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Arsenal F.C. Under-23s and Academy

  (Redirected from Arsenal F.C. Academy)

Arsenal Football Club Academy is the youth system of Arsenal Football Club based in Hale End, London, England. The academy teams play in the Professional Development League, the highest level of youth football in England. The club also competes in the FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League competitions. Former player Per Mertesacker is the current academy manager.[1]

Arsenal Under-23s and Academy
Full nameArsenal Football Club (Under-23s and Academy)
Nickname(s)The Gunners
GroundMeadow Park
ChairmanSir Chips Keswick
Academy ManagerPer Mertesacker
LeagueProfessional Development League,
(Division 1)

Arsenal Under-23s, previously referred to as the Reserves, is the highest level squad within the setup. They train at the Arsenal Training Centre play the majority of their home games at Meadow Park,[2] which is the home of Boreham Wood FC. On occasion they also play at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium. Senior players occasionally play in the reserve side, as in the case when they're recovering from injury. Steve Bould currently manages the reserve team.

Arsenal's Academy is one of England's most successful, winning seven FA Youth Cups together with six Premier Academy League titles altogether.[3][4][5] Numerous international players have graduated from the academy and reserve teams.

Reserve team historyEdit

Early Years (1887–1919)Edit

Since Arsenal were based in Plumstead as Royal Arsenal F.C., they had a reserve side which was at first set up in 1887. The club initially played friendlies and cup competitions, winning the 1889–90 Kent Junior Cup. In 1895–96 the club which was renamed Woolwich Arsenal in 1891 had their reserves join the Kent League, winning the title the next season but leaving circa 1900.[6] They later joined the London League where they won three titles during the 1900s.

From 1900–01 to 1902–03 the reserves played in the West Kent League, winning the league title in every season they featured within such.[7] As they were at a level higher than their local opponents, in 1903 the team moved to South Eastern League, playing there until 1914–15 when football was suspended due to the First World War. Concurrent to this period, the reserves also entered in the London League First Division in the 1906–07, 1907–08, 1908–09, 1913–14 and 1914–15 seasons. The club went on to omit the "Woolwich" from their title in 1913, so as to be known only as "Arsenal".

The Football Combination [Pre War] (1919–1939)Edit

Following the end of World War I in 1918, Arsenal Reserves took the first team's place in the London Combination league which was renamed the Football Combination in the summer of 1939.[8] For the 1926–27 season, the competition was expanded to include teams as far afield as Portsmouth, Swansea, Southend and Leicester. During the inter-war period Arsenal's reserves matched the first team's success, winning the League South A title of 1940 and 1943 as well as being the London league champions of 1942.[8] Additionally, from 1931 onwards the club's reserves were entered into the London Challenge Cup, winning it twice in 1933–34 and as well in 1935–36.[9]

To give opportunities to younger players, Arsenal created an 'A' team in 1929. Initially the 'A' team entered the London Professional Mid-Week League and were champions in 1931–32.[7] They then competed in the league until the 1933–34 footballing season. Wherein, during the summer of 1934, Arsenal had taken on Kent side Margate as their nursery team. Arsenal had agreed to send promising youngsters to Margate to give them experience in the Southern Football League and were given first choice on any Margate players. The two clubs thus enjoyed being within this relationship which had lasted for four years before Arsenal broke it off in 1938.[10][11] Afterwards, Arsenal entered the reserve team in the Southern League in its own right with home games being played at Enfield F.C.'s stadium at Southbury Road.[12] The club eventually finished in 6th place in the league season of 1938–39.[citation needed]

At the start of the 1939–40 season the reserves played two Football Combination games and one Southern League game before football was partly suspended due to the outbreak of the Second World War.[8]

The Football Combination [Post War] (1945–1999)Edit

For the 1946–47 season, the Football Combination resumed but the league was split into two divisions with the winners of each division playing in a final to decide the champions. A new competition was introduced – the Football Combination Cup. This was the same teams that played in the Football Combination but divided into 4 groups with the winners of each group playing in semi-finals and a final. This format continued until the end of the 1954–55 season. From 1955–56 the Football Combination continued generally as a normal league format, occasionally consisting of two divisions with promotion and relegation. The Football Combination Cup was discontinued but re-instated for seasons 1965–66 to 1969–70 inclusive and 1996–97. The reserves continued to be entered in the London FA Challenge Cup until the 1973–74 season, with the exception of 1961–62 when the first team were entered.

The 'A' team was resurrected at the start of the 1948–49 season when a team was entered in the Eastern Counties League, Eastern Counties League Cup and East Anglian Cup, winning the Eastern Counties League in 1954–55, after which they left the league (stating that it was so strong that they needed to enter a more competitive team, which would be more expensive),[13] but continued to play in the East Anglian Cup for the next two seasons. In addition, the 'A' team was also entered in the London Professional Mid-Week League from 1949–50 to 1957–58, winning a second time in 1952–53. During the summer of 1958, the 'A' team was entered into the Metropolitan League, Metropolitan League Cup and Metropolitan League Professional Cup. This proved a very successful venture until the mid-1960s. Towards the end of the 1960s, the 'A' team struggled against strong amateur teams and the club declined to enter a team after the close of the 1968–69 season.


In 1999 they left the Combination to become founding members of the Premier Reserve League.[14] They never won the competition, although they did finish as runners-up in the 2001–02 and 2010-11 seasons. At the end of the 2011–12 season they finished 3rd in Reserve League South, in what would be the competition's final season. Players from the reserve team have also been used extensively in the League Cup since the 1997–98 season. At the beginning of the 2012–13 season Arsenal's reserve and academy structure received a major overhaul. The reserve team left the Premier Reserve League and joined the Professional Development League for the competition's inaugural season. Fundamentally, replacing the reserves with an Under-21 team that has the allowance of three over-age outfield players and one goalkeeper per match day squad. Arsenal also signed up for the expanded NextGen Series, later to be replaced by the UEFA Youth League in 2013.


At the beginning of the 2014–15 season Arsenal's academy coaching structure received a major change with Andries Jonker being appointed as head of academy on 1 July 2014,[15] along with several key changes with in key coaching roles throughout the academy.[16] In his time in charge of the academy, he instigated many changes, such as changes to the way the players were educated within the club, therefore helping them spend more time on site with their fellow players. He was also a key part in the new Hale End facility being built,[17] with three pitches for the academy teams to make use of. In 2016 with the rebranding of the Premier League the reserve team continued to play in the Professional Development League, but it would now be named the Premier League 2. On 27 February 2017, it was announced the Andries Jonker would leave his role as head of academy to join VfL Wolfsburg as head coach, alongside former Arsenal player Freddie Ljungberg as assistant coach.[18]

Under-23s current squadEdit

These players can also play with the senior squad and are all Young Professionals.

As of 30 May 2019[19][20]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
38   FW Folarin Balogun
40   DF Tolaji Bola
41   MF Robbie Burton
42   DF Harrison Clarke
43   MF Trae Coyle
45   FW Tyreece John-Jules
48   DF Mark McGuinness
49   DF Zech Medley
52   MF James Olayinka
No. Position Player
53   DF Joseph Olowu
54   DF Tobi Omole
57   MF Matthew Smith
59   DF Zak Swanson
61   MF Nathan Tormey
63   GK James Hillson
76   GK Arthur Okonkwo
77   FW Bukayo Saka

Out on loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
37   DF Daniel Ballard (on loan at Swindon Town)
55   DF Jordi Osei-Tutu (on loan at VfL Bochum)
No. Position Player
56   MF Ben Sheaf (on loan at Doncaster)
44   GK Dejan Iliev (on loan at iClinic Sereď)

Youth team historyEdit

Arsenal Youth (1954–1998)Edit

Arsenal have occasionally operated a youth team as far back as 1893–94, and there had been an established third team known as Arsenal 'A' for young players from 1929 to 1969.

The club have played in the FA Youth Cup since the 1954–55 season and then entered into the South East Counties Youth Football League simultaneously. The following season the league competition was renamed as the South East Counties League.[21] Arsenal also featured from 1955 into another tournament known as the South East Counties League Cup wherein they stayed within while excluding the 1968 and 1969 seasons to the 1997–98 English footballing season. Arsenal's Academy altogether was victorious in the Counties League in 1956, 1965, 1972 and 1991. Arsenal's youths also played in the London Minor FA Challenge Cup from 1955 to 1956. In 1960 they rejoined the competition where they stayed until 1967 and was also successful in the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup which they won in 1956, 1972, 1975 and 1999.[3][22]

Arsenal thus became, of youth teams in the country, the winners of seven South East Counties League titles and six South East Counties League Cups of which included three "doubles".[22]

Arsenal Academy (1998–present)Edit

The youth team became founder members of the FA Premier Youth League in 1997–98. The league was initially a single division and Arsenal won the inaugural title. The following season this was renamed the Premier Academy League and split into Under-19 and Under-17 sections, with the new FA Academy system formally changing Arsenal's youth team to Academy status. Arsenal entered teams in both sections, winning the U17 title in 1999–00 and the U19 title in 2001–02 as well as two more FA Youth Cups in 2000 and 2001.[3]

Since 2004–05, the FA Premier Academy League has consisted of only a single section for Under-18s, although an Under-16 section is played with no league table being recorded. Arsenal U18s have won their division group (Group A) three times, in 2007–08, 2008–09 and 2009–10. They went on to win the academy play-off semi-final and final in 2008–09 and 2009–10 to become Premier Academy League champions. In 2009 they completed their first double by also winning the 2008–09 FA Youth Cup, having beaten Liverpool 6–2 on aggregate in the final.[3]

Arsenal got to fourth place of the NextGen Series in 2013 and got to the quarterfinals of the newly created UEFA Youth League in 2014.[23][24][25][26] In 2016, Arsenal's U21s won the semifinal of the Professional Development League's Division 2 playoffs 2-1 against Blackburn Rovers.[27] In the final Arsenal beat Aston Villa by 3 goals to 1 at the Emirates Stadium so as to become playoff champions.[28]

In April 2017, Arsenal's Under 13 team defeated Sunderland to lift the inaugural Premier League National Cup as champions.[29] As well, in June 2017, Arsenal's Under-14s won the 2016-17 Premier League Albert Phelan Cup.[30] On 7 July 2017, it was announced that Per Mertesacker, who will retire from football at the end of the 2017-18 season, would take up the role of Arsenal Academy's manager thereafter.[31]

Under 18s current squadEdit

These players can also play with the Under 23s and the senior squad.

Young ProsEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
37   DF Daniel Ballard
38   FW Folarin Balogun
41   MF Robbie Burton
42   DF Harrison Clarke
43   MF Trae Coyle
45   FW Tyreece John-Jules
47   MF Jordan McEneff
No. Position Player
48   DF Mark McGuinness
49   DF Zech Medley
52   MF James Olayinka
53   DF Joseph Olowu
54   DF Tobi Omole
57   MF Matthew Smith
59   DF Zak Swanson

Second YearsEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
68   DF Ryan Alebiousu
69   MF Ben Cottrell
70   DF Matthew Dennis
71   MF Stan Flaherty
72   FW Sam Greenwood
73   GK Karl Jakob Hein
No. Position Player
74   DF Joel Lopez
75   FW Alfie Matthews
76   GK Arthur Okonkwo
77   FW Bukayo Saka
78   GK Tom Smith

First YearsEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
79   MF Miguel Azeez
80   FW Nathan Butler-Oyedeji
81   GK Ovie Ejeheri
82   GK Hubert Graczyk
83   DF Alex Kirk
84   DF Levi Laing
No. Position Player
85   DF Mazeed Ogungbo
86   DF Daniel Oyegoke
87   FW Luke Plange
88   DF Jason Sraha
89   MF Kido Taylor-Hart
90   MF Cătălin Cîrjan


Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
  GK Remy Mitchell
  GK Pedro Virginia
  DF Zane Monlouis
  DF Henry Jeffcott
  DF Brooke Norton-Cuffy
  DF Zach Awe
  DF Taylor Foran
  DF Harry Jones
  MF Charlie Patino
No. Position Player
  MF Marcelo Flores
  MF James Sweet
  MF Charles Sagoe Jr.
  MF Mauro Bandeira
  MF Malcolm Ebiowei
  MF Luigi Gaspar
  FW Billy Vigar
  FW Omari Hutchinson
  FW Khayon Edwards

Current staffEdit

As of 03 July 2019[32]

Head Coaches:

Per Mertesacker Academy Manager
Luke Hobbs Assistant Academy Manager
Steve Bould U23 Head Coach
Trevor Bumstead U16 Head Coach
Greg Lincoln U15 Head Coach
Simon Copley U14 Head Coach
Darren Hawks U13 Head Coach (Interim)
Adam Birchall U12 Head Coach
Josh Smith U11 Head Coach
Paul Barry U10 Head Coach
Alex Nichols U9 Head Coach


Ryan Garry U23 Assistant Coach
Ken Gillard U18 Assistant Coach
Andy Woodman Head of Academy Goalkeeping/U23 Goalkeeping Coach
Chris Terpcou U15-U18 Goalkeeping Coach
Seb Barton U9-U14 Goalkeeping Coach
Ameesh Manek Head of Academy Operations
Lee Herron Head of Academy Football Operations
Matt Henly Head of Education
Kate Green Head of Personal Development and Psychology
Marcel Lucassen Head of Coach and Player Development
Joe Sutton Pre-Academy Coordinator
Des Ryan Head of Sports Medicine and Athletic Development
Jordan Reece Lead Academy Physiotherapist
Steve Morrow Head of Youth Scouting
Bobby Arber Senior Academy Scout
Paul Wilson Academy Kit Coordinator
Niall O'Connor Academy Analyst
Jack Patchett Academy Football Analyst (U17/U18)
James Krause Academy Football Analyst (U16)
Sam Moore Academy Football Analyst (U14/U15)
Josh Smith Academy Football Analyst (U12/U13)
Sam Wilson Strength and Conditioning
Padraig Roche Strength and Conditioning
John Boca Senior Academy Operations Officer


1922–23, 1926–27, 1927–28, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1930–31, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1946–47, 1950–51, 1962–63, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1983–84, 1989–90
  • Football Combination Cup: 3
1952–53, 1967–68, 1969–70
  • London FA Challenge Cup: 7
1933–34, 1935–36, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1957–58, 1962–63, 1969–70
  • West Kent League: 3
1900–01, 1901–02, 1902–03
  • London League First Division: 3
1901–02, 1903–04, 1906–07
  • Kent Junior Cup: 1
  • London Professional Mid-Week League: 2
1931–32, 1952–53
1958–59, 1960–61, 1962–63
1960–61, 1965–66
1960–61, 1961–62
1997–98 (U18), 1999–00 (U17), 2001–02 (U19), 2008–09 (U18), 2009–10 (U18), 2015–16 (Play-Off Winners) (U21)
1965–66, 1970–71, 1987–88, 1993–94, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2008–09
  • Premier League National Cup: 1[29]
1955–56, 1964–65, 1971–72, 1990–91
  • South East Counties League Cup: 6
1959–60, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1963–64, 1970–71, 1979–80
  • Southern Junior Floodlit Cup: 5
1962–63, 1965–66, 1984–85, 1990–91, 1997–98
  • London Minor FA Cup: 1

International academy graduatesEdit

This is a list of former Arsenal F.C. academy or Arsenal 'A' graduates who have gone on to represent their country at full international level since the Second World War. Players who are still at Arsenal, or play at another club on loan from Arsenal, are highlighted in bold.

As of 24 August 2017.


  • Soar, Phil & Tyler, Martin (2005). The Official Illustrated History of Arsenal. Hamlyn. ISBN 978-0-600-61344-2.
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  2. ^ "Youth sides to play at Meadow Park". 30 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Arsenal Academy's Awards".
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  5. ^ a b "Academy Final- Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal - Report". Arsenal Broadband Limited. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  6. ^ "Woolwich Arsenal Reserves". Football Club History Database.
  7. ^ a b Kelly, Andy. "Complete Honours List". Arsenal Pics. Archived from the original on 8 April 2003. Retrieved 3 December 2006.
  8. ^ a b c "Arsenal at war".
  9. ^ Haynes, Graham (1998). A-Z Of Bees: Brentford Encyclopaedia. Yore Publications. p. 82. ISBN 1 874427 57 7.
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  11. ^ "Margate FC A History".
  12. ^ "Arsenal 0-0 Colchester United".
  13. ^ Blakeman, M (2010) The Official History of the Eastern Counties Football League 1935-2010, Volume II ISBN 978-1-908037-02-2
  14. ^ "Arsenal reserves get a breakthrough of sorts". Sport
  15. ^ "Andries Jonker appointed Academy manager". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Youth academy coaches re-organisation". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  17. ^ "New Academy facility formally unveiled". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Jonker named head coach at Wolfsburg". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Academy". Arsenal F.C. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Arsenal – Squad". UEFA. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  21. ^ "The History of the Middlesex County FA".
  22. ^ a b "South East Counties League: Archives".
  23. ^ "Arsenal 1-0 CSKA Moscow: Gnabry grabs plaudits but dogged defenders are the quiet stars". Four Four
  24. ^ a b "Arsenal 1 Sporting Lisbon 3". Daily Mail.
  25. ^ "Clinical Arsenal overcome Shakhtar".
  26. ^ "Barcelona U19s 4-2 Arsenal U19s: Gnabry strike can't stop Gunners". Daily Mail.
  27. ^ "Arsenal u21s 2-1 Blackburn Rovers".
  28. ^ a b "Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 1- Villa youngsters suffer play-off final defeat". Birmingham Mail.
  29. ^ a b "Arsenal's U-13s win national cup final".
  30. ^ "Congrats to our Under-14s".
  31. ^ "Per Mertesacker to lead Arsenal academy".
  32. ^ "Academy -". Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  33. ^ "Arsenal Reserves: Honours". NTL
  34. ^ "West Ham U23 1-3 Arsenal U23: Young Gunners win Premier League 2". Daily

External linksEdit