EFA: Frequent Questions

EFA: Frequent Questions


Can you help me choose which course to go on?

All of our courses are designed with you the footballer in mind. Many players will arrive at the academy with different fitness levels, different ability levels and different experiences. If you have played football at a professional club before you will have an idea which of our courses suits you best. If you are looking to make a start in football, then we would recommend you spend more time with us, and maximise the opportunities you will get to perform infront of the key people. To come on a course you must be between 14 years old and 23 years old. If you are not sure about staying with us long term, then we would always start with an initial assessment for 6 weeks first. Then take things from there.  It is also very important to note that a players' ability to stay on our courses is dependent on his visa status.  For example, players not participating on a course of study can only stay in the UK as a visitor or sports visitor for a max 6 months.  

We also appreciate that these courses represent a significant investment of money and time, so please read the info provided carefully.

We are available to help so if you are still not sure, contact us using the details provided on this wbsite.


I have been released by a club, is your academy right for me?

The simple answer is YES! We understand it can be daunting after being notified that you will not be taken on by a club as a pro, or you are not being offered a scholarship. But our academy is setup in the same way, and we offer the same high levels of training, fitness and education to ensure that you feel right at home. You also get plenty of exposure to the right people meaning we are perfectly placed to help you find a new club.  However, we are not selling trials or contracts, players come to the academy to develop and benefit from the training, and utilise our matches and showcase friendlies as a means to try and impress new clubs.

I live outside the EU, is it still possible for me to join?

Yes. People from ALL over the world have the opportunity to participate in our academy programme. There are no limitations whatsoever imposed by Elite Football Academy who can attend our courses. There are quite stringent immigration rules set out by the UK Border Agency however, so you will need to be sure to get the appropriate documentation together and that you meet the necessary criteria for entry. An invitation to our academy will be provided which will assist you in getting the appropriate documentation to enable you to join. As we start with the 6 week assessment we recommend applying for a Sport Visitor Visa for our courses and we recommend making an appointment with your local british embassy prior to registering and paying for your course to ensure you meet the requirements for the visa. If you intend to stay longer and study here in the UK you will need to register with our college education partners and participate fully on a course of study for a minimum of 15 hours per week.   We can recommend Immigration Lawyers to help, but we will never get involved in personal visa situations.  We would also recommend particularly for players from 16-19 that a course of study is the best option for long term success and backup.

Why do you charge fees to attend your courses?

The answer to this questions is very simple. We receive no funding at all from the government or the football association in the UK, as we are a private academy, therefore we must cover the expenses of your accommodation, food, drink, travel and your football training. We contract very experienced coaches, and cut no corners to ensure you get the very best football training available.

Because we cook fresh food for you every day, hire private training facilities, and provide courtesy transport to and from training and matches, our expenses are quite high.  However, if you break down our service we are actually only charging in the region of £60 per night, which when you consider that you are getting a room with en suite facilities, full board, full time professional football training, courtesy transport, full kit and uniform and have zero living expenses, this is actually fantastic value for money!


What airport is best for me to fly to, and when should I arrive?

Certain countries will only have flights to Heathrow airport, so in these cases we will take the lead from you. However, non London based airports can be quite awkward to coordinate collections, and unsociable hours are very difficult to manage for the people the are coming to collect you.  Therefore please liaise with us before making any flight reservations.

Upon registration you will be provided with confirmed start dates to enable you to book your flights, but tyically all courses start on a Monday, with inductions and introductions being held first thing on a Monday morning. Therefore it is advised that you arrive on the Saturday or Sunday prior to your course start date. The longer your flight, the more time you might need to recover from jet lag etc.  Most collections are possible, and if we are unable to provide a free pick up service we are happy to discuss an economic alternative that can be provided to suit.

I paid a lot of money but didn't get scouted, what now?

Of course we cannot guarantee that every player will successfully make the transition from our academy to a professional club. You are paying for the course and its contents including professional training, accommodation and transport and not trials and scouting directly.  Whilst we work very hard to ensure that players get the opportunity to be showcased we cannot promise that you will be noticed. Anyone we feel is good enough will be pushed and promoted to our contacts, many of whom are constantly looking for new players.

Scouts attend our most of our matches, and the matches we play against professional teams are always arranged to help managers and scouts find players they might be looking for, so every opportunity is available for you to make it.  There is also a mixture of matches against professional clubs, semi professional clubs, college teams and development squads. 

What we would recommend is that if after a shorter course for example, you didn't quite do enough, but we feel that you could benefit from staying with us, you will be invited to extend your stay with us for a discounted rate. We cannot be fairer than that!

It is important to understand that our philosophy is to take your development term by term, and our payment structure is geared to match this. Therefore should things not be working out, at your review at the end of each term we will review your progress and ensure both parties are happy to proceed. This way we can be sure of your complete satisfaction & not cost you money unneccesarily.  Similarly, should you be successful and club offer you the opportunity, we can end your time at the academy at the end of the next term so that you are not out of pocket. 

Our goal is to discover and help create future professional footballers and whilst we must cover our expenses, we are not in the business of stringing players along. It is in neither yours nor our best interest to do so. We act professionally and responsibly at all times. This level of professionalism is also demanded from our partners, visitors and players alike.  However, we are an open access academy and if a player wishes to pay for the accommodation and full time training, where possible we will offer places to accommodate this. We see success not only in the signing of contracts to clubs but also in completion of the study programme and entering into further education, or by gaining scholarships to study abroad.  The academy has a history of success stories from all of these kinds of exit strategies.   If players wish to be come coaches, learn about sports management, become fitness instructors, start their own physiotherapy business, then all of this can be supported by a stay the academy.

Education is important to me & my family.. what courses can I take?

At Elite Football Academy we take education very seriously & actively encourage all players to supplement their football development programme with an academic course. We are very lucky in that we have excellent education partnerships with schools and colleges who work hard to accomodate our players as students. As standard we offer a BTEC Subsidiary Dimploma Level 3 in Sports Coaching and Exercise Science for the first year, but not all International players will meet the entry requirements for this course, or be able to get a visa that permits them to study here in the UK. Sports Visitors and General Visitors are not permitted to study as standard. Courses are available for all 1yr programmes, however you will need to enroll with the college and complete a tier 4 student visa application to participate on a course of study. The college also have entry requirements such as GCSE equivalent qualifications, school transcripts, letters of reference and IELTS exam scores of 5+ to be considered for the course.  If you have any specific requirements please get in touch with us. The 2nd year programme is an opportunity for people to turn their subsidiary BTEC 3 Diploma into a Level 3 Extended diploma with additional credits by finishing the additional units, and perhaps also offer the opportunity to find a university course of relevance in continuation. The BTEC can be taken all the way to degree level courses from this point.

I was refused a VISA, what do I do now?

Unfortunately there does appear to be great inconsistencies when it comes to applying for your SPORTS visitor Visa (further info on our terms and conditions pages). We would always recommend making an appointment with your embassy or high commission as soon as possible. We can provide the necessary application forms upon enquiry, and this should minimise your risk of rejection. However, if you do receive a REFUSAL NOTIFICATION there are several things we can do. Firstly you are entitled to make a fresh application. You will ALWAYS receive a refusal letter, which you should scan and email to us. This will typically highlight the reason your application has been rejected and give you some next steps. Sometimes information that has been witheld or missed off the application can cause refusal, other times it can be simply because they are not satisfied you are making a legitimate claim for visa under the requirements laid out on the UK Border Agency Website or you do not satisfy them that you intend to return to your own country upon completion of the football programme. Please familiarise yourself with these requirements.  

A Tier 4 Student visa is required for anyone wishing to participate on any of our study & football programmes. Its the responsibility of the college to offer you a place on the course and their guidelines will need to be met by all players.  We are not Visa specialists we are a football academy. We can recommend immigration lawyers but never get involved in individual visa situations at all.

To summarise, here is our advice:

- firstly some advice and familiarise yourself with the relevant visa requirements pertaining to your type of visa, your age, your status and the type of course you wish to take.  WE recommend to make a personal appointment and try to deal directly with the embassy wherever possible when making the initial application. Get advice as to which visa is best for you, and what the entry requirements are

- Provide as much accurate information as possible in your application

- understand fully the requirements for sports visitor visas and the different types of visas available. Remember you cannot study on a general visitor or sports visitor visa, and the college can offer CAS letters etc for the study programmes.  

- make initial enquiries about entry visas in your country before registering for our courses

- please do not pay any money to us until you are absolutely certain you are coming as we are unable to return deposits or course fees for any reason. If you do make a payment and are rejected a visa, this will usually take place shortly before a course, and at short notice it might be impossible for us to fill your place. For this reason, if you pay and cannot complete your course of visit we are unable to return deposits. Please only pay and book flights when you are certain you are able to attend. Visas can take up to 4 weeks to process. There are also certain special rules for certain nationalities that will prevent immediate return. Courses are run 6 weeks at a time, regardless of whether you have a 6 week booking or a 1 year booking.

If you have any queries that have not been addressed here please get in touch with us:

Email: info@elite-footballacademy.com

Phone: UK: 0800 019 3337 / Int: +44 (0)1217 371 932


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