The Football Federation of Australia’s Centre of Excellence at the AIS has two broad aims - to identify and develop players for the national under-17 team (the 'Joeys') and to prepare players for professional careers. The program does not accept applications but scholarships are offered to exceptional 14-17 year old players.
Players are identified at National Championships, through National Training Centre programs and Hyundai A-League Academies. Scholarships are for one year initially with the possibility of a second year being offered to players that continue to show strong potential. It is a residential program with all players from outside the Australian Capital Territory relocating to Canberra to be accommodated with local families through the Homestay Program.
Players continue their education while in Canberra with schooling and training/playing requirements balanced to meet all needs. Players regularly get to mix with the cream of Australia’s developing and elite athletes from many sports in the AIS environment.
The program offers a comprehensive approach to every aspect of preparing players for the rigours of professional competition with a support team that works cooperatively to provide input to players and program staff. Major areas covered by AIS professionals include sports psychology, nutrition, physiology, medical, physiotherapy, massage and strength and conditioning.
The FFA Centre of Excellence is a key element of the Football Federation of Australia (FFA)’s elite development pathway and endeavours to provide the cream of Australia’s youth in this age group with the best possible domestic and international competition opportunities. The FFA Centre of Excellence team plays in the National Youth League and the National Premier League: Capital Football.
The program is well known and respected around the world as a quality breeding ground for prospective professional players.