During 2010, thousands of undiscovered footballers participated in local trials in 47 nations around the world, all competing for the opportunity to earn one of eight life-changing contracts with the Nike Academy 2011/12.
A spot in the Academy means the players will learn from top-level coaches, train like pros and play a full season of football in the UK under the eyes of Premier League scouts. Only the best have been selected, and on 18 January, 100 finalists from over 40 countries across the globe will come together to define their destiny in the Nike Chance Final Trials.
There are four UK finalists, and they were invited down to our Carrington training facility to help with their preparation and give them the best possible chance of signing one of those contracts.
First up was a session with Rio Ferdinand, where he spent time with the players and passed on his advice and guidance for the journey ahead. Rio is acting as group mentor for the finalists representing the UK, and you can watch a video of him mentoring the players here.
Next up was a Mental Development session with Rene Meulensteen, and as the first-team coach has won almost every trophy in football with United, he knows how to get the guys mentally prepared for the finals. Rene focused on two key mental development sections – decision-making and controlling your emotions, click here to read his expert adivce.