articles & news

YPT brings you the latest news and information from the worlds best academies

I’m sitting in the office of Koen Daerden, Technical director at KRC Genk’s youth department as the former club captain describes the challenges that the Manchester City playmaker’s youth coaches faced.

“At times Kevin would enter disputes with both teammates and coaches; it wasn’t always easy. But these things are normal. The special ones with extra talent have their own vision and he went on to do very well, of course. He’s a special one.”

The next of our live online coaching sessions running throughout the current lockdown will continue to help you with your Saturday morning training routine…

The current nationwide lockdown restrictions are hitting grassroots sport hard once again, with training on hold, matches suspended and the development of young players paused for the foreseeable future.

However, Chelsea FC have the perfect answer to fill your weekend training gaps. Coaches Corner Live is a series of weekly live coaching sessions to help young players stay active and maintain their training from home.

Real Madrid are happy to break the world transfer record but they have also invested €100m in building an academy they call ‘the greatest sports facility ever built by a football club’

The scores were locked at 2-2 when Marco Asensio hit a 25-yard rocket that dipped and whipped in front of Manuel Neuer’s face before landing in the bottom corner. Ecstasy and an eight-man pile-on ensue as the other player screams expletives at the German goalkeeper and claims his controller is faulty. With less than four hours to go until kick-off, the Cadete B players are supposed to be relaxing before a testing league encounter under the lights. Playing a Fifa tournament isn’t exactly doing the trick.

The Premier League began coronavirus testing academy players on Tuesday after concerns over increased cases at youth level.

Academy players and staff will now be tested twice weekly using lateral flow tests. A number of clubs have had issues with Covid outbreaks at academy level, with Arsenal and Chelsea both having had to close their youth training centres at times this season.

“Effort, Dedication, Devotion, Glory.” Those are the first and last words the young hopefuls see as they enter and leave the Sporting Clube de Portugal academy. I had visited Benfica’s €15m complex the night before and was immediately struck by the contrasting values at this rural complex in Alcochete. Perhaps it was the €0.40 coffee served to me in the clubhouse by a bronzed pensioner who was wearing a permanent scowl. Without extravagances, this is a place for football.

That’s after the Dens Park club teamed up with the successful St John’s RC High School in the city to host their first-ever performance school, with work starting this summer.

Currently a Scottish FA performance school, Dundee are looking to continue the success of that program in the coming years as they “aim to offer the most comprehensive football and education programme in Scotland”.

I was at a trimonthly training day, held at the Centro Sportivo Bortolotti, where the doors are opened to coaches of junior teams in neighbouring areas, and was immediately taken back by both the presence of and respect for the coaches and staff around the club. The team shine on the European stage whilst working on a shoestring budget, resulting in a first team that heavily features academy graduates.

The Club is releasing free video content from our Global Football Development team – the first part of which is out today – to help keep budding footballers active during lockdown.

With the help of our expert coaches, the content is aimed at keeping children physically active and promoting positive mental wellbeing.


Academy bosses are worried about the new Covid testing for squads that started this week.

Premier League Under 23 and Under 18 teams have had polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests as part of an agreed programme, having had no testing previously.

Those are in line with their senior squads but will now give way for twice-weekly lateral flow tests, which produce results in 30 minutes.  

CRAIG MULHOLLAND is confident the Rangers academy can emerge stronger from the Covid pandemic as the Light Blues bid to produce their own stars of the future.

Supporters have played their part in that ambition once again in recent months and the Rangers Youth Development Company this week handed over a cheque for £450,000 to the youth structure at Auchenhowie.

Benfica have made more than £230m in the last three years from selling academy graduates. This is how they develop their young players

“Look at Ederson of Manchester City. When he came to me he was just a lad from the Favelas, too scared to leave his own penalty area. Now he takes bigger risks than anybody in the Premier League. Bernardo Silva is top as well; we sold him to Monaco and after a few weeks he was speaking French on TV, he’s an example. This club gives the boys life skills to grow.”

Diego Simeone wants to convey his philosophy to the entire organisation at Atletico Madrid, keen to plant his message from the root to the top of the tree.

Paddy McCarthy believes Crystal Palace have everything in place to take advantage of south London’s “hotbed of talent” with the redevelopment of the club’s academy close to completion.

The Eagles secured Category One status in July and their Beckenham base has been transformed in the ensuing months while the under-23s and 18s have already benefitted from joining the Premier League games programme.


In recent years the likes of Jadon Sancho, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Emile Smith Rowe have grown up within close proximity to Selhurst Park, but learnt their trade elsewhere with the club’s academy not at elite standard.

Last week, The Athletic took an in-depth look at academy life in England during the coronavirus pandemic.

We spoke to youth directors throughout the league pyramid, who painted a fairly grim picture — “It’s been incredibly damaging,” said one — but also told stories of resilience and resourcefulness in the face of trying circumstances.

To complement that article, we wanted to get a view from a top academy outside England. To that end, we spoke to directors and young players at Benfica, one of Europe’s most renowned producers of talent.

ALL Under-18 and U23 players and staff at Academies will be covid tested twice a week from Monday following new guidelines issued by the Premier League and EFL.

Training and matches from U15s downwards were suspended earlier this month until February 1st at the earliest because of the national lockdown. However, the Professional Development Phase and U16s have continued and there are hopes that the new twice-weekly testing regime – in addition to testing at first team level and new covid protocols – can prevent the spread of the virus within football.

MANCHESTER CITY Academy Manager Jason Wilcox says he has set his staff and players three key targets for 2021.

Wilcox, who has been in post for three years, told City’s official website: “We had an all-staff meeting and the three messages were maintaining our high standards, being caring and demanding, and achieving more with less.”

The second of our new live online coaching sessions running throughout the current lockdown will help you fulfil your Saturday morning training routine…

The latest nationwide lockdown restrictions have hit grassroots sport hard once again, with training on hold, matches suspended and the development of young players paused for the foreseeable future.

However, Chelsea FC have the perfect answer to fill your weekend training gaps. Coaches Corner Live is a series of weekly live coaching sessions to help young players stay active and maintain their training from home.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has recounted the “mad experience” which saw him plucked from the under-19s squad to train with the first team ahead of a Champions League game at the Bernabeu in 2014.

At that time, Trent had only just turned 16 and Brendan Rodgers was at the helm in what would prove to be his last full season in charge at Liverpool.

The Premier League are considering expanding their Covid-19 testing programme to include academy players for the first time amid concerns about the virus spreading among youth-team players.

The Premier League’s under-18 league returned last weekend after a month-long break, but only three matches were played following a mass of postponements due to the virus.

Beginning this weekend and running throughout the current lockdown, our new live online coaching sessions will be perfect to fulfil your Saturday morning training routine…

Developing Your Football Skills While Training With Girls As Ambitious As You: Is It Right For You? It’s possible Utrecht Women’s Football Academy (UVVA), which mainly focuses on highly motivated players up to and including the age of 17. We talk to Founder and Coach John Kaersenhout about this special football academy and what you can expect when you join register.


The Clarets say “exceptional” players identified through the app will be invited to attend formal trials; Chairman Alan Pace says it is a first opportunity to introduce data-led technologies to the Turf Moor club’s academy

Burnley have announced they are to use artificial intelligence to help them identify young talent.

The Clarets have partnered with talent identification platform AiSCOUT and launched an “open global talent search” in which they are looking to unearth players over the age of 14 that could join their academy.