Football Academy FAQ

Thinking of joining a Football Academy?

If your son is an aspiring footballer and you are thinking about joining a football academy or centre of excellence you might want to read on before signing your footballing life away in a fit of excitement!

When you join a football academy or centre of excellence you are joining a professional club and therefore your son will be required to sign a registration form for either 1 or 2 years, dependent on his age. Once you have signed, your son’s registration will then be lodged with the Football League.

Most parents fail to scrutinise what their son is actually agreeing to as many are grateful to simply get their boy into an academy or centre of excellence and can only look forward to seeing their son play against the top teams, receive the best coaching, and hopefully go on to make it as a professional footballer.

At the time of writing, there are 32 academies and 35 centres of excellence in England. Each have squads of players from the ages of 9 to 16 and most squads have around a dozen players in each, excluding the actual academy team. Therefore there are around 6500 boys attending professional clubs at any one time and only a very small percentage make it as a professional in any league!

What happens when it all goes wrong?

Carrington Football Academy

Carrington Training Ground

Let’s say your son has played at an academy for the past season and for whatever reason now wishes to leave his club and play his football elsewhere. You may think it’s as easy as giving the coach a quick nudge, tell him that your son wishes to ply his trade elsewhere and bingo off you go. In reality, it’s far more difficult than that!

Signed for life – well nearly!

There are many misconceptions about football academy contracts and what you son can and can’t do when he signs for a professional club…Here’s a few questions and answers that you may find interesting!

Football Academy FAQ

Can my son play for his local team?

No – Once you sign your registration form you will not be allowed to play for your local team.

Can I play for my school?

Maybe – Some academies allow you to represent your school and some don’t. It all depends on the policy that the academy/centre of excellence has. In some cases, you may be allowed to play for your school but training commitments can often get in the way as many academies run training sessions on Saturday mornings, which is when most schools play matches.

How long do trials last?

A maximum period of six weeks.

What age can I join an academy or centre of excellence?

You can train at a professional club from a very early age. Some academies take kids in as young as 6, however you cannot sign for a professional club until you are 9 years old.

How long does my registration last?

–          Under 9, 10, 11 and 12 age groups registration is for a period of one year using registration form YD4.

–          Under 13 to Under 16 registration is for two years using registration form YD4.

–          Under 13 and under 16 where a player signs for the maximum period of 4 years on his twelfth birthday. Registration is for four years using registration form YD6.

–          Under 13 to Under 18 years of age registration could be for up to six years using registration form YD6(A).

When do I have to sign my contract?

There is a window period that provides an opportunity for both players and clubs to decide if they wish to sign for the next season. These set times must be abided by. Clubs must notify a player on or before the third Saturday in April if they wish to retain or terminate the player’s registration for the next season.

What if I want to leave?

If you want to leave your academy or centre of excellence and you are regarded as a good player, you could be in for a long drawn out battle!

Be very careful which form you accept when you leave a club.

There are two types of forms that are used to cancel a players registration.

–          Form YD10 (with compensation)

–          Form YD7 (without compensation)

If a player is released on a Form YD10 a club is entitled to claim compensation from any other club that attempts to register the player with the Football League. No other club can register a player until the club that holds the player’s registration receives an acceptable compensation package, or provides the player with his YD7 form, which then releases the player without any compensation rights.

What are compensation rights?

Compensation rights are held by a professional club as soon as they submit a player’s registration form to the Football League. What this means is that a club may ask for compensation from another club that seeks to register a player that is already registered at the Football league.

For example, your 10 year old son joins ABC Academy and spends a full season there. The following season your son takes a dislike to the coach and decides he no longer enjoys his football at said academy. You make a few phone calls and bingo Academy XYZ welcomes him with open arms.

The painful bit comes when Academy XYZ submits your son’s registration form to the Football league and discovers that Academy ABC already hold the players registration. If Academy ABC sees potential in your son they will most likely ask for some form of compensation from Academy XYZ. This could amount to roughly £3000 for every year of development, plus add-ons in the event the player gets a scholarship and goes on to play professional football. In any event, very messy and not what you want to hear!

Not many people know that an academy or centre of excellence can hold the compensation rights for a player until they are 30 years old. Yes, 30 years old!

The fact is that most professional clubs will not pay compensation for young players, which means that a player could be left with no alternative but to return to local football if an agreement cannot be made between both clubs.

A player that has been released from a professional club on a YD10 and subsequently decides to return to Sunday League football for a period of time cannot sign for another professional club. There is a misconception that playing in the Sunday League for a season then allows a player to return to academy football without any compensation issues. This is not the case, as a club holds the compensation rights to a player until they are 30 years old if no action has been taken to obtain the players YD7 form.

What happens if my club will not release me?

If your son is stuck in no man’s land and a compensation package cannot be agreed, you can appeal to the Football League who will speak to the club on your behalf and act as a mediator. If an agreement still can’t be reached, the case will then go to a tribunal who will decide if any compensation is due. You can contact the Football League on 0844 463 1888.

Of course, your child should not join a professional club with the expectation that at some point he will move to another club, however you should be aware that by signing a registration form you could be committing your son to a professional club for a very long time!



67 Responses to “Football Academy FAQ”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. coco says:

    I want to play at the Academy of way fees I am 16 years old

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  6. marko says:

    would appreciate if you know anything regarding form 30 notice to terminate form in relation to compensation. we have received this form after a number of years at a club,the last one in the main a rather bad experiance ,but our phone has not stopped ringing with trials offers from other clubs.

    • Football Academy Talk says:

      How old is the player?

      There are two types of release forms, YD10 and YD7!

      A YD10 form allows a player to leave a club, however compensation will be payable if that player wished to sign for another professional club!

      The form you need is the YD7, which allows a player to leave without any current or future compensation issues!

  7. LDSD8 says:


    My son had a few concrete offers for U9 contract (he’s going to be U8). At the moment, its just verbally but we are expecting to show some commitments when the season starts. How soon can I ask them whether I can see the contracts in writing as I do not want to make commitments without seeing the contracts.

    Could you please elaborate more on what usually contains within the contracts and is it standardised ie same contracts for same players within the same academies?

    Much appreciated for your info. Thx

  8. am guy from Ghana and am talented with football ,i want to join an 18years and hard training i hope my wish will be granted

  9. H347h says:

    This is great information. Currently my son is 16 and hasn’t been offered a scholarship yet as the club states they are unsure till Feb 2013! He has been at the club since the age of 11 and now feels that if the club cant confirm then we should be allowed to move on for trials with other clubs as after Feb the places for scholars will be less. A couple of other parents have pulled their kids from the system by going along the route of child welfare, where the club doesn’t want to get embroiled in a legal row. As the lad is in his final year and wanting to confirm his future this is where the clubs basically hold all the cards. In one respect I wish I had read the book by “Chris Green” called “Every Boys Dream” which explains what basically goes on and how the clubs treat their supposedly superstars. If you can give us any tips that would be great.

    • Football Academy Talk says:

      Well, the basic fact of the matter is that the club hold his Compensation Rights, which means that any move to another pro club will have to be agreed with the club he’s at now.

      The whole system stinks at any age level. As you say, the club hold all the cards!

      First of all, does your son have a realistic chance of joining another club? If the answer is yes, call a meeting with the Academy Manager and explain that you want his release form (YD7), unless some assurance can be given that a scholarship will be offered. If they refuse, contact the Football League and inform them that the club is now potentially damaging your son’s welfare, not only from a footballing perspective, but also from a career perspective due to the fact that his opportunities to either play football or start a different career will be fewer as the season continues!

      I can tell you now what the club will be doing!

      They will be looking for a certain number of players at under 16 level and will be waiting to see who get’s released from the bigger clubs they have arrangements with, therefore leaving your own son hanging on a thread in case they find someone better between now and the end of the season.

      Football Academies are dirty places! In many, the kids are merely pawns to be moved around as they see fit!

      If you really think your son has a chance elsewhere, personally I would be in to see them asap and don’t take no for an answer! 5 years at the same club is more than enough time for them to assess your son and they WILL know what they plan to do with him now! They are just not telling you or your son!

      Good luck and please let us know the outcome!

  10. ali baher says:

    hello iam 15years a profesional striker from lebanon hope to join an academy iam a player in TFA(Gothia cup)at swedein the 3rd at the world want to join

  11. I am a guy from Ghana amd am talented with football, i want an academy tojoin, i am 13years and hard traning, pls i hope my wish will be granted. Pls my phone number is +233549424569.

  12. i will be like to enter this football……so help me god

  13. efe emerho says:

    Love this pleas I need ur invitation my international passport is ready. Thanks

  14. English ike says:

    i will love to be part of you

  15. Ekow Mensah-Menson says:

    hi,I’m 16 going to be 17 in june and I really want to join academy pr anything related to football that will help make it to professional level passonate

  16. usman says:

    i want to join manchester united young boy in england football

  17. usman says:

    i like manchester united football

  18. Taabu junior says:

    Iam taabu right winger in uganda 15yrs looking for an agent who can help me to join afootballacademy pliz whoever interesting in young players just help me becoze i won’t dispoint you call me +256787760599 email me at GOD BLESS U AMEN

  19. Paul skinner says:

    Does the only playing for one club rule only apply to football league teams or does it apply to any team .my son is 9 and wants to play on Saturdays and Sundays

  20. I want to play in this academy can i?

  21. Bunyameen says:

    Please help we young aspiring footballers,i want to become a pro footballer,please how can i join the academy?

  22. Bunyameen says:

    Please how can i join an academy,i’m 15 from Nigeria.I really want to become a pro footballer. my nunber +2348165752576

  23. stephen says:

    I want †o B̶̲̥̅̊ξ a grate footballer i̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ the future thank

  24. stephen says:

    ℓ̊ A̶̲̥̅̊♏ 13 year old A̶̲̥̅̊♏ a future talented player and ℓ̊ stay at nigeria please G̶̲̥̅̊o̶̲̥̅̊d̶̲̥̅̊ help M̶̲̥̅ε̲̣̣̣̥ from my football my number is 08032320528 pls help M̶̲̥̅ε̲̣̣̣̥ to achieve my dream


  26. Please i want to join the academy i am 16years old am a Good defender please help

  27. Please i want to join this academy i am 15years old. I am a Good defender please help me

  28. Tshepiso Mabaleha says:

    Hi would to be recruit on a proffessional way of football because i am also an hardworker and respecting. I am 17 years old my date of birth is (1996-07-29) my country is SOUTH AFRICA i would be happy if i can be the part of the academy.

  29. saheed says:

    i want to join the academy

  30. backson njoroge says:

    I hope you are fine? Iam fine too iam from kenya embakasi nairobi near jomokenyatta airport,I wouild like to join you because iam talented boy iam goalkeeper piease give me chance i do not have anyone to trian me,iam 15years thankyou.

  31. backson njoroge says:

    please i know ican make it with your support ,call 728598873 thankyou,thankyou.

  32. Bobby says:

    I am looking for advice regarding assistance with the costs of attending a football academy. Any hope out there?

    • Football Academy Talk says:


      Do you mean some sort of sponsorship or are you tying to find out how much it costs to join an academy?

  33. victor dangana says:

    am from nigeria, am looking for an academy in england or germany or maybe france how do i get one? please i will be waiting for quick replies thank you very much!

  34. Arvin says:

    It’s not only my dream, it’s my life. I’m don’t have much money and I need yours help that give me chance to play. I’m play because I wan to show my performance and talents and make history.

  35. Arvin says:

    I wan to make history. I wan to shoe my performance and talents.

  36. Trevor Tomlinson says:

    My son has played for a non league club since u9 and is now for u15. Can a non league club hold on to his registration? A league club have offered him a place but his club are saying that he cannot leave.

    • Football Academy Talk says:

      If he has signed a YD4 form at any time in the past, then the club that held his registration can claim compensation. Is the club registered an an Academy or Centre of Excellence?

    • Football Academy Talk says:

      Did he sign a YD4 form when he joined the non league club?

      Call the Football League and ask then if his registration is valid!

  37. Martins says:

    Could someone out there please help me out with this question.
    How much do i have to pay when joining a premier league academy or any academy in England?

    • Football Academy Talk says:

      You should not have to pay anything to join an Academy, other than the cost of the training kit, although many Cat 1 clubs provide this free of charge.

  38. Nelson says:

    I am nelson ndeutepo a boy of 18yrs of age a good player i am namibia the land of the brave i want to join you guys plz help me.

  39. Irfan says:

    I am from Myanmar I m 17 now so can I still become a footballer . I m in my 8 grade.does any academy accept a 17 year old player

    how to start my carrier?

  40. Diyal Wilhak Abdul Wahab says:

    i am Diyal Wilhak Abdul Wahab from Ghana. i wish to joina football acedamy and i am now in ghana. i am 20 years of age and a goal keeper. i have 12years experience in goal keeping. i have been training myself as a goal keeper since 2002 when i was in the lower primary school.
    i wish you to have a reply from you soon

  41. jonathan says:

    my son just sign 2 year scholarship.with prem club! do he need a football agent?

  42. Paul says:

    Hi just after some info,my son has been at an academy for the last 3 years,he is due to sign another 2 year,but due to circumstances was’nt able to make the reveiw,I know they want to keep him but have not been formally offerd a new contract,where do we stand and how long do we have to wait before we’re compleaty out of contract

    • Football Academy Talk says:

      The fact that he didn’t attend the review has no bearing on his contract.

      The club have until the third Saturday in May to inform the League if they are retaining your son. They can do this without you even knowing!

  43. tony says:

    hi how can i view my sons performance clock on line.

  44. Jay says:

    Hi, what are the chances of the club paying out travel expenses. At the moment its a 90 mile round trip for us 3 times a week. And I have been told there is to be a extra day next season to train.

  45. fortune williams says:

    I want 2 join d academy and I can play well.but I dnt have money pls help.perhaps on free trial I will prove myself. Please

  46. forgive says:

    i want to join an academy plz take but i em fat plz its my but people bring me down plz plz plz plz plz

  47. fifa forum says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and
    now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!


    SO, CAN I JOIN….

  49. Paul says:

    Hi if your club is not doing what they should to be a cat 3 academy,and only doing things right during audits,are they breaking terms of contract and could that be a way out?


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