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Empowering youth football development across Europe

The UEFA Youth Football Forum will offer a platform for collaborative knowledge exchange within the European football community.

UEFA Youth Forum, Brdo 2023

UEFA has hosted its first Youth Football Forum, an event tailored for technical and academy directors and youth coaches of both clubs and national teams.

The event, held in Brdo, Slovenia, provided a much-needed platform for these often under-the-radar yet essential figures in European football to enhance their expertise and exchange valuable insights.

The first UEFA Youth Football Forum took place in Brdo, Slovenia
The first UEFA Youth Football Forum took place in Brdo, SloveniaDamjan Zibert – UEFA

Five European national associations – Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia – took part in the initiative, designed to foster a culture of continuous information exchange, learning and development within youth football coaching on both club and national team levels.

The forum featured a diverse range of sessions and workshops conducted by renowned experts in the field, including an invaluable insight into the youth development practices of Benfica, Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb. Topics covered included player development methodologies, sports psychology and effective communication techniques. The participants engaged in spirited discussions and hands-on activities that will undoubtedly contribute to the success of their future work.

Among the event's highlights were the panel discussions, where seasoned technical directors, coaches and former players from various European countries shared their experiences and best practices.

"I am proud of this programme and the fact that, for the first time, the clubs' academy directors participated in an event like this. Their inclusion in such discussions is essential, as they are the driving force of talent development. This forum provided an opportunity for attendees to learn from real-world scenarios and to forge connections with like-minded professionals from different footballing cultures. We can only move forward if we learn how to share the knowledge and experiences and, above all, to listen to each other."

Zvonimir Boban, UEFA technical director and chief of football

The list of guest speakers included:

  • José Couceiro (FPF vice-president and technical director)
  • Laura Georges (FFF general secretary)
  • Irene Fuhrmann (head coach of Austria women)
  • Matjaž Kek (Slovenia head coach)
  • Michael O'Neill (Northern Ireland head coach)
  • Raphael Ikache (Salzburg youth sporting director)
  • Marko Marić (Dinamo Zagreb academy director)
  • Pedro Mil-Homens Santos (Benfica academy director)
  • Friederike Kromp (Eintracht Frankfurt WU20 head coach)
  • Aitor Karanka
  • Aljoša Asanović

Feedback from the participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with many excited to learn from some of the leading minds in European youth football.