Aspire Academy was established by an Emiri Decree, No. 16 of 2004, as an independent government-funded agency that reported directly to HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani through HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani. Later, an Emiri Decree – No.1 of 2008 – incorporated the Aspire Academy as a strategic business unit (SBU) into the new, parent organization of Aspire Zone Foundation.
Since its establishment in 2004, Aspire Academy is mandated to provide sports training and education to students with sporting potential, in an exceptional learning and sporting environment. The overall purpose is to have Qatari athletes that are well prepared in their sport, and academically, to meet the needs of the Qatari society and realize its aspirations in international sports competitions.
Thanks to a dedicated team of coaches, teachers, sports scientists, researchers, technicians, administrative and support personnel, Aspire Academy is delivering, evolving and researching its programs, activities and curriculum for the sporting needs of today and tomorrow. The expertise of the Academy’s workforce matches its passion and commitment, whether pioneering the next generation sports methodology, technology or educating the next generation of sport leaders.
Aspire Academy programs to develop well-educated sports champions are based around;
- innovative and comprehensive sport training methods with regular international competition opportunities
- global standard performance and sports science expertise, technology and research
- secondary schooling focused on developing educated youth athletes, leaders, lifelong leaders and internationally minded citizens
- partnerships across the globe that help to strengthen sport, sports science and academic outcomes
In addition and guided by the Qatar National Vision 2030 that calls for development of a healthy and competitive human capital, the Academy also has the life-changing community engagement initiative ASPIRE ACTIVE that fosters culturally sensitive lifelong recreational fitness activity and healthy lifestyle choices for the entire family to effectively address contemporary sedentary lifestyle consequences.
The open-to-all program offers unique pedagogical fitness, health and wellness education, nutrition and multisport activity for the community. Partnerships with local and international institutions concerned with community health and activity are leading to improving the physical activity education and levels in Qatar.
Facts and Figures
- The original intake of students in 2003–2004 included 31 Football players, ages 12–18.
The total number of full-time student-athletes enrolled in 2015-16 is 230 with approximately an additional 80 athletes attending the Academy part-time in any given year.
- Aspire typically works with 6,000+ young kids (ages 6–12) through Sport and Football skill development and talent identification programs throughout the country as a preliminary step towards future Academy scholarships.
- Every year, the Academy manages the professional sports pathway of 30–35 elite athletes and football players ages 18–24 as they progress through the senior ranks through HOPE project.
- In order to establish a successful professional Football career for its graduates, the Academy has invested in professional football clubs in Belgium and in Spain, as well as collaborations with several elite clubs and football associations around the world.
- There are a number of “core” sports at the Academy based on athlete scholarships and that include: Football, Athletics, Squash, Table Tennis, Fencing, and Shooting.
- As well as, the Academy provides developmental support to a number of Olympic sports and their Qatar Sports Federations including Golf, Gymnastics, Swimming, Tennis and Handball. In addition from 2015-16 season 6 football referees are provided with academic and professional development.
- Coaches and sports scientists from 25+ nations representing the most accomplished sporting nations in the world lead the Academy’s ambitious pathways.
- Aspire student-athletes undergo sports development program sessions up to eight times per week that are complemented with their schooling and competition commitments.
- Aspire’s student-athletes travel internationally to participate in training camps and/or competitions on behalf of Qatar and against top international counterparts several times throughout the year.
- Aspire Academy has strong ties with Qatar’s Sports Federations and the vast majority of Aspire student-athletes represent the national teams in age-group, junior and senior competitions.
- Since its inception in 2006, the Talent Identification Program at Aspire has screened over 30,000 prospective young athletes from Qatar primary schools system (SEC), or nominated by Qatari sports federations.
- The number of tests and testing sessions provided within Aspire Academy and Qatar surpasses 17,000 per year.
- With a strong focus on applied research, Sports Science staff have published, and/or collaborated on, 300+ peer reviewed scientific journal articles since 2006.
- Additionally, in this time Sports Science team members have delivered 100+ presentations at international scientific conferences.
- The number of student-athletes that have graduated from Aspire Academy since 2008 – the year of first graduating batch – has reached 247.
- 68.6% of student-athlete graduates have continued to pursue higher education, many of them continuing their sports career through university.
- 28.6% of student-athlete graduates progress to full-time work, including as sport professionals.
Aspire Football Dreams
- Aspire Football Dreams is the largest-ever football talent reach initiative with over 2.5 million young footballers throughout Asia, Latin America and Africa tested since the program’s inception in 2007.
- Annually, more than 650,000 youth are screened across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
- More than 800 playing fields are utilized every by the Aspire Football Dreams program to organize tryouts and football festivals in local communities.
- Over 6,000 community volunteers are involved in Aspire Football Dreams throughout the destination countries.
- Aspire Football Dreams distributes several thousands of footballs, football items and coaching instruction kits on an annual basis.
- AFD partners with the Leo Messi Foundation and Speak Up Africa in the Aspire Academy program Fight Against Malaria where mosquito protection nets are distributed to children by Aspire personnel, volunteer doctors and health professionals.
- Over 90% of the graduating student-players from the Aspire Football Dreams program have been selected by their respective Football Associations to represent their countries in junior and senior national team competitions.
- The number of participants in Aspire Active sessions delivered since the program commenced in February 2007 is a life-changing 2,100,000+.
- The hours of class-exercise time performed by Aspire Active members and visitors on a monthly basis is a stirring 28,046.
- The number of member-activity classes provided by Aspire Active since 2008 has surpassed the 150,000 milestone as of Nov. 2015. The overall monthly Classes occupancy rate exceeds 90%.