EPPP to any player who may be released at 16. Here, they will offer a free service to help find the player a place in a North American College or University, providing a world class education whilst also giving the player the chance to continue a playing career in a fantastic environment with plenty of scope for professional development.
This link is also extending to Thomas Telford School near Wolverhampton where a large number of former Academy players attend. Both the Wolves Academy and the school can also use GIS to send teams abroad to play in GIS organised tournaments against other European/American/Canadian academies in order to garner valuable international experience for the young players.
Recently – Wolves welcomed the GIS Singapore Elite group across – all chosen from a coaching residential camp back in August of 2015. After a fantastic week of high quality training sessions and guidance under Marc Campbell, Assistant Academy Director, both the club and GIS managed to interview Marc about the way the week had gone – including asking him about the upcoming groups of players selected from the USA and Canada that are due to train at Compton Park between 27th March and April 10th.
Both Wolves and GIS are tremendously excited about the future of this partnership and maybe one day…a GIS player will be able to join the ranks of those at Molineux!