Definition of Feeder Team (Farm Team)

A feeder team (or farm team) is a club or team that is set up to provide experience or playing time to younger players for its parent team. In association football, this normally is a club in a lower division or even other countries that are generally regarded as being less challenging.

One of the biggest examples of a successful feeder team over the past decade or so can be found in the relationship between Chelsea FC in England and Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands. Chelsea is known for their "loan army" that they send all over Europe to get more experienced and raise their value. That way, they either become good enough for the first team or raise their own value to sell.

Although they don't exist in England, there are teams in other countries that act as direct feeder teams and cannot be promoted to the first tier. These are reserve teams like Real Madrid Castilla and Bayern Munich II. Teams in England do have youth teams that participate in their own competitions, but these don't count as feeder teams.

One of the parts of football that makes feeder teams less common than in many other sports is the ability of clubs to loan out their players to nearly any other club- even those in the same league. Thus, players can get experience without needing the connection between two clubs and is instead based on what is best between the two clubs.

These feeder teams can lead to the emergence of some of the best players in the world, as they are given time to develop mentally and technically. Yet, some prefer the traditional system of just loaning players out to the clubs that will play them, rather than forming a more permanent bond between the two.