The Youth Development programme which has been run by Premier League and Football League Clubs has been replaced by the Elite Player Performance Plan, known better as the 'EPPP'.
In the past, football clubs have either run their youth system as an Academy or Centre of Excellence. At Crewe Alexandra, we are proud that we have run our youth system as an Academy. The new EPPP means that every football club running a youth academy will be graded from Category 1 to Category 4 (1 being the highest Category).
At present, Crewe Alexandra has been awarded category 2 licence. The chairman, board of directors and staff are all working hard to making sure we give this club every opportunity to secure category 2 status moving forward.
The focus of our academy is to continue producing players for our first team and possible transfer of players in the future.
At the same time, we see and support the new EPPP as we see other areas it will help us to develop . The EPPP breaks the player development pathway into three ‘phases’:
- the Foundation Phase (pre-academy & Under 9s, 10s & 11s)
- the Youth Development Phase (Under 12s to U16s)
- the Professional Development Phase (Under 17s to U21s).
The EPPP has enabled us to employ more staff which in the long run as given us more quality coaching time with our players from all phases. In addition, the introduction of an education officer has helped us to forge closer links to local schools which has released more schoolboy players into our school day release programme.
Our training ground has improved with the introduction of a new classroom & new physiotherapy rooms. The dressing rooms now provide each team with its own changing room and shower rooms.
The EPPP requires that we undertake an audit process run by a Belgium company called Double Pass, in conjunction with the Premier League. They have visited the Academy and assessed how we coach and develop our players through our system. Double Pass were with us for 4 days after which their findings went back to The Premier league and we were delighted to be awarded category two.