articles & news

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

It’s been just under eight years since the Chelsea Academy integrated a full-time school programme into day-to-day life at Cobham and here the official Chelsea website brings you the second report on the progress made since its 2012 inception.

We first detailed the workings of our full-time school programme back in November 2013, a year after its official introduction. Gerry Harvey, the Academy’s head of education at the time, played a pivotal role in establishing the school’s presence and detailed the work that had taken place in putting such a significant programme in place.

Aberdeen’s head of youth academy coaching Gavin Levey thinks every youngster should be coming back from the coronavirus shutdown a better player.

The Dons’ development department have been having fun during the enforced suspension of all football due to Covid-19, posting widely-shared and viewed videos of kids – many pre-academy graduates under 11 years old – and adults carrying out impressive homework drills on social media.

The next one according to those who know at Liverpool’s academy could be James Balagizi, a 16-year-old midfielder who has delivered consistently strong performances this season at under-18 level.

Liverpool were able to spirit Balagizi away from Manchester City five years ago because the player’s parents saw a clear pathway from the youth facility in Kirkby to the first team at Melwood.


West Ham United’s stars of the future are keeping up their A-game through bespoke programmes which they can carry out remotely.

In close conjunction with the Academy of Football’s medical, fitness and sports science staff, the Claret and Blue starlets have been furthering their physical development away from Chadwell Heath through a variety of challenging exercises, devised with safety in mind.

You can watch above a montage of the Academy youngsters in action during the past two weeks.

Barcelona’s academy players have been encouraged to cook during their time at home.

La Masia has a total of 670 footballers, who are all confined to their homes due to the coronavirus crisis.

These players are all given daily advice by the academy, which include training routines, spending time with family and controlling their use of technology.


Maintain the routines of the so-called ‘invisible training’, but also limit access to the news to avoid generating feelings of anxiety or insecurity, These are some of the objectives of the Comprehensive Sports Service (SID) that advises the 670 athletes from La Masia. This has been announced by the Barça club on its website, in which it has reported on the guidelines that are followed with its athletes, residents and non-residents of La Masia, after the first two weeks of confinement.


THEY say necessity is the mother of all invention. Dennis Bergkamp used to play the ball off a car wheel to help develop his one-two technique; Jinky Johnstone would organise the furniture in his kitchen in order that he could slalom round the stools; the Hearts, Spurs and Scotland legend Dave Mackay dribbled a tennis ball to and from school.

In the midst of the lockdown, social media has been awash with videos showcasing the best of young, elite Scottish footballers and their talents. But, make no mistake, they are working to strict programmes as defined by their clubs rather than merely freestyling for the cameras.

Celtic Soccer Academy recently started an initiate that can only be a good thing, and get help those youth players affected by the lockdown and quarantine to keep improving their footballing skills.


The Academy has set up challenges for young players and fans to take part in that they can do at home, or even in the garden.



Psychologists from Athletic Club, Levante UD, Sevilla FC and Real Valladolid explain how footballers are being trained to manage confinement and how this may help others. Maintaining routines, organising daily activities and continuing with training are some of the keys to returning in the best condition when the competition returns.


A potential rising star from Celtic’s Academy has been showing off his close control on social media with a figure of eight training drill.

With the schools across the United Kingdom closed for the majority of pupils, and football suspended until further notice across Europe, a number of children have been forced to continue training whilst at home or in a local park.

In The Coaches’ Voice, a series in The Masterclass show where experts share their secrets to the public, former Real Madrid academy coach Alvaro Benito shed some insight on his build-up tactics when the youth sides were faced with a high press.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Nicky Butt have invested faith in the Man Utd youth system in the past season or two.

There is plenty to feel positive about if you’re a Manchester United supporter right now, even if the coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent impact on the world of football has made the world feel quite a negative place right now.


A WHILE BACK, Major League Soccer’s website put together a short mash-up video asking the question, “When will MLS produce its own Messi?” The video itself, more paid promotional collateral soaked in corporate initiative-driven opinion than honest exploration, reiterated the common reasons and myths regarding the perpetual absence of an American player of world-class calibre.

Plans to develop Crystal Palace’s Academy into a Category 1 site have been approved by Bromley Council.

The site on Copers Cope Road in Beckenham was purchased in December 2018 and with work to begin shortly there’s hopes to secure Category 1 Academy status by the beginning of the 2020/21 season.

Development of the base will provide more than 220 young players with first-class playing, training and education facilities opposite the first-team training ground.

ANDREAS CHRISTENSEN revealed his former Chelsea youth coach made the players wear MICROPHONES in training.

The defender, 23, joined the Blues academy in 2012 and was part of the set-up alongside the likes of Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.


It could simply be a case of bad timing for Wigan Athletic, as opposed to something more mischievous from Manchester United, but when the Championship side bids to reach the FA Youth Cup semi-finals tomorrow they may well be denied their best player.

The progress of 17-year-old Joe Gelhardt into Paul Cook’s first-team set-up is, of course, a feather in the cap for the club’s academy.

Benfica’s conveyor belt keeps on producing superstars destined for the top. In 2016, Portuguese legend Eusebio opened the doors to the new Benfica Futebol Campus which lies on the banks of the River Tagus on the Southside of Lisbon. The academy includes state of the art facilities whilst providing the up and coming starlets with the opportunity to develop in the best surroundings. With 20 dressing rooms, nine world-class pitches, two auditoriums, and three gymnasiums bristling with the latest equipment, it only aids the development of the youngsters.

Manchester United is introducing a new Emerging Talent Programme to increase engagement with local schools and grassroots clubs across Manchester and the North West.

The programme will be a bridge between the community and curriculum-based charitable work undertaken in over 50 local schools by Manchester United Foundation, and the club’s elite youth academy, which is fed by the club’s industry-leading scouting network and brings in the best talent from around the world.

“YOUNGSTERS NEED OPPORTUNITIES — everyone needs time. With all conditions being equal, a home-grown player has a better chance than one who comes in from abroad. The Xavis and Iniestas took ten years to get to where they are.” Guillermo Amor, former La Masia graduate and FC Barcelona player

Fans of a club look at a team sheet and recognize the names, numbers, and positions of the players. Dedicated supporters look at a team sheet and recognize the players who, in their world, need to be on the team sheet but for whatever reason, aren’t included.

The Magpies have taken a long hard look at their Academy set-up in the last 12 months but Hogg could be final piece of the jigsaw.

It was former Newcastle United defender Jonathan Woodgate who recently threw the gauntlet down as far as youth football was concerned in the North-East.


Another Freddy Edu, or the next big star in US Soccer?

Training out of La Masia, FC Barcelona’s youth development facility and a breeding ground of greats, a Miami teen with Haitian roots is turning heads in the soccer world. Few U.S. soccer players have made it on the big stage in Europe. 18-year old Konrad de la Fuente is certainly one of the more promising prospects.


Marcel Lucassen joined the club in June 2018 and is head of Arsenal’s Coach and Player Development from U9 to U23s.

Marcel Lucassen, the Dutchman recruited by Arsenal to discover a new generation of stars for the Gunners, has revealed how he found a club in crisis when he arrived at the Emirates.

In a damning indictment, Lucassen admitted he could not believe the mess he inherited when he agreed to become the director of coach and player development in the summer of 2018.

Former Hearts star Neil MacFarlane is manager of Brentford B and believes the way the club has changed is the way forward.

Neil MacFarlane started his career in the last 
bastion of football 
amateurism and 
establishment tradition at Queen’s Park.

Two decades on, he couldn’t be closer to the polar opposite end of the spectrum at Brentford.


“It’s obviously a challenging time for them. They’re still doing their schoolwork, and the year after they have their GCSEs,” Paul Konchesky says of the Under-15 footballers he is currently working to inspire.

“To try and weigh it up, school’s really important for a young boy, but they also just want to play football too! We try to make it as fun as possible when they come into the building.


Charlton Athletic’s academy has been a production line of talent – and Steve Avory believes the longevity of the staff has helped make it so successful.

He is a prime example of long service, having marked 20 years with the South London club in January.

Tomorrow is a chance for Addicks fans to celebrate the club’s youth section – the home Championship game against Barnsley will be the 10th Academy Day.

Led by youth academies like Benfica’s, a country of 10 million people wastes no talent

The view from any office at Benfica’s practice facility here is of full-size, carefully manicured soccer fields in all directions. The club adds more of them any time it gets the chance, as if it were building a golf course one hole at a time.

But staring out at an expanse of 10 pitches here, the director of Benfica’s youth academy shakes his head. It’s still not enough.


Neil Dewsnip will take responsibility for the academy as part of his role as director of football.

Simon Hallett has highlighted improving the production line of young players from Plymouth Argyle’s academy into first team football as one of the main tasks for the club’s director of football, Neil Dewsnip.

The Pilgrims’ owner and chairman believes that will not only benefit the first team, it will provide a steady stream of transfer revenue for the club too.

Whenever anyone talks about Chelsea’s academy, they tend to refer to the playing talent coming through the ranks. What people seem to ignore is it provides a rich production line of coaching talent too.

Real Madrid and Barcelona were united by their teenage prodigies last weekend.

Los Blancos via their brilliant 19-year-old Brazilian, Vinicius Junior, who drew three spellbound Atletico Madrid opponents toward him before releasing a magical pass so that Ferland Mendy could feed Karim Benzema for the winning goal. Barca, Spain’s reigning (but soon to be deposed) champions, offered prayers of thanks to 17-year-old Ansu Fati, whose rampant precocity continues to set new Camp Nou, La Liga and Champions League records.


The Institut National du Football de Clairefontaine, a football academy located in Northern France, is setting the standard for youth programs across the globe.

INF Clairefontaine’s model is simple: focus on the individual player’s development, and this will ultimately lead to the benefit of the collective team.

Ex-Town forward on the club achieving Category Two status

Luton Town’s bid to upgrade their Academy status from EPPP level Three to Two will allow the next crop of Hatters youngsters to develop even quicker according to head of academy coaching and professional player development Adrian Forbes.

JOSE ANTONIO REYES’ son scored four goals and scooped the MVP award to help Real Madrid win the final of the La Liga Promises international tournament.

Six months after his father lost his life in a car accident in his homeland in June, the 12-year-old featured in a match between two of his former clubs.

Millions dream of becoming a professional but here’s what Liverpool look for in players. 

It is the dream  of millions – to become a professional footballer.

But what is it clubs like Liverpool look for when bringing in any new youth  players?

The fourth and final part of James Pearce’s exclusive interview with Liverpool Academy director Alex Inglethorpe.

There’s a giant magnetic board on the wall in Alex Inglethorpe’s office which includes a counter for every player on the books at the Liverpool Academy.

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool’s Academy director Alex Inglethorpe sat down for a chat with James Pearce.

Alex Inglethorpe can see the giant steel structure taking shape from his office window.

Liverpool’s Academy director recently took a stroll with Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon around what will be the club’s new £50million training complex.

I’m sitting with Co Founder of APFCBernat Franquesa. His program includes camps, training and private lessons, player video analysis, cognitive virtual reality, European tours, consulting for youth clubs/academies and courses for coaches. Full disclaimer: I have known and spent time on the pitch with Bernat for the past 3 years. His vision is clear and his program allows youth players from all ages to learn the game from a Catalan perspective. “APFC” stands for Albert Puig Football Concepts.