It is with great pride Leeds United can confirm our Academy has been awarded Category One status by the Premier League, the first time our Academy has reached this level in our history.
In granting Category One status, the Premier League recognises the club’s commitment to youth development and the quality of the environment provided for young players.
During an audit undertaken earlier in the 2019/20 season, the club was assessed on the level of investment, facilities, resources, staffing and productivity.
From next season, the club will receive increased funding and more importantly, players will benefit from an elite game programme with the Under-23s team competing in the national Premier League 2 and our Under-18s playing in the U18 Premier League North.
Our Academy is now also eligible for the EFL Trophy and the UEFA Youth League in future years.
Despite the Leeds United Academy being the fourth most productive system in English Football in the past six years in terms of producing players to compete for first team football, promotion to a Catagory One status is a landmark day for the club.
Particularly for the staff at the Academy who have worked tirelessly to achieve this goal whilst developing the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Jamie Shackleton, Robbie Gotts and Oliver Casey, who have all featured in Marcelo Bielsa’s side this year, along with the dozens of graduates who are plying their trade away from Elland Road.
Head of Academy Adam Underwood said: “We are delighted to receive confirmation of our Category One status and the credit must go to the staff who have given everything for the football club.
"They have brought through some of the best young players in the country and they will now get the opportunity to showcase their abilities at the highest level. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Victor Orta, Angus Kinnear and especially Andrea Radrizzani for supporting our vision in every way.
"The investment into the Academy has tripled since they joined our club and they are creating a legacy that will help drive the club forward for decades to come.”
Chief executive Angus Kinnear added: “The real credit here must go to Adam Underwood and his team.
"A Category One Academy was one of our key objectives when we started on this journey and we tasked Adam with delivering this within five years and as a team they have completed the job within three years.
"Our Academy has always been critical to our club and to be ‘Leeds’ is very important to our supporters.
"It is at the heart of our DNA, and today’s accolade is an acknowledgement of their efforts, enabling Adam and his staff to continue to produce even more quality footballers in the future.”