''Elite Football School'' is a certification given by the German Football Association (DFB) in recognition of a successful network linking school, football academy and club. This certification ensures that all top talents have access to comprehensive help and services with the aim of promoting their sporting and academic progression simultaneously.
''Elite Football Schools, which have been established through the close cooperation of the DFB and clubs across Germany, will have a vital role to play in helping talented young people cope with the dual burden of school and high-level sport. The establishment of Elite Football Schools represents a significant step as we look to optimise the way in which we nurture our country's greatest talents...", said former DFB President Dr. Theo Zwanziger on the occasion of the inauguration of the first-ever Elite Football School in Cottbus on 15 September 2006.
The objectives of Wiesbaden's ''Elite Football School'':
- Dual education: players should be given a high-quality sporting education while simultaneously achieving their goals in both school and at work
- Optimised integration of high-performance football and school
- Optimised coordination of both sporting and academic demands
- Assistance in coping with the dual pressures of school and football
- Performance-oriented youth development from school years 5-13, in collaboration with cooperation partners ''Fußball-Talentförderung Wiesbaden'' and ''Schulfußballzentrum Wiesbaden'' (Elly-Heuss-Schule).
Wiesbaden's Elly-Heuss School has been an ''Elite Football School'' since 2008, working together in close collaboration with the SV Wehen Wiesbaden Youth Performance Centre. Additional schools involved in the youth development programme alongside the Elly-Heuss School are the Werner von Siemens Secondary School and the Wolfram von Eschenbach Secondary School.
The Elly-Heuss School offers so-called ball sports classes for gifted children. These classes are made up of approximately 30 children each, with a third of the children in each class specialised in volleyball, handball and football respectively. The childrens' morning lessons across the week include four hours of sport specific lessons, designed to educate and encourage the children in their specific sport. "With the two additional training units in the morning, this system means we can offer participating players an even more comprehensive football education," says Ralf Peuckmann, fundamentals and development coordinator at SV Wehen Wiesbaden.
The football training ground is located in Wiesbaden's Europaviertel. The grass pitches provide ideal training conditions, while the adjacent gym hall can be used for sessions in winter. Rainer Hofmann, sports and biology teacher at the Elly-Heuss School, is the person responsible for overseeing the talent development training sessions. Hofmann works alongside Ralf Peuckmann, who also takes ball sport classes in the morning. The two of them ensure that the children receive a top-level footballing education. "The talent development sessions in the afternoon have proved a valuable addition to our programme. They certainly help take the strain off our young talents, who are often tired out by the dual demands of both school and football," says Peuckmann. Both coaches are in possession of UEFA A-licence coaching qualifications. Different aspects of the game are generally worked on in monthly blocks.
In addition to football training, great importance is placed on the pupils' academic performance. Supplementary lessons and flexible, individually-tailored exam preparation ensure that pupils are granted the perfect conditions in which to prosper. After lunch in the Asklepios Paulinen Clinic, homework is done under the teachers' supervision. Core values such as politeness, reliability and punctuality are also taught.
"As part of the holistic training of our junior players, The elite football school is a very important component of our holistic approach to developing youth players. The exceptionally positive and stable development of our players in the ball sports classes is a testament to the success of the concept. We are very much committed to integrating as many young players into the system as possible," says Peuckmann.