Football can be much more than a game on the field – it can be a tool for building strong, ethical and complete young people. Deeply rooted in the concept of holistic development, this vision remains a theoretical ideal in many countries. In order to transform theory into practice, the project team decided to create a brochure that will serve as a theoretical and experiential guide for coaches.

At the head of this demanding undertaking are experts from different institutions: Dragan Atanasov from Singidunum University in Belgrade, Lenče Veličkovska from the Faculty of Physical Education in Skopje, Rita Nunes from Ginásio Clube Português and Mustafa Levent İnce from Middle East Technical University in Ankara.

But, since there is no theory without practice, we also included training experts. Cooperation was established with coaches from different football clubs: Nikola Jovanović from FC Grafičar, Sanjin Mešić from FC Željezničar, Hristos Dokov from PFC Ludogorets, Erdem Erdal from FC Antalyaspor and Marko Radanić from HNK Gorica. They will bridge the gap between theory and practice, test models, provide valuable practical advice and help implement theoretical knowledge.

Our brochure will not only theoretically explain the principles of holistic development, but will also offer practical solutions, advice and field-tested methods. The real strength of the brochure lies in thoroughness and consensus. The brochure will be validated by 40 coaches and experts with the aim of becoming an invaluable tool in the hands of those who shape future sports talents. Our goal is that each coach, with the help of this brochure, becomes a better pedagogue, an expert in managing challenges in terms of the overall development of young people, and a mentor who will know how to best use the knowledge and experience of colleagues. In simple words, this brochure is like a compass for coaches.

Human rights expert Goran Beus Richembergh is responsible for the integrity and ethical framework of this project, creating ethical codes adapted to the specifics of football and the needs of the coaching community. Codes of ethics will cover clubs, parents and children.

The brochure and codes of ethics follow the UEFA guidelines for working with young people and children.

The piloting of the idea has started in 2021, still – making substantial progress only after receiving a comprehensive research, which was coordinated by the Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory of the University of Belgrade.

All material for the brochure will be tested first-hand, at a meeting of coaches in Serbia. By the end of the year, we plan to finalize the content of the brochure, and the beginning of 2024 is reserved for its design and pre-press. The launch of the final version is expected in September 2024. In the meantime, workshops and webinars will follow as part of the process of promotion, education and field testing of the brochure to eventually create the final version.