FFA to conduct youth development review as Eric Abrams departs National Technical Director role

Football Federation Australia (FFA) can today advise that National Technical Director (NTD), Eric Abrams, will leave FFA after four years in the role, as the organisation seeks to review and evolve its male and female youth development practices for the opportunities and challenges facing Australian football in the years ahead.

Abrams, who joined FFA in 2014 after a long period involved with Belgium’s national youth teams, departs the organisation having overseen Australia’s youth development structures during an important phase in the game’s development. 

Throughout that period, Abrams’ knowledge and expertise have been crucial in the implementation of several national programs, including the Club Academy Accreditation System and High Performance Football Schools. Abrams has also worked closely with Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League clubs, as well as State and Territory Member Federations, to ensure that their player development practices are aligned.

As the game continues to grow in Australia, FFA has identified the need to take a more holistic approach to youth development to build upon the foundations in place. Over the coming weeks and months, FFA will engage with a wide variety of stakeholders with the intention of expanding the mix of local and international expertise at its fingertips. 

This ongoing engagement will include the selection of a new National Technical Director with the assistance of a panel of external experts, as well as the establishment of a National Youth Development Panel to advise FFA and the new NTD on a continuous basis to enhance and guide Australia’s elite youth development pathways. 

In addition, the football community will be provided with the opportunity to voice their opinion regarding the state of play at youth level, including coaching, the affordability of the game, and the pathway from grassroots to higher levels of the sport as part of a national youth development review.

This process will complement an analysis of international youth football trends and standards, which will help Australia to benchmark itself against its competitors globally and better understand where key improvements need to be made for the game to continue to develop.  

FFA Chief Executive Officer, Mr David Gallop AM, said a collaborative approach is necessary for the game to overcome its hurdles. 

“While the fundamentals of football in Australia are undeniably strong, there are some significant challenges that must be resolved if we are to advance quickly as a football nation,” said Gallop. “At youth level we have identified the need to draw upon the knowledge of more Australians, while also continuing to recognise and respect the role that international football has on the sport.”

“Eric (Abrams) has made a telling contribution to football in Australia, and we thank him for his service and professionalism over the past four years.”

“We feel that this is the right time to make a change as we seek to unite Australia’s football community and stimulate discussion about innovative ways to build upon the foundations that exist from grassroots to professional clubs across the nation,” he said. 

FFA will provide further details regarding the appointment of its new NTD, National Youth Development Panel, and national youth development review in due course.