As the new Championship season gets ready to kick off, Reading Football Club says it is “absolutely delighted” to announce that its Academy has been awarded the highest possible rating of Category One.
Achieving Category One status was a strategic goal for the club, and achieving that goal ensures that the club’s Academy is at the forefront of youth development in this country and further afield.
The club says that the categorisation recognises a number of major criteria including the level of the facilities, the standard of coaching and education, and its ability to produce players for the first team.
Only a small handful of fooball clubs have been given Category One status and this now ensures that the team can enjoy fixtures against the very best Academies in the country, the ability to attract and retain the very best players nationwide, and far more contact time between coaches and players.
When the new Elite Player Performance Plan was announced, the club made the strategic decision to invest a huge amount of time and effort in ensuring it gained the best possible grading, and it is credit to all concerned that it is now a Category One club.
Its Academy has already grown beyond all recognition since the start of the EPPP with the addition of new staff, facilities and plans for a new training ground, and confirmation of Category One will see the development continue at great pace.
From day one, the club’s new owner, Anton Zingarevich, has placed huge emphasis on Reading FC’s youth setup, and this categorisation gives it the best chance of maintaining and building upon the fantastic successes from within the existing youth setup.
Since Sir John Madejski introduced its Academy, under Nick Hammond and Eamonn Dolan’s tutelage, it has produced a fantastic crop of players including Jem Karacan, Alex Pearce, Simon Church, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Simon Cox, Hal Robson-Kanu. The work of the Academy was taken to another level when Alex McCarthy was called into the full England squad this summer.
A spokesperson for the club said: “Congratulations must go to every person who has made his happen, each devoting an extraordinary amount of time and effort and working incredibly hard to achieve this ultimate goal. From top to bottom, this has been a team effort and everyone at the club is extremely proud that we have now been named as a Category One club.”
For more on the Academy, visit the club’s website.