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Youth Development

The EFL Youth Development department supports EFL Clubs in all aspects of their operations within the Academy System.

The aim of the Academy system is to help young players maximise their potential in football, education and life with well-being and personal development at its heart.

The aim is to develop well-rounded individuals as well as high quality players. Clubs provide expert services, support and advice to Academy Players and their parents, establishing the platform for every young player to enjoy and value their Academy experience. The EFL’s ultimate aim is to deliver more and better home grown players which will in turn deliver benefits to both domestic league football at all levels and the national team.

The EFL Youth Development Department works with Academies to maintain and enhance good practice, particularly in the years between and the build up to the independent assessment.

The department also provides help, guidance and assistance to players and parents and works closely with other organisations, particularly the Premier League and Football Association, to further the youth development system.

Direct support to Clubs is provided by a team of Regional Managers whose work is centrally coordinated.


In 2012 the English professional game adopted the processes, principles and criteria of the Elite Player Performance Plan with the aim of creating a world leading Academy system.

The fundamental principles of the EPPP include increasing the number and quality of Home Grown Players, creating more time for players to play and be coached and improving coaching provision.

A system of measurement and quality assurance has been established whereby Academies are independently assessed with resultant recommendations determining the category status awarded to each Academy.

There are 4 categories of Academy. Category 1 to 3 Academies register players from the U9 age group through to professionals whereas the Category 4 model is a late development model operating from the U17 age group upwards. Category 1 is the highest status of Academy.

To find out more about Youth Development at the EFL, click here.