The story behind the National Football Youth League
The National Football Youth League was established by Louise Macey who created the first ever partnership back in 2002, between a full time professional football club and education establishment in order to raise standards and aspirations of talented football players in full time education and outside of the Academy system. This model has now been adopted by the majority of professional clubs across the Country and as the number of “shadow squads” at professional squads grew,
Louise saw a need for a standard of competition to bridge the gap between college and academy football and she established the National Football Youth League. The League has been hugely successful and has produced many professional players since its introduction, who were “out of the system."
It has encouraged thousands of young people to continue their education and go on to great things. The League is very much about putting the players first, it was established for them and it will never lose sight of this. It is particularly aimed at talented players who have not gained scholarships at 16, have been released from clubs, late developers or players who just haven’t been noticed yet and need a professional, competitive environment which will allow them to continue to flourish.
All of our clubs work hard to ensure that their players develop as well rounded individuals with a strong focus on academics and developing other opportunities around their football to give them life skills. The coaching staff and academic staff work very hard together to ensure that all of our players have appropriate career pathways. The choices of post 16 football can be quite daunting for a young footballer and the National Football Youth League aims to put all of the top talented players that sit outside of the Academy system in one place.
The entry criteria for clubs is very strict to keep these standards high for the players - highly qualified, experienced coaching staff, professional clubs, high quality venues. Season 2019/20 is set to be an exciting one with the introduction of our new Junior Divisions and U23 Divisions and many new teams joining us. We start our new International project with Challenger Sports. We have an NFYL England V Scottish FA Festival for our Girls teams at U19 and U15 in August. Our National Representative sides have been invited by the Qatar FA to compete in a tournament in Qatar in January 2020 - this will be a male and female side next season
The National Youth Football League is one of the platforms that teams from The Steven Gerrard Academy participates in. Their select teams also are members of different U19, U21 and U23 leagues in the pyramid based in the North West of England. In addition SGA teams will also play exhibition games in Wales, Northern Ireland and undertake foreign tours from time to time.