FA Talent Pathway


The FA’s Para Football Talent Pathway provides a progression from grassroots football through to the National Para Teams. The pathway provides opportunities across a range of specific impairments for more information visit Englandfootball.com  




England Talent Days  (ETD’s)

The first selective environment in the Player Pathway. The Programme will identify and signpost players to the ‘right’ environment at that point in time (they will run on a yearly basis to ensure that players can be re-assessed and kept in the Talent System). ETDs will not be viewed as player development environments. The England Talent Day will be underpinned with the formation of local Disability Football Recruitment Networks responsible for driving player identification and recruitment.


Talent Hubs

Sessions will enable continued talent identification/confirmation opportunities and will impact younger players than previously engaged in Regional Talent Centres (7-11 and 12-16 cohorts). Hubs will be used as a ‘check point’ for these players and will have robust processes to link players to appropriate mainstream clubs or impairment specific clubs. It is envisaged that the number of Hubs will increase annually and will be hosted by a range of organisations including CFAs, English Football League Trusts and Premier League Foundations and Trusts. These organisations will be supported by The FA to develop comprehensive action plans focusing on recruitment strategies for disabled players and sighted goalkeepers, training and development opportunities for staff, futsal placements for players, educational and apprenticeship opportunities and effective marketing and communications activity.


Regional Emerging Talent Programme (7 to 11 and 12 to 16) 

Regional Emerging Talent Programmes will again be viewed as the ‘check point’ environment for those players engaged in either impairment specific or mainstream football activity. This environment will support player tracking and monitoring of developmental progress and performance standards; thus informing selection for the National Emerging Talent Programme. Activity at Regional Programmes will ‘kick start’ case conferencing and will prepare players for future involvement in the Pathway via age specific technical coaching and wider four corner support. There will be a focus on preparing players psychologically for progression and Regional Programmes will allow mainstream players to engage for the first time without interruption to the meaningful competition accessed in their chosen environment. Strong links will exist with Regional Impairment Specific Clubs.  


National Emerging Talent Programme (12 to 16) 

National FA Emerging Talent Programmes (12 to 16) and (16-19) will be implemented to support the effective transition of players from Regional Emerging Talent Programmes to England Development Squads. Age specific programmes will be provided for each cohort with the deployment of key staff and technical coaches aligned to this. This Programme will provide bespoke support to each individual engaged to ensure that potential is maximised and the opportunity to develop is extended beyond the capacity of the environment they currently participate/compete within. The Programme will include a minimum of 3 Emerging Talent Camps (3 day camps) for each age specific cohort to ensure that players are fully engaged in the Programme. This will also enable individualised strength and conditioning programmes and health and wellbeing diaries to be implemented. Case conferencing of all players introduced to the Emerging Talent Programme will be a priority to ensure that appropriate competition, funding and support locally is sourced for the individual. 


National Emerging Talent Programme (16 to 19) 

The National Emerging Talent 16+ cohort will also be offered the opportunity to access education and employment within a partner club. These players will not only participate in the National Camps described previously but will be engaged via a role profile impacting completion of an agreed personal development plan impacting the four corners and focused on physical and training/competitive outcomes. This is likely to be underpinned by an initial ‘traineeship’ which will test suitability for the apprenticeship. This will in turn support individuals to secure future employment whilst preparing them fully for transition to England Under 21 Squads. Support to individuals via TASS, Sports Aid and Backing the Best will be targeted at Emerging Talent Programme cohorts (age dependent against criteria of each programme).


England Under 21 Squads 

England Under 21 Squad camps will be provided for deaf players and players with cerebral palsy. Three camps per season will be complemented by a competitive opportunity (European and World Para Youth Games or Home Nations). Blind, partially sighted and amputee players will transition direct from National Emerging Talent Programme cohorts to England/Great Britain Senior Squads. As suggested earlier, power chair footballers will be supported to transition from national club and league structures to the Elite Senior Squad for European and World Championship cycles.

To find out more information please contact Rich Kerr, National CP Football Development Officer Richard.kerr@cpsport.org