#Good practice

Talent identification in Finland

FIFA, 14 Mar 2024


After many years in the doldrums, Finland’s national teams have emerged as a real force in recent years. In this presentation, Marianne Miettinen explains the Nordic nation’s unique talent ID philosophy, and how FIFA is helping to implement it.

In 2006, Marianne Miettinen became the first Finnish woman to earn a UEFA Pro Licence, before going on to coach her country’s women’s youth teams at U18, U19 and U20 level. Who better, then, to explain how the Finnish FA’s approach to talent development reflects Finnish society, and how FIFA’s Talent Development Scheme (TDS) is helping her colleagues to identify and develop future internationals across her homeland? Her presentation is followed by a Q&A with FIFA Technical Expert Hesterine de Reus.

Watch presentation

Part 1: The Finnish approach to talent development
Part 2: Finland’s talent ID pyramid
Part 3: The monitoring pathway and regional talent ID
Part 4: Q&A

Read summary

Part 1: The Finnish approach to talent development
The Finnish FA’s talent development strategy dates from 2020 (an updated version will be released soon) and is designed to reflect two fundamental principles of Finnish society. The first is that Finnish law guarantees the right of children under 16 to be educated in their local areas, which means the FA cannot relocate youngsters around the country for football training. The second is Finland’s strong societal commitment to equality, a commitment that fits perfectly with FIFA’s stated aim of giving every talent a chance.

Part 2: Finland’s talent ID pyramid
The TDS is supporting the Finnish FA in a number of areas, including in its efforts to identify its most promising youngsters. As part of this effort, FIFA provides funding for 30 Talent Coaches, who work with boys and girls in clubs across the country as well as serving as assistants to national team coaches. This means the TDS plays a role in linking the grassroots to national youth sides, as well as helping the Finnish FA to monitor as many players as possible and raising awareness of the demands of youth football within clubs.

Part 3: The monitoring pathway and regional talent ID
There are approximately 160,000 registered youth players at Finnish clubs. The Finnish FA aims to take about 20% of that number into its well-defined development pyramid, with about one in ten of those youngsters progressing to the point where they can be considered for the national sides. As Miettinen explains, the standard of Finnish youth football is not as high as elite leagues in some other countries, and the Finnish FA is finding innovative ways to compensate, including by providing opportunities to play futsal and mixed-gender football.


You showed the map of Finland, and geography is a challenge for you. How can the FIFA TDS support young players in the north of the country, which is less populated than the south?

What benefits do you think the Game Days will bring to player development?

What are the benefits for your coaches?

The Finnish FA has an integrated approach to talent development that applies equally to boys and girls. How is that approach reflected in the talent development system?

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