Photo: Rangers FC
Rangers has recently launched a new program called Rangers READY, an alternative to a youth academy that the club hopes will create a love for football for many primary school-aged kids.
The Ibrox outfit has already announced that there will be seven of these centres based all across Scotland, with many in Glasgow as well as other locations in the east of the country. But, how would this look for youngsters looking to find a way to their dream of being a footballer?
Rangers has already said that there will be a few key changes to the usual academy procedure, which enables kids to develop and have fun without added pressure. The whole point of the project is that it is there to eliminate all feelings of pressure and nerves while letting them enjoy playing football. This way they’ll not only develop their skills but also have a great time playing.
The contrast between Rangers READY and normal football academies is to stop the additional pressure at an academy while you are still young. To provide a new alternative to this, Rangers have made changes to help suit those who are a part of it.
If you’re invited to join the program, Rangers have said that you would not necessarily feel as if you’re representing them. Because, like any age, that’s a lot of pressure and responsibility for someone young to deal with.
There is no retention and release as part of the Rangers READY program. Once you’re there, there’s no pressure to perform to keep a place. Because of this, the difference they are hoping to make to the confidence of youngsters is key.
There is also no representation of Rangers on kits. That means no badge, which is hoped will show that children aren’t there to represent the club.
Rangers think it will make a difference too, as it’s just as important kids enjoy playing football.
Academy Director, Craig Mulholland said: “Our team have worked on developing the new Rangers READY concept for almost a year. Our starting point was that we simply don’t believe in labelling kids who may only have been playing the game for less than 12 months ‘elite’.
“So, whether you are attending the Rangers READY in Aberdeen or Ayrshire, the feeling, the environment and the research-based content will be the same. We are really excited by this new concept.”
Rangers’ Head of Coaching, Zeb Jacobs also commented: “We looked closely to research about optimal learning environments and tried to understand how a child learns. Based on the outcomes, we saw that ‘play’ needs to be at the heart of Rangers READY.
“So, together as a team, we have designed an exciting ‘play programme’ based on research, best practice and experience that allows children to explore and develop in a unique and playful environment. This is why we speak about a ‘play programme’ and not a curriculum, a child and not a player and an experience and not a pathway.”
The difference between Rangers READY and an academy is clear to see. The focus is more on enjoying football, as opposed to the results-based drive of academy football. For the children who are part of the program, the transformation of not only their skill, but their attitude to football could be revolutionary for the future of youth football, and it will be interesting to see if anyone else follows suit.
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