Open Trials – First Team & Youth Academy

We are looking for the best footballers in northern Uganda!

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Over the next few weeks, we will be holding OPEN TRIALS in Gulu for both our (i) PROFESSIONAL FIRST TEAM (which will be competing in the regional league this year) and the (ii) YOUTH ACADEMY, with full-time football and academic scholarship opportunities available to earn for the new year.

The FIRST TEAM open trial will take place on Saturday, September 26th, with the YOUTH ACADEMY open trial scheduled for Saturday, October 10th. Both events will take place at St. Joseph’s College Layibi, with registration starting at 9am and the open trials hitting the field no later than 10:30am.

All of the details for both Open Trials are below:

WHO: There is NO AGE RESTRICTION for this trial. This trial is open to all ‘unattached’ footballers.
DATE: Saturday, September 26th
TIME: Registration at 9am. Open Trial to begin at 10:30am sharp!
LOCATION: St. Joseph’s College Layibi

YOUTH ACADEMY (U11 to U15) – Open Trial
WHO: This Open Trial is for players born in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005 ONLY! No players born earlier than 2001 will be permitted to tryout.
DATE: Saturday, October 10th
TIME: Registration at 9am. Open trial to begin at 10:30am sharp!
LOCATION: St. Joseph’s College Layibi


– This is the ONLY ONE-DAY open trial that will take place in GULU & ALL SURROUNDING DISTRICTS. If you want to tryout for Gulu United this year, you MUST attend this open trial.

YOU are responsible for YOUR OWN travel, feeding and accommodation. This is a one-day open trial. You will not be required to stay overnight in Gulu.

YOU are responsible for YOUR OWN football boots, equipment and training kit.

We look forward to seeing you on the field!

FREE Football Fan & Coach Forum in Toronto

In downtown Toronto on Thursday, September 10th at 7pm we are hosting the inaugural Football for Good Forum, with a focus on “Youth Soccer, Globalization and the Modern Game”.

The event will include an expert panel, Q&A and reception that promises to be an interactive and lively evening where we’ll explore youth soccer, academies, the international transfer market and competing on the world stage. CLICK HERE to register, and to find more information.

Along with our host James Sharman (Sportsnet Soccer), the panel will include Ose Aibangee (Academy Director, Brentford FC), Tim Bezbatchenko (General Manager, Toronto FC), Kristian Jack (TSN Soccer) and Adrian Bradbury (International & Academy Director, Football for Good / Gulu United Football Club).

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And to get things started, Kristian Jack will lead the crowd through his own brand of ‘world football trivia’. You won’t want to miss it!

If you’re a player, coach, administrator or a fan of the beautiful game, this is the event for you. There are ONLY 175 FREE TICKETS available, so be sure to REGISTER TODAY!

CLICK HERE for more information, panel bios and to reserve your tickets.

Sportsnet Magazine Feature Now Online!

In April, Sportsnet Magazine writer Ryan Dixon and photographer Alexi Hobbs spent a week with us and the Gulu United Youth Academy.

Their finished product, GULU RISES, is a 10-page feature that hit newsstands in June and is now online!.

Sportsnet Magazine’s ‘big read’ on Gulu United opens, “In a land where terror reigned and children killed, life is starting to get back to normal. A new soccer academy has opened, and the Canadian responsible sees it as much more than charity — he believes there’s money to be made.”

CLICK HERE (or on the image above) to read the full feature article.

Green Lights, Red Lights and Two Wins

On Sunday, July 7th, Gulu United hosted a pair of matches at Gulu High School, with both efforts being another big step forward for our youth sides.

After spending two weeks with Brentford FC Academy coach Dan Wright, with a focus on defending (green light / red light) and problem solving, the boys took responsibility for their game and each other . . . and it showed.

In the opener, the U17s applied constant high pressure, combined with composure in front of their own goal to earn a comfortable 2-0 win over Fields of Dreams (a local all-star side). With plenty of possession, Gulu United finally broke the deadlock off of a corner kick, with Isaac Bradbury applying a powerful finish with his head.

Derick Ocan, who was dangerous all afternoon, put the match away early in the second half. ‘Brown’ latched onto a perfect through ball from Justin Opiro and neatly chipped it pasted the charging goalkeeper.

In the nightcap, the U21s dominated the ball and bossed the midfield for a 1-0 victory over local men’s side Nile FC, who represent the local army barracks.

Giving away plenty of size and experience didn’t seem to matter, with both Francis Onekalit and Kipper Luwalo coming close in the opening minutes.

Gulu United finally got their reward early in the second half when Onekalit clipped a ball past the keeper (and sacrificing his body in the process), leaving it for Dradiga Otim to tap in.

More match reports, photos and video are coming soon!

Free Brentford FC Coaching Clinic in Gulu

This is a FREE Professional Youth Football Coaching Clinic in Gulu, Uganda with Dan Wright of the Brentford FC Youth Academy. This FREE professional youth football coaching clinic is open to all coaches in the region. This event is being hosted by the Gulu United Football Club. The session will be run by academy coach Dan Wright of England’s Brentford Football Club, a partner club of Gulu United FC. Dan will lead a two-hour on-field session that will include an introduction to the youth training program at Brentford FC, followed by an on-field training session — and will conclude with a discussion and question and answer session.



Date: Saturday, June 27th

Time: 10:00 am (SHARP!) to 12:00 noon

Location: Gulu United Training Ground (St. Joseph’s College, Layibi)

Registration: Registration will be open between 3pm to 6pm ONLY on Friday, June 26th at the Gulu United Training Ground (St. Joseph’s College, Layibi).

Contact: For more information please contact James Obalo, Gulu United Public Relations Director at 0772.347.179.

Gulu United’s Triple Play In Kitgum

On June 20th, Gulu United ventured to Kitgum for a triple header of matches against ‘select’ sides that included the best players in the district. And we have a little video to share courtesy of Brentford FC Academy coach Dan Wright.

The Gulu United U15s and U17s took on teams 2, 3 and even 4 years their senior, and still dominated the ball. The U15s managed a 1-1 draw with Owen Bradbury scoring the equalizer.

Continue reading

Starting from Scratch: Academy Football 101

So, you want a start a football academy? Well, we do. And, we have.

On his personal blog, Gulu United Academy Director Adrian Bradbury has started to share our journey and the evolution of what we deliver on the pitch — and here’s hoping you can learn from all of our mistakes along the way. This is definitely going to be ‘Academy Football 101′ — simply an introduction to building from the bottom up.

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CLICK HERE to find weekly updates on everything from our structure and philosophy to our planning and sample session plans.

And lets be clear, there is no ‘right’ or ‘one’ way to do youth academy football.

There are however, two non-negotiables and they are (i) a commitment to a long-term vision (and living with the very public short-term failures and criticism) and (ii) doing the work every single day.