Anyone who is part of a top Premier League academy must be living the dream of many young footballers.
Getting paid to play the beautiful game, with their whole lives ahead of them.
But how much do Manchester United academy players get paid?
They must be on decent money, right?
It isn’t actually what you might expect.
So let’s find out.
How Much Do Manchester United Academy Players Get Paid?
Academy scholars at Manchester United get paid £165 as a first-year scholar and £175 as a second-year scholar. This is a wage structure set for all Premier League and Football League clubs. Players can be offered academy scholarships when they are part of the club’s under 15 and under 16 age groups. Prior to this, they will not get paid for being part of the academy.
At What Age Can You Join a Premier League Academy?
The pathway to professional football is a bit confusing and has changed a number of times in my lifetime alone.
Let’s try and explain how a player can progress from junior football right up into professional football with a Premier League team like Manchester United.
A player can sign for an academy like Manchester Uniteds from the age of 8, to play in the Academy from the under 9 level.
However, Premier League clubs can coach players of any age, with many teams having ‘development groups’, that are allowed to play matches from the under 7 age group.
Each Premier League club is allowed a maximum of 250 players in its academy.
Players can then remain part of the academy up until they are 16, dependent obviously on the club and the player.
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From 1 January academy players in the under 15 age group, and 31 December for players in the under 16 age group, can be offered a one or two-year scholarship agreement.
From 1 January any academy player in the under 16 age group upwards can be offered a professional contract by the club, which can start when they turn 17.
So to recap by age:
- From age 7: Can play in matches for Premier League ‘development groups’.
- From age 8: Can sign to join a Premier League Academy and start playing at under 9 level.
- From age 15: Can be offered a scholarship agreement by a Premier League team.
- From age 16: Can be offered a professional contract by a Premier League team.
- From age 17: Can formally sign the contract and become a professional footballer.
How Much Do Academy Footballers Get Paid?
Academy players do not get paid anything until they sign a scholarship agreement, which can be offered to players from the age of 15 onwards.
In fact, according to the Mrs. MummyPenny blog, the parents of a player who is part of an academy squad will be out of pocket themselves. Mrs. MummyPenny estimates it costs her around £2,000 a year to cater to her two boys who are part of the Cambridge United Academy.
This is mainly in petrol costs for transport to training and tournaments, and for kit and boots.
If a player is offered and signs a scholarship agreement then they will start getting paid a weekly wage.
However, it is far from lucrative.
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Academy scholar wages at Premier League and Football League clubs are set at £165 a week for a first-year scholar, rising to £175 a week for a second-year scholar.
But it is also worth remembering beyond that the club will probably cover travel expenses and the player will be eating at the club or at his host family, so will have little in the way of food or rent costs either.
Then of course they are still able to receive money from kit and clothing sponsorship and any social media tie-ups they have, even before they become a professional.
From 1 January each year any player in the under 16 age group upwards can be offered a professional contract which will officially start when they turn 17.
That is really when the money can increase.
However, Manchester United, in common with a number of Premier League teams, has introduced a wage cap for most young players in the first year of a senior contract.
It can be difficult to ascertain the real salaries of Premier League players, but the Salary Sport website is usually a reliable way of getting an indication of most footballers’ salaries.
Its data shows that of United’s players on a professional contract who are 18 or under, the highest paid is Charlie McNeill who earns £3,400 per week.
He is followed by Joe Hugill on £2,100 a week and then Alejandro Garnacho on £1,500 a week.
Every other United player aged 18 or under earns £1,000 a week or less.
As mentioned, they can of course top this up with sponsorship deals, etc, and having a professional contract at Manchester United will undoubtedly make them a more attractive proposition, even if they haven’t yet played for the first team.
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When players sign as an academy scholar at Manchester United they will receive a wage of £165 a week for the first year and £175 a week for the second year.
In fact, this salary is set for all Premier League and Football League clubs.
They can top this up with independent sponsorship or social media deals, but that will be all they earn until signing a professional contract (if they do so).
Prior to signing as an academy scholar, which can be offered to players in the club’s under 15 and under 16 age groups, they will not receive any financial benefits for being part of the Manchester United academy.
One last warning, being part of a Premier League academy sounds like a wonderful way of life, but just 0.5% of the 12,500 footballers in England’s academy system go on to become professionals.