Is it worth sending my child to a soccer academy in Spain?

Soccer academies in Spain

Many of parents visiting our website might have asked themselves this question: Is it worth sending my child to a soccer academy in Spain? This may cast doubts and worries in your head. Will my son be alright living in Spain? Is this effort worth it? Is it really a good decision? If you have some doubts like this, I advise you to continue reading this article as I am going to try to give my point of view and give some information that I consider as useful factors for making such a complicated decision.

Sending a child to a soccer academy in Spain has positive points and negative points.

When someone asks me questions about football academies in Spain like if it would be a good decision to send his/her child to an academy, I always give them a positive answer, but I also explain about potential difficulties and negative aspects. The pros and cons are categorized as below:


Positive aspects in perspective of a football player
  • The football methodologies in Spain are one of the most advanced in the world. The level of technical coaches and trainers is very high as the acquisition of the trainer’s license requires considerable amount of time and effort for training and studying. Learning from these qualified coaches and trainers bring effectiveness naturally to improve the players skill and level.
  • Players live like a professional footballer. All academies are aimed at developing players as elite soccer players. Both football training and schooling are systemically well organized and well planned in a special way so that the players can focus on training without any barrier and on schedules adapted to their needs.
  • Formations inside/outside the field. Players receive tactical training that allows them to understand football games much better. Then the training concentrates on the goal of creating intelligent players with excellent physical fitness.
  • Diversity of training aimed at individual and collective improvement.
  • Live in an environment that breathes in football 24/7. The players live in full equipped residence that footballers would need for so that they can orient their mind toward football career and academic training.
  • Training with local teams. Academies usually have links with clubs in the area and this allows players to have a chance to get trained with Spanish players with the group of same age players. Players are divided by their level to demonstrate their potential fully and understand the philosophy of Spanish football.
  • Participation in weekly friendly matches and international tournaments.
Positive aspects in perspective of an adolescent
  • If your child is living in a foreign country without parents or family members, it means that your child must adapt himself/herself to an unknown environment which is quite different from what he/she is familiar with. Such experiences would make your child independent and matured.
  • Learning foreign languages ​​such as English and Spanish. Children grasp language ability more easily and it would be a helpful asset for them in the future
  • Generally, the academies are linked with international schools. The schools have highly evaluated curriculum and they are internationally recognized so your child can go to university and continue studying in the future too. Thus, your child will not only have excellent football training but also great academic achievement.
  • Living with friends from different backgrounds and countries usually make you to learn about respect and coexist with differences and diversity. This type of learning encourages you to be a human being with more empathy and adaptive capacity.
  • Living in Spain will offer the opportunity for your child to immerse himself in a new culture and to visit many famous touristic spots in Spain.
Negative points
  • Cost. The tuition fees and all the cost for living in Spain could be an impediment. Of course, these academies provide high quality of services and facilities that the players’ safety and securities are supervised by the academy staff. However, the excellent facilities, nutritious meals, trainings and activities demand not a little cost.
  • Distance. Because Spain is very far away from your home country, it is not easy to go visit your child whenever you want to. It may be hard for some families to live separately and without seeing each other for a long time.
  • The foreign players cannot play in any official competition that is organized by the FIFA or its subordinate association and federation. Due to the FIFA regulation on transfers of minors, it is impossible for foreign players to play in leagues that are organized by the federations under FIFA. However, the players can still/only play friendly matches and tournaments organized by private entities. For more information on this topic, please refer to FAQ and Academies section on NAIS Football website. You will find the detailed explanation on FIFA’s regulation on transfers on minors.

I would like to clarify one thing here now, the level of Spanish football.  It is very high, much higher than most countries in the world. Sometimes it seems to me that many people may not understand how difficult it is to become a part of the first league football club in Spain. Players of the world-famous clubs such as F.C. Barcelona, ​​ Valencia and Real Madrid are players with a top level and only few football players from all around the world are chosen to join these clubs. Thus, just the fact of being in a Spanish team and having an opportunity to play against these teams is a good opportunity to check your current level and learn what is missing in yourself to get to achieve the dream of being a professional footballer.

Another concern of some parents is about the language barrier and communication. It is not a big problem at all for the children because they learn foreign language quickly especially when you are surrounded by the native speakers or the concerned language speaking people. Even if your child does not speak English or Spanish, the well experienced professionals at the academies can take care of the player and make him/her feel comfortable in training stages. It is amazing to see the players get along easily and well, learn the languages quickly and learn to express himself/herself quiet well in both Spanish and English.

It is good for parents to know that there is another option that your children can join these academies for shorter period. For sure, it would be ideal if your child stays in Spain at least for a year or longer to complete an academic year for football training as well as school. However, in case you do not want your child to spend a long period of time in Spain, there is another way to experience Spanish football. Some of the academies have a short-term period program such as for a couple of weeks, a month or two, etc. In this case, it won’t be necessary to enroll to school. It can be a good alternative for families that want to offer a great experience in Spain for their child for a short period of time.

Lastly, I would like to share the most asked question I receive from the parents. Many parents ask me the same question. “If my child goes to Spain, do you think he will be a professional footballer in La Liga, in the first league?” My answer is always same. “I don’t know.” It is not something that I could answer about. Ultimately and fundamentally it depends on many factors. What are these factors? The quality of the player; his mentality, ability to sacrifice and endure, his ability to learn, his effort, his dedication, his physical development, the luck he has to avoid injuries … There are many variables that influence and that are important. It will not only depend on whether you go to Spain and learn there or not. The truth is that it is not going to be an easy way and that it will be a long and hard journey to arrive and only very few hit the goal. Some may speak about rosy colored life of a football star, not telling you the truth of reality. What I can answer clearly to the parents is that these academies have qualified professionals and well-organized system and programs. This is an important fact and can be an element that helps your child’s dream be closer to being fulfilled. But when it comes to the future of a young player, it will depend largely on the child’s abilities and his attitude towards learning and the difficulties encountered.

As mentioned above, this is my opinion and you would agree with my point of view or not. Ultimately everything is very subjective, and everyone has his/her own way of view of life and value. I simply hope that you could get more information from NAIS Football News, to help you to distinguish good options and bad ones for the future of your child. It is never easy to make this type of decisions and we all know that there are many things to take into consideration. That is why we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about learning Spanish football in Spain. Rest assured that the NAIS Football will provide you transparent and precise information.


Isaac Arques Soriano
Spanish Coach & NAIS Football C.E.O.