‘Aspire in the World Fellows’, a leading community for youth football performance and science development, launched its first research gathering project with a select group of members coming together in Doha for two days to deliberate and charter the course of the new initiative, Fellows Research Work.

The research project is the new stage in the operations and work of ‘Aspire in the World Fellows’, which comprises a group of international football experts, led by Aspire Academy’s director of Football Performance and Science, Professor Valter Di Salvo.

Twelve participants from clubs and national associations joined Aspire staff from Football Performance and Science for the launch phase of the Fellows Research Gathering in a two-day event, held at Aspire Academy.

The Fellows Research Gathering “turns a new page” in the objective of ‘Aspire in the World Fellows’ to enhance youth football as a whole, from the gathering and working together of expert coaches, physiotherapists, football directors and staff from various international football clubs and football associations who form part of the Aspire Fellows community, according to a press statement.

The project aims to help members get a “deeper and more specific understanding of various footballing training methodologies by engaging members in scientific research”, the statement notes. The knowledge is then used to study and implement practical solutions to improve football training, particularly among young athletes, and contribute to advancing the study of football science.

The initial research study work will be on the following three topics: Talent Identification (Nature vs nurture), Strength Methodology (Why, when and how) with the third one being, From Youth to Senior (How to manage the leap).

Speaking about the initiative, Professor Di Salvo said: “With this Research Work, our goal is to produce three scientific studies from our Aspire Fellows Community, introducing a new concept of working together - which is the new stage we have moved to after the sharing stage we started off with. By launching the Fellows Research Gathering, we’re turning a new page in our history to benefit from the expertise of our fellows and help advance the research industry in the football field.”

Corne Groenendijk, from Dutch football club Ajax FC, said: “This project is a great boost for people who work with professional clubs and encourages them to do more research. When we see all these experts gathered in one room and all ready to work, it gives us that push we need to go from theory to implementation.”

Cristina Fink from American club Philadelphia Union added: “Each research topic has been assigned to four various groups, i.e. different football clubs, and each group is diverse enough to have different voices - which I think is very important in science because it brings about new perspectives and insights.”

‘Aspire in the World Fellows’ has developed rapidly since it was established in 2014 by Aspire Academy, the statement notes. Besides regular gatherings in Doha and events in Europe to develop their ideas, members are supported by an online portal - enabling the spread of best practice, trends and the latest thinking.

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