A sports school based in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria, has turned what should be an ordinary Code of Conduct signing into a grand ceremony; introducing professional photoshoots as part of the mini-event.
Usually, a code of conduct document is a two to three-paged document hardly worthy of celebrating, well, not unless your child is at the City Sports School.
As part of measures to expose young footballers enrolled in the school to professional processes such as foreign and local competitive match experiences, contract signing, physical fitness, scouting procedures among others, the school has developed creative ways to include these processes in the routine activities: one of which is the newly introduced City Sports School induction.
At first glance, you will be forgiven for mistaking the induction for a contract signing, which according to Regulation 19 of FIFA’s Status and Transfer of Players Regulations 2018 (the “Regulations”) provides that international transfers of players are only permitted if the player is over the age of 18.
The induction process which is designed to look like a signing and unveiling ceremony is in entirety a Parents & Players Code of Conduct signing ceremony.
Take Matthew for instance, a 10-year-old right-back who idolizes Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, regarded by many, particularly Millennials, as the best right-back in the game since the internet gave birth to social media. Matthew will be wearing the number 66 jersey.
Matthew dreams of a career in professional football someday and his parents are keen on helping him actualize this dream.
In spicing up the Induction Ceremony, the City Sports School team segmented the entire process into three phases.
- Player Kit fitting: You don’t want your child running around in an over sized jersey looking like prime Roberto Baggio or Romario in a retro ’94 jersey or a miniature parachute. So, the players try out a jersey that fits, not too tight like Cameroon’s infamous 2002 body-con kits, but something smart.
- The signing: Parents and players are naturally expected to be supportive, emphatic, caring, thoughtful, and all-round interested in the overall success of the team and their mates. Hence, they both have to pledge to abide by certain rules and measures created to ensure the smooth running of the soccer school such as prohibiting interference with team selections, tactics, coaching methods, etc. These might seem like trivial issues, but football is an emotive sport and oftentimes, people can get carried away when certain decisions appear biased against them.
- The Photoshoot: Once the Parents & Player Code of Conduct is signed, the child is then officially welcomed to City Sports School, unveiled. The ceremony begins with a photoshoot displaying their jersey number. All of these is done just to give the players a taste of what is to come should they choose to pursue a career in professional football.
In essence, City Sports School induction is a welcome ceremony for these aspiring footballers into a setup that prides itself in creating the best and most conducive environment for the development of young people.
And the icing on the cake? These kids will be playing some competitive games in Europe during the course of the year.
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