Finland elevates youth football with FIFA Talent Development Scheme Game Days

FIFA, 12 Jun 2024


"Every talent deserves a chance! No matter where you live, or what your gender is – we bring Finland together!" This powerful motto encapsulated the essence of the game-changing events that unfolded under the FIFA Talent Development Scheme (TDS) in Finland on 3rd and 4th June.

The initiative, designed to provide elite young players with the competitive environment needed for excellence and international recognition, set the stage for a new era in Finnish youth football.

The FIFA TDS aims to bridge gaps in talent identification and development, ensuring that young players around the world get the chance to succeed. The TDS Game Days, organised six times annually for both boys and girls, including one international match day for selected teams, offer a consistent platform for players to enhance their skills. This regular schedule not only prepares them for prestigious tournaments such as the FIFA U-17 World Cup™ but also opens doors for potential transfers to renowned clubs.

Recognising the limitation in Finland's domestic league concerning competitive opportunities for its best talents, the TDS Game Days emerged as a solution. By featuring both local and international matches, often in collaboration with other Nordic countries, these events present a wide range of competitive experiences. The role of the FIFA TDS here is crucial, as it facilitates these possibilities, providing structure and resources to make such activities a reality.


Following the FIND-TRAIN-PLAY methodology, the TDS Game Days explore every aspect of talent development. From identifying potential elite players to providing targeted education for both players and coaches, and finally, offering a structured environment where the demands of competitive matches are experienced firsthand, the programme ensures holistic growth.

Tailored game formats add another dimension to player assessment. Mornings are dedicated to small-sided games, setting a dynamic, fast-paced stage for showcasing abilities, while afternoons focus on 11-a-side matches, emphasising different elements of players' skills and tactical understanding.

Engagement and education are key components of the TDS Game Days. Various stakeholders, including parents, club coaches, MA coaches, Talent ID managers, actively participate, promoting a collaborative environment oriented towards nurturing young talent.

"The success of the TDS Game Days in Finland illustrates the importance of its potential to strengthen youth national teams and set the foundation for international success. Offering a structured, high-quality alternative to traditional international friendly matches, the programme stands as a model of inspiration for other nations, contributing to global football talent growth," says Hesterine De Reus, FIFA TDS Lead. "I think the TDS game days are a great solution for countries to provide talent with more competitive game time and a great opportunity for FIFA to get more visibility."

One remarkable moment during the week was the Women's Euro qualifying match between Finland and The Netherlands. Held at a sold-out Tammela stadium with almost 8,000 spectators, the event underscored the increasing support for women's football, further highlighting the impact and significance of the TDS Game Days.


What is the FIFA Talent Development Scheme?

Designed to give every talent a chance, the FIFA TDS is a commitment to excellence in talent development and high performance. Offering a global perspective, the programme aspires to shape the future of football by developing elite young talents and elevating the entire football ecosystem.

We are creating a sustainable legacy for long-term talent development through academies, national teams, talent identification and development, elite coaches, structured competitions, and education. Working together with our Member Associations, this is a fundamental step for FIFA towards the objective of enhancing the competitiveness of national teams all over the world.

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