Market Dynamics: Youth Recruitment in France

In all markets the dynamics of when you invest in scouting, when you start to recruit players and when you start to form your academy teams, can vary. In this article we will dive into the different key points of a youth player in France and when the big clubs have their intake of talent.

There are three age categories where most players are scouted in France: U12/U13, U16/U17, U19.

U12/U13: pre-academy recruitment phase.

The Pole Espoir system (translated, “Center of Hope”) is a system where all the regions in France have a talent center, in which the 20 top talents on U13 level, sourced by local federation trials, are brought in. The players live in the Pole Espoir, they play, and they are educated in the U14 and the U15 years of football. The interesting thing is that these top talents deemed by the federation continue to play for their local amateur side in the weekend. Typically, early in the process of playing in the Pole Espoir (sometimes even before being selected) the players are offered a ANS agreement by a professional academy in France. This agreement promises the player a contract when he turns 15, by the club who offer the ANS agreement. This way, the players have time to adapt to a potential move over time. At the same time, the professional club does not spend money training the player in the pre-academy phase (before U16) and with that can invest heavily in the academy setup from U16 and up. Most French professional clubs will offer ANS to multiple players in the same generations, securing their future pool of talent.Players that have been offered ANS agreements and then went on to make it are:

It also happens that players move to the big clubs, on ANS agreements, without being a part of the Pole Espoir. Good cases are:

It is more and more common for players to say no to the ANS contracts and open themselves to international opportunities at the age of 16. That is why the amateur level in the age groups of U13 to U16 are becoming more and more interesting to scout as an international club.

Naouirou Ahamada from Istres to Juventus is a great example of that.

U17: the second reference intake.

As the players are selected quite young and with the talent pool of France being massive, the federation understand that it is important that the players are referenced at a later stage as well. That is why the U17 National is the next important step for young players in France. 86 teams participate in this league, with the majority being amateur sides. This means the “top talents” from professional academies are up against the amateur players each weekend. At this point, many players are scouted from these amateur clubs by French academies. Most players here are turning or have turned 16 already, which makes it possible for them to transfer internationally as well, opening opportunities for foreign clubs to compete as well.Over the years multiple players have been discovered in the U17 National by French academies and then signed for the U19 team next season. A few cases that illustrate the level found at this age could be:

  • Randal Kolo Muani (PSG, former U17 National in US Torcy, Paris)

  • Fares Chaibi (Frankfurt, former U17 National in FC Lyon)

U19: the late intake.

That same dynamic is also applied at U19 level, where we see players in the U19 National also signing straight on Pro deals, and reserve team (mostly), a few cases:

Youssouf Fofana ( AS Monaco, former U19 National in JA Drancy)

In France, it is clear to see that the structure enables players to be found at all ages. This system is also showcasing possibilities for international clubs to really come in and identify the players at the same time as the French clubs. Eyeball have partnered with all the top amateur clubs, the feeder clubs to the academies, which means you are exposed to the exact same pool of players that the French clubs are building their world cup winning national team on.

The players are playing in the elite amateur system making them free to recruit. If you are interested in inviting any player on trial or getting more information, feel free to contact the club contact on the player profile or reach out to Eyeball for help

Related News

    Join our exclusive newsletter community and get insider news and tips.

    By submitting your personal data, you allow us to process personal data to the extent specified as specified in Information about Processing of Personal Data.