Like many things that break new ground, The Champion's Soccer Academy was born out of pain and necessity.
TCSA Founder, Frankie Burrows realised that young players of today have the same problem he had when he was a youngster trying to make his own way in the game, which boils down to this:
You can kick a ball about with your mates, join a local team or even get into a 'higher level team' if you have the 'talent'. But you still have the same problem to solve if you want to be the best you can be...
Where do you go to find that 'someone in your corner' who will challenge you? Nurture you? Teach you EVERYTHING (not just one or two bits) you need to know about the game?
Where do you find someone who will help you work on all the things that will make the difference in your game to squeeze every last drop out of your potential?
Until TCSA came along, there was virtually nowhere really to go...
It was 'sink or swim'. Unless maybe you got into a Pro Club. Who else has the time and, crucially, the expertise? (and even then, if you get released who will help you with all the things your coaches have asked you to 'go away and work on'?)
I've spent the last 20 years of my life uncovering secret after secret of how virtually ANY player can fulfil their potential in football, if they start now and have the desire and commitment.
I've also noticed the pitfalls that have de-railed so many players from getting to happiness and success through football.
Failure and 'Pain' Planting The Seeds of Success
I have dedicated my life to learning the 'Success Secrets' I missed out on so that other kids don't have to miss out on their dreams like I did. Even more importantly, to use football as a way to develop players into the people they want to become in life so they know how to feel good about themselves and get what they want.
I Needed Answers
I was extremely curious as to why my promising football career stalled at the age of 18 after being with Swansea City FC between 12-15 years of age (then again at 17 years of age) and in the Welsh Schools U18 squad. I became obsessed with what makes the difference between success and failure in football and life. Seeking answers and wanting to help other players meet their potential, I started my coaching career at 16 years old at Swansea College.
Since then, I've been all over the world learning about the very best Coaching Skills from some of the leading thinkers in Football youth development as well as other sports and discplines.
It was just little old me, a bag of balls, a few cones and bibs and a clapped out car starting out...
In the early days of TCSA ,it was a mad time to say the least. I was coming 'off the sick' so money was tight. I didn’t even have a Car to get to my sessions. I used to borrow my brother Billy’s car to get there…You had to get in on the passenger’s side and climb across to the drivers’ side because the drivers’ door was knackered. Usually, I’d drop the car back to Billy in St Thomas, and he’s drop me back to Landore from there…Plenty of times the car broke down. A couple of times I’d get back to Billy’s and he’d be up to his eyes in it putting his kids to bed…Couldn’t drop me home. There’s Franco lugging all his balls and equipment from St Thomas to Landore at half 9 in the night, on foot.
Since then it's been 5 years of 70-80 + hour weeks to get TCSA fully up and running.
What drives me
My girlfriend Rachel says to me “I wish I had your drive” (she's pretty driven herself when she wants me to keep the house tiday ha ha). So where does my drive come from? Well I’ve always been a passionate person. But without doubt, my drive today comes from the the experience of overcoming a chronic illness. For 4-5 years I was virtually house bound while I dealt with crippling pain and fatigue…but the one thing I had was time on my hands…Time to THINK. About what I REALLY wanted to do with my life. And despite the fact that I didn’t even like a lot of things about the ‘Football Industry’…I couldn’t hide the fact that the game itself was where my passion was and where I felt I could make the biggest difference to people’s lives.
In overcoming, the illness I had, I developed focus and discipline way beyond anything I'd known before. In my search to sort my health out...I also developed a lot of new skills…which put my already effective coaching on ‘steroids’ - I went from knowing I could make a positive difference to most kids to knowing I could help virtually ANY kid meet their full potential if they and their parents were committed enough...because I had the 'tools'...
In any case, I made countless painful mistakes and went through a very serious illness to complete the skill-set that makes the difference to so many players today. In searching for answers to my own health challenges, I really went 'off the beaten track', working and studying with some brilliant people. I discovered some crazy secrets of health and performance...that got me back thriving...and then helped me help others do the same. Over my career, I've invested over £60,000 in my education. Not to mention honing my skills through tens of thousands of hours coaching experience and reflective practice. Safe to say I'm obsessed.
After making a recovery and returning to Teaching, I noticed a positive difference in the responses I was able to get from kids. The same at Swansea City where I returned as Academy Coach. Local teams that I volunteered with, the same. I knew I was onto something...and the momentum grew from there...
It was around this time that I helped Sian Davies win the World Tae Kwon Do championship (and I know virtually nothing about Tae Kwon do), so you could say I was on a roll..
One day I sat down with then Swans' Academy Director, Tony Pennock and talked about the extra stuff I could do for the players. We agreed to do a pilot programme of additional sessions for parents and players at the club. This included some one-to-one time with many of the players and also helping the parents work on the kids' mindset and learning skills. The results were great. The players were flying...as a team and as individuals.
I went on to do the same with the Youth Team (which included Wales and Spurs player Ben Davies). There was a demand for more...from players and parents. They were asking to work with me privately, and TCSA was born.
We put on a summer programme, which sold out and we grew from there...
I was always determined that TCSA would be bigger than me (it had to be if we were to achieve our goals), so I assembled a team of coaches with proven track records of producing quality players and people. Great people like Darren Vincent and Huw Lloyd, two ex-Swansea City Coaches. James Prosser, a specialist in young athlete physical development. Plus former Liverpool youth Boss Malcolm Cook who has been such a great friend and supporter of TCSA since the beginning. We've had some fantastic guest coaches as well over the years like Daz Jones (A Licence Coach now with Swansea City), Andrew Stokes (formerly with Swansea City, now Lead coach at Manchester United International Academy) and John Murphy (still with Swansea City).
We're also proud to have helped develop up and coming coaches like Adam Morgan, David Redfern.
Today at The Champion's Soccer Academy, we work with players who are just beginning their journey of football development starting at 4 years old – ensuring they get the best possible start in the game - right up to full-time professional players who want to stand out from the crowd.
We went onto create two levels of coaching: 1. 'Foundation' and 2. 'Advanced' so that we could accommodate virtually any players who wanted to improve, no matter what their starting point.
With 20 players signed by Pro Clubs, and hundreds more churned out with more confidence, walking taller and prouder (not forgetting better skills) since then..winning the Welsh Super Cup, playing lots of games against Pro Clubs and being accepted into the Junior Premier League.. I still feel like we’re only just getting warming up...
Football is not like Golf where you can keep playing and even become a Champion in your 70's. Kids only have a small window of opportunity to fulfil their potential in this game...and if you start early enough and have the enough ambition, you can go a long way...not just on the pitch but off the pitch too...
A lot of the skills, and character it takes to succeed in Football can and will transfer into many other aspects of life when taught applied well. Just read our 'Success Stories' if you want confirmation of that...It doesn't happen by accident; just throwing the kids a ball and letting them get on with it (although sometimes that really is a great thing to do by the way...). It requires a 360 degree, holistic approach that positively influences every factor that can accelerate a player's development - technically, tactically, physically, mentally and socially...
How YOU Can Get Started TODAY
That's enough about us. What about you? Do you want to help your football-mad child excel? Learn how to use football to help set him up for an amazing life? Full of health, happiness, and new friendships? If so, you’re invited to take the next step and learn more about The Champion's Soccer Academy... Fair warning: Membership at TCSA is now 'Application Only'. Your next step is to book onto one of our limited Free Confidence and Skills-Boosting sessions.
Pick up the phone and call 01792 421600 to schedule a 15 minute Free Confidence and Skills-Boosting Chat with our New Member support Team.
Looking forward to meeting you and your family soon.
TCSA Founder & Director
P.S. I would have given ANYTHING to be a part of this Academy when I was a young player trying to make my way in the game. So why not give your football-mad son the best gift he could ever ask for? Enrol him on a our Free Confidence and Skills-Boosting session today - Call 01792 421600