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'It's the start for young players, not the end'

28 Apr 2022

BBC MOTDx's Mollie Kmita sees how the Premier League helps 16-year-olds released by Academies

The Premier League's Under-16 Development Programme hosted more than 70 players who are leaving their Academies this season, across three regional events in April.

For the first time, the two-day camps also welcomed players from EFL clubs, reiterating the organisation's commitment to player care.

The Premier League's Head of Education and Academy Player Care, David Rainford, spoke to BBC MOTDx presenter Mollie Kmita at the Loughborough University event about the Programme and the different pathways for attendees.

"This programme supports our under-16 players who are leaving their Academies this summer and are moving on their next exciting destination," Rainford said. "It's different paths for different players. It’s not the end of anything here, it’s just a start. Hopefully this programme really reinforces that."

At the events at Loughborough, Brunel University and Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate attendees received elite-level football coaching alongside workshops and talks on future career paths around the game, including refereeing, coaching, scouting, journalism and scholarships in the United States.

"It’s different paths for different players. Hopefully this programme really reinforces that"

David Rainford, Premier League’s Head of Education and Academy Player Care

Rainford says there have been a wide variety of outcomes for past attendees to these events.

"We had one lad who came to our programme after being released from a club in his under-16 year and he’s just made his Premier League debut for Brentford," he said.

"We had a boy three years ago, who came to our programme, engaged with all the workshops and he’s now in his second year of studying medicine at King’s College.

"We champion that as a wonderful outcome too. Another boy is on a full scholarship in the United States, which is also fantastic.”

Player care is an underpinning principle of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), with education and the holistic development of those in academies as people and players, a key priority.

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