This past weekend, for the seventh year running, amateur footballers from around the world gathered for the biannual Nike Most Wanted global showcase. The four-day experience, formerly known as The Chance, offers unsigned footballers an opportunity to earn a place at The Nike Academy at St. George’s Park, the home of the England National Team, and develop their skills in front of elite coaches and mentors.
This year, the event drew 42 young players from 20 countries to the French Football Federation’s national training center in Clairefontaine, where they were joined by Didier Deschamps, French National Team manager. “To perform at the highest level in the game, of course, your footballing talent is important, but this must be complemented by mental strength, too,” Deschamps advised the footballers. “As with any sport, there will be challenging moments, but you must continue to believe in your dream, yourself and never give up. Work hard, always.”
The gathering culminated with Nike Academy Manager Jon Goodman announcing the players who will join his elite development squad for the 2016 season: Tim Brown (UK), Ryan Blumberg (Australia), Kai Hatano (Japan), Ilan Kebbal (France), Nathan Recht (France), Sherwin Danderyseedorf (Netherlands), Myer Bevan (New Zealand), Thom Jonkerman (Netherlands), Benis Belesi (Belgium), Siriki Dembele (UK), Kevin Adewumi (Germany) and Josip Kolobaric (Croatia).
"It has been a fantastic experience for our squad to travel over to Clairefontaine for this edition of the Nike Most Wanted global showcase," Goodman declares. "Once again, we’ve been really impressed by the strength of the talent on show, and that has been reflected in our selection of 12 players to join The Nike Academy. Fundamentally, we’re looking for fast footballers to join our squad, with the ability to convert the intensity of training all the way through to the final day of games. We appreciate that it’s a challenging schedule, but the training these players can expect day-in, day-out at the Academy will be demanding, too, so we look to replicate that as much as we can throughout this footballing experience.”
Nike Most Wanted
Since 2009, Nike Most Wanted has provided thousands of young footballers access to elite training opportunities, and thus far 58 Nike Academy alumni have gone on to earn professional contracts. This year’s attendees were empowered to register for an invitation to Nike Most Wanted via the Nike Football App, with coaches at local tryouts selecting the final participants.