IMG Academy's Scott Dean: "If you're all in, you won't get better, faster, anywhere else than here."

Scott Dean, 27 Apr 2023


Can you cultivate aspiring young athletes in a high-performance environment while promoting their academic careers at the same time? The IMG Academy does just that.

Scott Dean is Director of Athletics at the IMG academy in the United States. The IMG Academy is a multi-sport school based in Florida, and it has played a part in developing hundreds of professional athletes, including many household names. Before he became Director of Athletics, Dean was the school's Director of Soccer. In this video, he provides a detailed overview of IMG's successful soccer programme and explains the broader principles that underpin all areas of the organisation.

Dean's core areas of focus include: 

  • working in concert with the directors of each of the academy's sports;

  • developing curricula that cater for all levels of athletes within the academy;

  • operating an institution that equips aspiring athletes with the skills to thrive in both sporting and non-sporting careers.

Watch interview

Part 1: The Academy and Dean's role
Part 2: The soccer programme, the training year, and training methodology
Part 3: Developing professionals and providing a safety net

Read summary

Part 1: The Academy and Dean's role
The IMG Academy began life as a tennis school. Over the decades, it has incorporated more disciplines into its portfolio, and it now offers programmes in nine sports, including soccer. As Dean explains, the academy's focus on mental conditioning, nutrition, and strength and conditioning sets it apart from other schools and academies in the United States. As Director of Athletics, it is Dean's job to oversee all nine sports, and he works together with the directors responsible for each discipline to tailor curricula that cater for elite performers and college-level athletes alike.

Part 2: The soccer programme, the training year, and training methodology
IMG's soccer programme, the structure of its training year and its approach to training all set it apart from other schools in the United States. Its athletes range in age from U-12 to U-19, and the team runs 22 teams in total, including both boys' and girls' sides. Whereas most schools or US clubs operate just one team for each age group, IMG runs multiple teams in each age bracket.  

Another key difference in comparison to other academies is the IMG's take on the nine-month training year. At the beginning of the season, its teams focus less on results and more on being competitive, with a view to developing the team over the course of the year. This approach means IMG Academy teams are in full-flow in June, when the US national championships come around. The school's player-centred training methodology complements this approach, using the academy's athletic resources to get the best out of players on the pitch.

Part 3: Developing professionals and providing a safety net
Students at the IMG Academy live a high-performance lifestyle on the pitch and in the classroom. This elite environment means pupils quickly become familiar with the responsibilities of professional athletes, making them attractive targets for college sports teams. At the same time, they receive a top-quality academic education, so they have something to fall back on if their sporting journey doesn't go as planned. Dean can't guarantee college scholarships to every pupil, but he does promise that if you commit yourself to the IMG Academy, you will develop faster than you would anywhere else.

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