The double pass Talent Development Framework

The battle for the most talented players raised due to the liberalisation of the player labour market and tremendous revenue streams in several national competitions. This context is stimulating the quest for professionalisation with regard to talent development. At the same time, there is a need for a European standard for profiling high quality and productive Academies.

By means of doctoral research, the double pass Talent Development Framework has recently been optimised by an exploration phase, a quantitative survey (85 Academy Managers from more than 35 countries) and semi-structured interviews with 20 Academy Managers. Clubs were classified as <10 million, 10-50 million, 50-100 million and >100 million euro revenue to reveal if certain standards were revenue-dependent.

The Talent Development Framework is consisting of European standards grouped into 10 overall dimensions. The framework is using different theories to come to a relevant and scientifically researched framework. You can find it below:

1 A first element is the inside-out perspective which refers to the resources and processes that lead to organisational effectiveness. Bringing resources (e.g. staff) together with processes (e.g. individual development) enhances the organisational capacity of a professional club.

2 A second element is the outside-in perspective based on the model of Porter (2008). The analysis of the professional environment gave a broad description of influencing factors on talent development in a European context. The five forces (e.g. suppliers) are indicated on the framework.

Talent Development Framework

FC Dallas

Double pass has been assessing and supporting the USSF Development Academies of MLS and non MLS clubs in the season 2015-2016.

MLS Soccer clubs’ owners often question whether youth development must be seen as a return on investment rather than a cost.

The graph below from KPMG Football Benchmark shows that FC Dallas had the most points in the regular MLS 2016 season whilst having the lowest payroll of all MLS clubs.

FC Dallas home-grown player productivity

When we dig one step further, we see that FC Dallas is achieving this sportive success by integrating own Academy developed players in their first team.

FC Dallas is one of the best in class in our assessments of home-grown player productivity (=the number of players developed in the own academy transitioning to the 1st team).

Eight home-grown players played at least three games as starter or substitute over the last three seasons. Knowing that the average for the whole MLS is three players per club, this underlines the strong vision and plan with regard to talent development of FC Dallas. And, this is clearly paying off for the first team!

Is there return on investment of talent development?

We have been assessing German Bundesliga clubs since 2006 through different cycles. These assessments emphasised the awareness about the crucial importance of talent development and resulted in more efficiently and effectively organised clubs.

It is important to state that the implementation of our double pass model using our methodology and concept is a reason for success, but not the only one. Recent doctoral research at the University of Brussels showed that an increase in productivity (=own trained academy players transitioning to a professional environment) of a club can be explained for 54% by the criteria of our double pass model. The other 46% are non-controllable factors on which one does not have any impact on (e.g. geographic location, culture, economic situation,…).

Knowing this, we have looked at the productivity (and thus return on investment) of an academy from two angles: productivity for the own first team on the one hand, and for other first teams in the German Bundesliga on the other.



Borussia VfL Mönchengladbach

In this graph we visualise the players that were developed in the Borussia Mönchengladbach academy and transitioning to the own first team of Borussia Mönchengladbach. The market value of new homegrown players into the first team is based on the year of entrance into the first team. Source :

“The graph shows, that many good processes and productivity were initiated by the certification process.”

Roland Virkus, Academy Director Borussia Mönchengladbach


SV Werder Bremen

In this graph we visualise the players that were developed in the Werder Bremen academy and transitioning to the first teams of other Bundesliga clubs.

“The productivity to a first team squad is the most important criterium for our youth development! The certification process gives us valuable indications for further improvements in this area.“

Björn Schierenbeck, Academy Director Werder Bremen

We share these data with the permission of the respective clubs.

Flemish Football Association (Voetbal Vlaanderen)

The cooperation with double pass was an important breakthrough and step forward in our relationship with the clubs and their academies. Double pass is a catalyst in the Belgian Talent Development System and the project is an essential means to help the clubs to run their academies. It is a leverage for the implementation of our football development philosophy.

Bob Browaeys – Technical Director Belgian FA & U17 National Team Coach

Since 2003, on a three year cycle base, 1.190 professional and grassroots audits were carried out in the double pass auditing, certification and supporting project. Quality labels are stimulating the talent development processes of the academies and are today a means for the organisation of youth competitions.
During our yearly Quality in Sports Happening we celebrate and reward those clubs which have had an audit in the past football season. Next to that, double pass wishes to emphasise the daily efforts of many volunteers and reward them for their merits.

Danish Football League (Division foreningen)

Our partnership plays a key role in the further professionalisation of our clubs regarding their talent development work. The clear findings, benchmarks and recommendations that double pass proposes are the basis for our strategic plan for the future.

Claus Thomsen - CEO Danish League

In the summer of 2015 double pass has come to an agreement with the Danish League (Divisionsforeningen) to assess and support their talent development system.
The assessments of the Danish professional clubs are twofold. The first wave of assessments took place from March until June 2016 (15 A license clubs). The second wave takes place from September 2016 until June 2017 (14 B/T license clubs).
Subsequently, double pass supports the 15 A license professional clubs during the ‘Master Class Academy Management’. Sporting Directors, Academy Managers, Heads of Coaching and Youth Coaches are immersed into the critical success factors to run a professional academy. This Master Class, including 7 workshops, an internship and an examination, runs from September 2016 until May 2017.