Liverpool Academy coach Steven Gerrard

The Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan was introduced in 2012 with the aim of producing more and better home-grown players.

It consists of four key functions – Games Programme, Education, Coaching and Elite Player Performance.

For an overview visit, or for an in-depth look at Coaching within the programme, read below.


One of core objectives of the EPPP is to develop a world-leading Youth Coach fraternity, which the Premier League implements with the following initiatives in collaboration with the clubs.

Elite Heads of Coaching (EHOC)

EHOC is a two-year development programme to support Heads of Coaching within their club environment, with the aim improving the quality of coaching across the sport.

The programme has a dual purpose of helping Heads of Coaching develop skills and using expertise within the programme to develop the key components of a curriculum, which helps drive the creation of a national system of coach development for the clubs.

The system that is created will empower all Heads of Coaching, their coaches and their club to build a workforce that has the potential to be world leading.

Running parallel to this programme is a ring-fenced set of funding for the creation of a Head of Coaching at all 92 Clubs in the Football League.

The programme and implementation of 92 Heads of Coaching will complement the formal coach education programmes and qualifications initiated and delivered by the Football Association.

Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme (ECAS)

ECAS is a two-year intense development programme aimed at accelerating the learning and development of coaches employed by clubs who demonstrate the potential to be future elite coaches in youth football.

The bespoke programme is partly designed around the needs of the candidates, who are provided with individualised support and mentoring in addition to the core curriculum in coaching, sport science and medicine, leadership and management.

The course is delivered each year through a combination of seven residential workshops, an international coaching placement, a virtual learning environment and individualised support through the creation of a ‘coaching cell’ and delivery against a development action plan.

For each coach the coaching cell (mentoring) consists of a Master Coach (from their club), a Coach Mentor (experienced coach from outside football), a Professional Skills Mentor (such as an occupational or business psychologist) and a Premier League Advisor.

Coaches on ECAS scheme went on a military course in 2015/16
Coaches on ECAS went on a military course in 2015/16

BAME and Female ECAS

As part of the League’s commitment to equality and diversity, ECAS provides the opportunity to include six black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and female coaches per intake.

Leadership Journey

The 'Leadership Journey' is a series of bespoke phase-specific workshops, delivered up to three times per season for each of the Premier League and Category One Lead Phase coaches (Foundation, Youth Development and Professional Development).

The aim of this programme is to provide these coaches with opportunities throughout the season away from their own club environment to develop the necessary knowledge and skills needed to work effectively within the academy system.

This programme also provides coaches with the opportunity to share and collaborate with coaches from different clubs.

Coach Competency Framework (CCF) and Development Action Plans

As a further part of developing a world-leading youth coaching fraternity, each Academy coach is required to have their own development action plan, measured against the clubs’ bespoke Coach Competency Framework (CCF).

The CCF is based upon the academy’s values, beliefs and fundamental principles that underpin their coaching philosophy.

By analysing the strengths and weaknesses of each coach in relation to the clubs’ CCF, development action plans can be written and implemented to support the development of each Coach.

There is an intake of six female and BAME coaches in each year on ECAS
There is an intake of six female and BAME coaches in each year on ECAS

Annual Coaches Conference

The conference provides coaches from all Premier League and Category One Academies (approximately 160 to 170 coaches) the opportunity to reflect on the previous 12 months, while also offering development and learning opportunities through access to experts from across football, sport, business and education.

The first conference was held at Bolton Wanderers at the end of the 2011/12 season to launch the EPPP. Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Southampton, Middlesbrough and Chelsea have since hosted the event.

Club Support Managers (CSMs)

A Club Support Manager (CSM) is appointed by the League to each Premier League Academy and are responsible for providing the first point of contact and support to the assigned club’s Academy.

The CSM will work with the staff and players to support in the delivery of the club’s performance plan, providing individual reviews for players and supporting them with their ISO audit which happens on a three-year cycle.

They will work closely with the academy in order to measure, benchmark and evaluate the performance of the academy. CSMs monitor this with the use of case files, which culminates in an annual report that is provided to boards of the club and League.

Technical Match Observer (TMO)

The role of the Technical Match Observer is to complete independent technical reviews of the Games Programme.

The TMOs will complete reports on teams in all phases of the Player Performance Pathway; Foundation, Youth Development and Professional Development Phase. Each report is made available to the Club for their use.

TMOs will contact club coaching staff before matches to discuss the coaches’ objectives for the game and Clubs will be provided with the option of a TMO meeting with the coaching staff post-match to discuss the report and observations.