1st Team wants to change the way children are taught about football

1st Team Football was founded by Lee Waddington1st Team Football was founded by Lee Waddington
1st Team Football was founded by Lee Waddington
A new, global football coaching enterprise said it will disrupt the way children are coached in football through pioneering scientific techniques.

1st Team Football launched in the US last month and will roll out this year to India, China, South Africa, UAE and Australia, teaching football skills to children aged five to 17.

It was founded by Lee Waddington, who lives in Gomersal, West Yorkshire. Mr Waddington holds a UEFA A License and FA Advanced Youth Award plus a Master’s degree in Sport Psychology.

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1st Team said he brings over 30 years’ experience in senior scouting and coaching positions at Manchester United, Manchester City, Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers and the Burnley Academy.

Mr Waddington said: “There’s a need for fresh innovation in football coaching.

"In my mind this will be driven by the latest scientific thinking into children’s development and learning. 1st Team Football will avoid prescriptive coaching methods in favour of creating conditions that spark curiosity, stimulate learning and self-discovery. We’ll be delivering a style and quality of coaching and development unlike anything currently in the market.”

1st Team's methodology blends the cultural and football characteristics of each country in which it operates, with a professional development system underpinned by the science of childhood learning.

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At the centre of the philosophy is the importance of putting each child at the centre of their own development as a player.

1st Team said Mr Waddington has picked top UEFA-qualified coaching talent for each of the six countries 1st Team Football will be active in.

They have undergone extensive training and coaching sessions will take place at dedicated player learning centres. Currently two centres are up and running in Philadelphia and Orlando where they are offering 90 minute taster sessions.

Children will be divided by age into three different training phases, which allows age-specific training and development.

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These include the discovery phase (5-8 year olds) foundation phase (9-12 year olds) and development phase (13-17).

Training sessions will be twice a week and coaches will follow an individual learning plan for each child. Each child will have the opportunity once a year to participate in a trip to the UK for an academy experience.