Bodo Glimt play in the Norwegian top flight and Odense in its Danish equivalent and between them the two clubs coach and develop around 500 young players.
But there are differences in the way the two clubs operate. Odense take youngsters from the age of six but in Norway Bode Glimt players as young as three-years-old play in a grassroots environment before joining a more structured set-up at the age of 13.
Bodo Glimt’s Foundation Leader Tarald Lagsand explained why they see Albion as a role model club.
He said, “The club’s coaching education is really strong and also their coaches’ profile. Brighton have a very good structure all the way through their academy and it was really fascinating to hear how it is run and how they develop players.
“We have also visited Chelsea on this trip, but we think Brighton is better! Obviously it’s a different scale in our clubs compared to Brighton, and there are differences between the way Bodo Glimt run our youth programme compared to Odense, but the fundamentals are the same and there is a lot of best practice at Brighton which we can hopefully bring in to our clubs.”
Bode Glimt are one of the northern-most clubs in Europe, playing their home games within the Arctic Circle. Their season starts again in March and as they are hoping to invite Albion teams to a youth tournament later this year to help strengthen links between the clubs.
Mads Holm, youth development coach with Odense, said, “We had an amazing visit. We must have met 25 different people from various departments and they have been so friendly and helpful. It is a great club to come to.
“In England the big clubs have role model players youngsters can aspire to. There are less stars in Denmark and Norway but Christian Eriksen was a member of Odense’s Academy and hopefully in the future we can develop a few more players like him.”
The Scandinavian party rounded off their two-day visit to watching the Premier League game against Watford at the Amex.
Albion’s Academy Manager John Morling said, “It was great to welcome the representatives from Odense and Bode Glimt to the American Express Elite Performance Centre and pleasing to hear how much they admire the Academy model we have built at the club.
“We shared a lot of best practice with them but there are processes at their clubs which we can learn from as well. We hope this is the start of a strong partnership with Odense and Bode Glimt and one we are looking to develop in the future.”