Understanding The Journey

The Academy Pathway

At Everton there is a structured and progressive pathway for all registered players to develop from the ages of U9 through to U23. The pathway is broken into distinct phases:

Foundation Phase U9-11:

In this phase, players are given a balanced technical programme with the aims of ‘ball mastery’ and converting practised techniques into skills. Whilst mastering these techniques, young players increase their awareness of space when in and out of possession. Players at this stage are aiming to transfer their techniques into games based situations.

In this Foundation Phase, young players experience an environment which is challenging yet fun allowing them the opportunity to display their love of the game.

Youth Development U12-U14:

At the Youth Development Phase, diversity becomes more apparent. We recognise that all players are different and mature at different rates and times; rather than try to make players look the same, these differences are celebrated.

In training, we encourage creative play with an element of decision making. Game-related practices enable players to express their strengths but also allow areas of development to be worked on in a game-realistic environment. In addition, position-specific sessions allow players to focus, in detail, on the skills required related to the third of the pitch they play in. Young players continue to improve techniques under more pressure, less time and space, and at higher standards.

Youth Development U15-16:

As players develop physically and mentally, the coaching curriculum becomes more progressive through the Full-time and Hybrid Schools Release Programme which increases contact hours.

A carefully structured & progressive programme ensures the correct balance between the demands on and off the field. We encourage players to be resilient, reflective, and to take control of their development rather than relying on others to lead it for them.

Players continue to refine techniques under increased pressure, i.e., higher tempo, less time and space, more physical pressure, greater numbers, overloads, higher standards, greater expectations, and greater demands.

Professional Development U18:

At the Professional Development phase, players who have displayed the potential to continue their football at a higher level enter a full-time development programme. Emphasis is placed on progression towards the professional game and the key attributes needed to play professionally. Position specific work becomes key; players must understand and take responsibility for developing the skills required for their position.

It is at this phase players learn the importance of winning games.

Professional Development U23:

For those players who display the potential to play at a professional level, this phase offers an opportunity to step up and train and play at a higher intensity. At this stage, players will experience increased mental and physical demands, they will be tested through more challenging games and may experience a possible Football League loan. At U23 level, technical skills are expected to be of a high standard as the coaching programme is focused on the development of tactical aspects and game management.