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READ | Academy enjoy visit from FC Koln

31 March 2018

German club FC Koln staff pay Millers Academy a visit...

The Rotherham United Academy are constantly working tirelessly behind the scenes to come up with new and innovative ways to develop the club’s next generation and evidence of that was clear when representatives from German club FC Koln’s youth setup were invited to South Yorkshire on Wednesday.

The visit, which was facilitated by representatives from the FA and the EFL, saw seven Academy staff from the Bundesliga club including their Assistant Academy Director, enjoy a day closely observing the staff and players in the Millers youth setup, taking time out to watch sessions from the Under 12s to 16s before checking out the facilities at the Academy’s training base.

All of the staff then sat down to discuss and compare the structure of the youth setup at their respective clubs before drawing similarities and differences between the development systems used for young players in England and Germany.

FC Koln are one the most historic clubs in Germany and boast the equivalent of an English Category 1 Academy which has produced the likes of current international defender Jonas Hector, but the staff in attendance admitted that they were particularly impressed by the Millers setup having already visited a number of EFL clubs prior to their arrival in South Yorkshire.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Lead Foundation Phase Coach Jake Henry expressed his delight at the opportunity to gage the thoughts of his visiting counterparts earlier in the week.

“It was fantastic to welcome the guys from Cologne to the Academy and it was certainly an eye-opening experience for us to find out how they do things differently over there,” he told

“There was plenty of interesting discussion and I hope it was beneficial for the guys that came over because it certainly was for us as an Academy staff.

“It was great to compare and contrast how we as nations we do things differently in the Academy structure and we took plenty from the guys that came over. The visit was a huge success and hopefully we can continue to build on the links we have with Cologne now moving forward.

“I would like to place on record on my thanks to Joe Sargison from the FA and Adrian Shaw from the EFL, who facilitated the visit and also delivered a session on one-to-one coaching on the day.

“A big thanks must also go to all of the players and staff, both part and full-time, for their efforts. They were a credit to the club and were very professional throughout the course of the visit.”

Head of Academy Recruitment Richard Hairyes was also heavily involved in organising the visit and was equally pleased when speaking to the club website.

“I would like to echo Jake’s sentiments on what was a really insightful day in the Academy,” he beamed.

“The Koln staff were full of praise for the standard of the setup here at Rotherham United right up from grass roots scouting right up to our scholarship programme, which is now starting to show ongoing success from the U8’s right through to the first team success.

“It was a pleasure to have them over and I am sure that we learned as much from them as they did from us.”

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