Talent development in football – top-level football clubs vs. youth national teams

In Norwegian

Christian Haulan & Stig Arve Sæther
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim

Stig Arve Sæther and Christian Haulan

Player development is a long and complicated task for all actors in Norwegian football. Two important actors are top clubs and age restricted national teams, which both have defined roles in what may be referred to as the Norwegian player development model. According to this model, the top clubs have the main responsibility for following up the players, and have primary responsibility for players over 16 years of age. This article wants to examine to what extent the players selected to youth teams also are given the opportunity to play in the Tippeligaen (Norwegian level one), and vice versa. Can these arenas be seen as two separate arenas, or is this two venues, but for the same players? The results of this study show clear internal relationships between games on youth national teams and the Tippeligaen. So, if you played at a certain age on a youth national team or got playing time in a top-level club, it is highly likely that you also get this in subsequent years. Even so, the results showed that although U20 players account for 35 per cent of the players in the Tippeligaen, they are given only 4.5 per cent of the potential playing time. Despite top clubs’ main responsibility for players from the age of 16, our results show that the age-specific national teams offer the widest matching arena up until the age of U18.

Get the full-text article in Norwegian!

CHRISTIAN HAULAN has a bachelor degree in sport and society from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway. His research area is football and talent development. Haulan is also a youth football coach.

STIG ARVE SÆTHER is Senior Lecturer in sports science at the department of sociology and political science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway. His main research area is talent in football. Sæther is now conducting a longitudinal study of age-specific national soccer team players in Norway, with the overall aim to investigate how various social, psychological and physiological mechanisms affect talent development and identification in football. He is also an active blogger on that theme.

Read more on idrottsforum.org about