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Youth system

Youth system

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Youth system is a sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

ing terminology used to refer to a youth investment program within a particular team or league, which develops and nurtures young (often local) talent in farm team
Farm team
In sports, a farm team, farm system, feeder team or nursery club, is generally a team or club whose role is to provide experience and training for young players, with an agreement that any successful players can move on to a higher level at a given point...

s, with the vision of using them in the first team if they show enough promise, and to fill up squads numbers in some teams with small budgets. In contrast to most sports in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 where the high school and collegiate system is responsible for developing young sports people, most football clubs, especially in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

, take responsibility for developing their own players of the future.

Youth academies

Most youth systems attached exclusively to one club are often called youth academies. In a youth academy a club will sign multiple players at a very young age and teach them vital skills required to play at that club's standard. Clubs are often restricted to recruiting locally based youngsters, but some larger clubs such as Arsenal
Arsenal F.C.
Arsenal Football Club is a professional English Premier League football club based in North London. One of the most successful clubs in English football, it has won 13 First Division and Premier League titles and 10 FA Cups...

, Real Madrid
Real Madrid C.F.
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol , commonly known as Real Madrid, is a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain. The club have won a record 31 La Liga titles, the Primera División of the Liga de Fútbol Profesional , 18 Copas del Rey, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 1 Copa Eva Duarte and 1 Copa de la...

 and Chelsea
Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea Football Club are an English football club based in West London. Founded in 1905, they play in the Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. Chelsea have been English champions four times, FA Cup winners six times and League Cup winners four...

 have recruited many foreign talent besides locals.

Many of the larger clubs in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 such as FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona
Futbol Club Barcelona , also known as Barcelona and familiarly as Barça, is a professional football club, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain....

 in Spain, Ajax in the Netherlands, Sporting CP in Portugal and Manchester United FC in England, to name a few, are regarded as having some of the finest youth academies and have produced many players widely regarded as some of the best in the world. Other clubs such as Brazilian club Grêmio, Espanyol
RCD Espanyol
Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol de Barcelona is a sports club based in Barcelona, Spain. It is best known for its football team. Espanyol currently play in the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat with seats for 40,500 spectators. It was inaugurated on 2 August 2009...

 in Spain and English clubs Leeds United
Leeds United A.F.C.
Leeds United Association Football Club are an English professional association football club based in Beeston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, who play in the Football League Championship, the second tier of the English football league system...

, Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough F.C.
Middlesbrough Football Club , also known as Boro, are an English football club based in Middlesbrough, who play in the Football League Championship. Formed in 1876, they have played at the Riverside Stadium since August 1995, their third ground since turning professional in 1889...

, Arsenal, Watford F.C, Aston Villa and West Ham United, while not as financially successful as others, have a world class academy. West Ham's youth academy is known as The Academy of Football
The Academy of Football
The Academy of Football, or just The Academy, is a nickname of the English football club West Ham United.The title pays homage to the success of the club in coaching talented young players...

 and has produced many English talents that have gone on to play with larger clubs in the Premier League.

Another example is lower league clubs who have produced higher quality players through the academy and sold them to keep the club running. The main prime example of this is Crewe Alexandra
Crewe Alexandra F.C.
Crewe Alexandra Football Club is an English professional football club based in Crewe, Cheshire. Nicknamed The Railwaymen due to the town's links with the rail industry, they currently play in Football League Two, the fourth tier of English football, and are based at the Alexandra Stadium.The club...

 who under Dario Gradi
Dario Gradi
Dario Gradi MBE is an Italian-born English football manager and former player, who was serving as manager of the Crewe Alexandra F.C. Academy. He is a former manager of Crewe Alexandra, with whom he has been associated for almost thirty years.Gradi is notable for his 24-year first spell as manager...

 and his staff nurtured players into higher quality players such as David Platt and Dean Ashton
Dean Ashton
Dean Ashton is a former English professional footballer. He made over 240 appearances as a forward in the Football League and Premier League for Crewe Alexandra, Norwich City and , and was also capped by England. He was highly praised as a talented centre forward, but had a career frustrated by...

 and sold them when the time was right.
Another example is the small Swiss club of Basel
FC Basel
Fussball Club Basel 1893, widely known as FC Basel is a Swiss football club based in Basel. They are one of the most successful clubs in Swiss football, having won the Swiss Super League 14 times, the third most for any Swiss club. They were most successful in the late 1960s and 1970s, winning the...

, which although internationally little known and financially not very successful, have produced many talents over the years including, the Yakin brothers and recently, the world wide sensations Shaqiri and Xhaka.

An alternative name for a Youth Academy is "Centre of Excellence". In English football these terms have distinct meanings and are licensed and regulated by The Football Association
The Football Association
The Football Association, also known as simply The FA, is the governing body of football in England, and the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. It was formed in 1863, and is the oldest national football association...

 and The Football League
The Football League
The Football League, also known as the npower Football League for sponsorship reasons, is a league competition featuring professional association football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest such competition in world football...


Youth leagues

While similar to youth academies, youth leagues are built into a club competition rather than an individual club. However, the teams that play in these youth leagues (called farm team
Farm team
In sports, a farm team, farm system, feeder team or nursery club, is generally a team or club whose role is to provide experience and training for young players, with an agreement that any successful players can move on to a higher level at a given point...

s) are generally attached to a larger senior club. The purpose of these leagues is to give young players experience in proper competition against other players that they will most likely end up playing with or against. The Premier League in England is known for having a large youth league
Premier Academy League
The Premier Academy League is the top level of youth football in England. It is contested between the Academy sides of The Premier League and some Football League clubs, including Welsh side Cardiff City...

 attached to its senior clubs. In the forthcoming season the A-League
The A-League is the top Australasian professional football league. Run by Australian governing body Football Federation Australia , it was founded in 2004 following the folding of the National Soccer League and staged its inaugural season in 2005–06. It is sponsored by Hyundai Motor Company...

 in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 will begin its own youth league.

Youth leagues aren't just exclusive to association football though. The Australian Football League
Australian Football League
The Australian Football League is both the governing body and the major professional competition in the sport of Australian rules football...

 (AFL) has a youth league established underneath its senior league with no attachment to any senior club. The players that play in this competition are then chosen to play for senior clubs through the AFL Draft
AFL Draft
The AFL Draft is the annual draft of new unsigned players by Australian rules football teams that participate in the main competition of that sport, the Australian Football League.-History:...

. Minor ice hockey and junior ice hockey
Junior ice hockey
Junior hockey is a catch-all term used to describe various levels of ice hockey competition for players generally between 16 and 20 years of age...

 serve an identical purpose for ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 and the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 (NHL). To a certain extent, Little League Baseball serves a similar purpose for professional baseball, although the vast majority of development and recruitment comes at the high school level.

The other major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada do not have a youth development system. The National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

's players are developed predominantly through the education system, first with high school football
High school football
High school football, in North America, refers to the game of football as it is played in the United States and Canada. It ranks among the most popular interscholastic sports in both of these nations....

 and then with college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

. Basketball players are typically developed and recruited straight out of high school, although the National Basketball Association
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

 requires at least one year out of high school to be eligible to play. College basketball
College basketball
College basketball most often refers to the USA basketball competitive governance structure established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association . Basketball in the NCAA is divided into three divisions: Division I, Division II and Division III....

is also a source of players for the NBA and other professional leagues.