Kortrijk - Jelle Schelstraete is Academy Manager at KV Kortrijk. Since February 2011, he has contributed to the restructuring and professionalisation of the youth development of De Kerels.
What is the mission and vision of your youth academy?
We start from the principle 'It's all about the player'. We have an individual plan for each player who arrives at our youth academy. This individual plan is based on the player's strengths & weaknesses and has been mapped out by the player, his parents and the trainers. This forms the basis of our individual follow-up. In addition, we do not work with regular trainers. In particular, we will use the strengths of our different trainers in function of the player's development plan.
What is your vision on sports development?
On the one hand we have the individual story, on the other hand we have a football vision where we will work without specific positions in order to promote the creativity of the players. As a result, they have to look for the free spaces on the pitch themselves and are obliged to move around in them. Only from U15-U16 we will assign a line to the players and from U18 we will assign a profile to the player, which we will then develop further in function of the first team.
What kind of technology is available at the academy?
We have installed a fixed camera system in which our two artificial turf pitches are filmed 24 hours a day so that both training sessions and matches can be recorded. This has added value not only for the development of our players, but also for the development of our trainers.
In which age categories do you scout and in which regions?
We mainly scout between the age categories U9 and U12 because this allows us to work with the players in the long term. As far as the region is concerned, we focus within a radius of 50km.
What are the main quality criteria for attracting players?
We are mainly looking for players who move well and smartly, but also players with insight. Since we are in a story without positions and it is important that the players try to read the game themselves, we will try to find out if a player has that potential. They don't have to be physically and technically strong yet, because those are things that can come later in life. However, we are looking for players who are quick to pick up and have insight before we allow them into our youth work.
What types of player data does the club collect and how are they kept up to date?
First of all, there are the physical tests that we measure three or four times a year. This includes the starting speed, endurance, jumping power, and so on. We collect all these data in ProSoccerData and compare them with various benchmarks. In addition, we are also going to keep track of data in the field of sports. There we will mainly work with our video images. The trainers will analyse images of the players and then add them to their image bank in ProSoccerData.
What is the importance of this data and what is it all used for?
This data supports us in drawing up the player's development plan and in measuring a player's progress on that development plan.
Recently, we have also started filtering data from the video images that are created. We are currently refining this further so that in the future we can use this data to further develop the player's personal development plan.