Most have been part of a Premier League Academy, an elite talent programme designed to get the full potential from promising young players.
All 20 member clubs of the Premier League operate this system and offer the unrivalled training process to youngsters all across the world.
Inevitably it is a very competitive world, as is professional football, but it is the first stage in being recognized as a top talent in football.
In total, there are 41 Acadmies throughout England and Wales. Some of the most notably successful include Arsenal, Southampton and Aston Villa.
To become an academy, a club must meet strict requirements. These include having the resources to look after not only the physical attributes of the player, but also the mental ones too, including helping them deal with their emotions.
A centre of excellence is a much confused term with an academy. A centre of excellence is the second highest tier of training programmes in the country and has wider requirements for clubs to qualify. This is ideal for clubs not wanting to commit to the demands of running an academy.
Players can join academies from the age of 9, but must live less than one hour away at this stage. When players leave school, they may join full time and can sign professional contracts when they reach 17.
If players become scholars ( join the academy full time after leaving school ) they must undertake educational training as well as football as part of an agreement with the club. This prevents the player being under qualified for any profession if they weren’t to make it as a professional footballer.
Commitment, self-discipline and unbelievable determination are some of the qualities that are necessary for an academy player to make it in today’s hugely competitive field of professional football.
Think you’ve got what it takes? Clubs are on the look-out all the time for new talents. Give your all in every single match you play and hopefully scouts will invite you for a trial.
Look out for more features on the Youth Radar for another insight into the world of professional youth football.