To many people, Manchester is synonymous with football. Its two main clubs are internationally famous and a trip to City’s Etihad Stadium or United’s Theatre of Dreams are a must on many a visitor’s itinerary. But for the budding young footballer, a stadium visit alone is unlikely to satisfy their ambitions, nor nurture their talents. Instead, what could be more exciting than enrolling at one of the best Manchester soccer schools around? The only question is blues or reds?
For the blues
Manchester City’s Academy was set up in 1998 to recruit and develop young footballers for Manchester City. It’s been pretty successful too – 30 young players have come through the ranks to play in the first-team for City. For young footballers just wanting to improve their skills, the club runs specialised training sessions from their Platt Lane training ground. Using fully qualified MCFC coaches, sessions are open to boys and girls from 5 to 14 years. Your child could even get scouted and asked to join the Academy and be on their way to the first team. The children of truly enthusiastic parents can start even earlier at one of the ‘baby blues’ sessions for toddlers from 2 – 4 years. Find out more about both term time and holiday soccer school sessions.
For the reds
Manchester United has always been known as a team which nurtures young talent – from the Busby Babes in the 1950s right up to today’s current team. For young footballers wishing to learn how to play the United way, what could be better than training at one of the United Soccer Schools programs? The top player from each soccer camp is rewarded with a place at the World Skills Final at Old Trafford itself, along with a tour of the first team’s training facility and a ticket for a Premier League game. The five-day camps are based at Denstone College in Staffordshire and are open to boys and girls. They include a visit to Old Trafford itself, a stadium tour and a United Soccer Schools training kit. Visit Manchester United Soccer Schools for more information.
From the sidelines
For those preferring to watch rather than play football, a trip to the city centre's National Football Museum is in order, before heading out to your stadium of choice. The Football Museum is suitable for all ages and there’s even a Discovery Zone for the under 5s. Take the opportunity to test out your own skills and enjoy a variety of exhibitions, including the world’s largest football collection.
For something a little different for Reds fans, try a leisure cruise tour to Old Trafford, which includes a canal barge from Manchester City Centre and a trip around Salford Quays before a tour of the stadium.
Manchester City’s premium tour package includes the presence of a City Legend to take you on an access-all-areas tour of the Etihad Stadium as well as the City’s Carrington Training Ground.
Header photo © Manchester City
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About the author: RuthRosselsonRuth Rosselson
Ruth Rosselson is a writer, researcher and community facilitator based in Manchester. A city-lover through and through, Ruth loves going to gigs and eating out at her favourite Manchester restaurants and cafes. A keen scuba-diver, she’s still in search of the elusive (but very large) whale shark, and also loves country breaks in the UK. Her favourite UK spots include Grasmere in the Lake District and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. http://ruthrosselson.net