The path that every boy takes, from arrival at Maccabi Tel Aviv to achieving a career as a professional football player, passes through several stages. Each of these stages is very important and brings the player closer to the final objective, the senior team. The stages consist of different age groups where the necessary programme adjustments are made to ensure the proper development of each player and the formation of future generations of football players for Maccabi Tel Aviv in particular and for Israel in general.
AGES 5-8 (PRE-YOUTH LEAGUE)
Training at the Football Academy, with the main goal being the development of a love for the game while teaching basic technique and motor skills (two weekly sessions and periodic competitions).
At this age, the children play in teams of eight players to a side at two ends of the pitch, with the final score tallied by the total number of goals scored on each side. The emphasis in this age group is on the development of personal capabilities and advanced motor skills (co-ordination, athletic ability, jumping, body weight force, reaction speed and more). In this age group, activity is still conducted in a pre-professional format. The players in the various age-group teams attend three to four weekly practise sessions and play games on Saturdays against rivals from the central district of the official Israel Football Association competitive leagues for Under-9s, 10s, 11s and 12s . For each of these age groups, Maccabi Tel Aviv have two teams, one in the north of Tel Aviv and the other in the south.
In this age group, the children play the full length of the pitch in sides of 11, with rules adapted for each age group, including match duration and number of substitutions. The emphasis in this age group is placed on continued development of personal capabilities and advanced motor skills, while integrating basic team tactics, increasing the emphasis on competitiveness and training under match conditions. At this stage, activity takes in a semi-professional format. The players attend four to five weekly practise sessions and play on Saturdays in various official Israel Football Association Central District leagues for Under-13s, 14s and 15s. In addition to the standard training, the players are provided with individual enrichment units designed to meet the specific needs of the player and his field position on the team. For the Under-13s and 14s Maccabi Tel Aviv operate two parallel teams, one in the north of Tel Aviv and the other in the south. The Under-15s, both team 1 and team 2, do not train separately in the north and south of Tel Aviv. They all train at the Senior Team’s Kiryat Shalom training facility and at the nearby Maccabi Tel Aviv Mikveh Yisrael Football Academy.
In this age group, the young footballers play on a full pitch in sides of 11, with rules adapted for each age group, including game duration and number of substitutions. The Club’s Youth Team (Under-19s) is made up of players from two different age groups. They play for 90 minutes, as is the case with the senior team. In addition, the Youth Team incorporates players of a third, older age group, known as “Junior Age Exceptions”, based on the Israel Football Association regulations. The emphasis in these age groups is on physical preparation for the Senior Team, playing as much as possible under professional match conditions by increasing game intensity and tempo.
In addition, strong emphasis is placed on implementing consistent game principles while creating similar tactical structures in each of the teams. These age groups are guided by a professional approach and the Club allocate a great deal of resources toward developing and nurturing the players with the help of various sports professionals (psychologists, physiologists, extensive physical fitness staff, physical therapists, doctors, goalkeeping coaches, scouts and more). The players in this age group attend five to six practise sessions a week in addition to individual enrichment units tailored to the personal needs of each player, including tactical, physical, technical and emotional training. On Saturdays the teams play against rivals in official Israel Football Association “Premier” (Under-19) and nationwide (Under-17 and 16) leagues. The Club have one Under-17 and one Under-16 team, each with 20-22 players. The Youth Team (Under-19) squad is larger, with 24-26 players aged 18-20.