How To Join Manchester United’s Youth Academy? (Explained)

how to join MUFC academy

Finding out how to join Manchester United’s Youth Academy is a priority for thousands of youngsters worldwide.

It is the first step on the ladder to achieving a dream of playing for one of the most renowned and well-respected (despite the past few years!) football clubs in the world.

Most Premier League teams’ academies start accepting players at the age of 9, although many teams have development groups catering to even younger players.

But how do you become part of such an illustrious academy?

Let’s find out…

How To Join Manchester United’s Youth Academy?

To join Manchester United’s youth academy, you must be selected by one of the club’s scouts or coaches. To give yourself the greatest chance of this happening you want to play for the best possible team in your local area. Also, keep an eye out for any trials or open days of any professional team local to you and see if Manchester United are running any of their summer soccer schools in your vicinity.

Two men wearing retro football inspired t shirts with text in between them

You Must Be Selected to Join the Academy

First things first, Manchester United must select you to join their academy.

I know that might sound obvious, and you can contact the club as much as you want, but at the end of the day the decision rests with them.

That said, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of bringing yourself to the club’s attention.

Play For the Best Team in Your Area

United has a network of scouts throughout the country.

So if you are serious about joining Manchester United’s Youth Academy, your first step should be to play for the best possible team in your area to give yourself the greatest chance of getting the attention of their scouts.

Because let’s face it, if you are going to join an academy as illustrious as Manchester United, you will need to be capable of playing for the best team in your local area.

If you can’t even manage that, the likelihood is that you aren’t good enough to play for Manchester United.

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If you are playing for a notable team in your area there is more likelihood of scouts being at their matches.

Years ago when I was playing junior football, we used to travel up to London frequently to play teams that had a number of players on the books of professional clubs. Ten-Em-Bee and Epsom Eagles are just two I remember. 

There would always be a few scouts at their games.

Think About Who You Know

So if you have managed to get yourself playing for a very good local team in your area, think about the connections that should open up.

If the team really is one of the best in the area then there will be more eyes on them and they are likely to have a player or two on the books of a professional club.

Maybe one of the parents can put a good word in for you. Or maybe you know someone involved in football, even if it is a friend of a friend and at a lower level than Manchester United, try and utilise any possible connections you may now have.

Get Your Foot on the Ladder

Let’s be honest, getting into the academy of any team is difficult, but getting into the Manchester United academy is one of the most difficult of all.

For that reason, don’t make it the be-all and end-all.

Think of other professional or semi-professional teams local to you.

For instance, in the Manchester area alone there is a plethora of league and non-league teams: Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Bolton, etc.

If you win a place in one of their academies and are good enough, then Manchester United may come calling further down the line.

The most important thing is to get your foot on the ladder rather than to jump onto the top rung.

Make Your Own Video Reel

One of the great benefits of the world we live in today is how easy it is to capture things in photos and on film.

If you decide to take the proactive approach and contact Manchester United directly, then having a video highlights reel showing you in action will add more weight to your case.

Ideally, you will want something short and snappy showing the different facets of your game.

If you can get hold of the details of someone who works at the club and contact them, even better.

But also remember that United will receive hundreds of these types of inquiries each week, so if you don’t get a reply don’t take it personally.

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Be Aware of Trial Sessions, Open Days and Soccer Schools Being Held

These don’t necessarily have to be events run specifically by Manchester United, they could be for any professional or semi-professional club.

However Manchester United does run Manchester United Soccer Schools throughout the school holidays.

The club’s soccer schools cater for the following ages:

  • Junior 8-11 yrs
  • Senior 12-14 yrs
  • Youth 15-17 yrs
  • Girls 8-17 yrs

Anyone can go to a Manchester United Soccer School, so if you are a very good footballer, and you are looking to get scouted, then attending one of these schools will put you in front of coaches with links to Manchester United.

United has also started an Emerging Talent Programme with over 50 local schools and grassroots clubs across Manchester and the North West.

This is another way to be spotted by a United scout, with the remit of the program being:

“To identify talented footballers across the region and support them further by offering them the opportunity to potentially attend a structured development programme at the club’s Emerging Talent Centre, based at the Aon Training Complex.”

Be Realistic

You have to remember that it is almost every child’s dream to play for a team like Manchester United.

It is a tough task in itself to get into an academy of a professional team, but then add into that the fact the percentage of players that make it out of an academy and go on to play professionally is less than 1%.

That goes to show just how the odds are stacked against you.

I always remember the chapter from the excellent book Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby on Gus Caesar.

Caesar played over 50 games for Arsenal and three times for England U21 but essentially drifted into football obscurity after that, at the age of 25.

Hornby muses how Caesar must have been far and away better than anyone else at his school, so he gets picked for a representative side.

Even then he was still miles better than anyone else, to the point he got offered an apprenticeship. Not with Brentford, or Fulham, or Leyton Orient but with Arsenal.

And that is only part one done, because if you look at everyone else in the same youth team as Gus Caesar around that time, only David Hillier made it to the first-team.

But Gus Caesar makes it out of the youth-team and plays for the reserves.

Then just before Christmas in 1985, Viv Anderson is suspended and Gus Caesar makes his first-team debut at the age of 19, away to Manchester United.

Not only does he make his debut, he has a good game and Arsenal win 1-0.

George Graham comes in as manager and likes him, and he is getting regular game time and gets called up to England U21s. He has been recognised as one of the best 20 or so players in the entire country.

But by 1987, things start to go wrong for Gus Caesar. Maybe opposing teams have had a chance to work out his weaknesses, but all of a sudden he starts getting exposed in one-on-one situations.

By the start of the 1987-88 season he is very much the last choice centre-back for Arsenal. But at the end of the season injuries and suspension meant he played in the 1988 League Cup Final. It doesn’t go well for him.

By the end of the 1990-91 season, he has played just a handful of games in the past three years and is released.

He signs for Cambridge, but then they release him, as do Bristol City. Both Airdrie and Colchester do as well. By the time he is 30, he is playing non-league football. As Nick Hornby summarises:

“To get where he did, Gus Caesar clearly had more talent than nearly everyone of his generation (the rest of us can only dream about having his kind of skill) and it still wasn’t quite enough.”

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But Don’t Give Up!

But I don’t want to end on a negative note, so let’s remember Ian Wright who didn’t come into professional football until he was 21.

Before that, he had had unsuccessful trials at Southend United and Brighton and Hove Albion.

He even spent two weeks in Chelmsford Prison for failure to pay fines.

He was spotted playing for his local Sunday team by non-league Greenwich Borough and joined them, being paid £30 a week. 

Just seven games later an opposing manager was so impressed by Wright he tipped off Crystal Palace.

Wright was invited for a trial and in August 1985, just before he turned 22, he signed a professional contract for Crystal Palace. In his first season, he was Palace’s second-highest scorer.

If you are good enough, you will get an opportunity.

How to Join Manchester United from Overseas

Manchester United’s website carries details of the regulations for trials for players born outside of England.

In summary:

  • A player cannot attend the academy until he is 15 on the recommendation of a scout or coach.
  • They cannot register for the academy unless they lives within 90 minutes of it.
  • They cannot move specifically to the area for football reasons. However moving for family reasons is permitted – ie if a parent gets a job in the area.
  • EU/EEA citizens can sign as a scholar at the age of 16.
  • Non EU/EEA citizens can sign as a scholar at the age of 18, but only if eligible for a work permit.

How To Join Manchester United’s Academy From India?

To join Manchester United’s academy if you are from India, you will need to be recommended by an official Manchester United or scout.

You will then need to fulfill the criteria mentioned above.

How To Join Manchester United’s Academy From Kenya?

To join Manchester United’s academy if you are from Kenya, you will need to be recommended by an official Manchester United or scout.

You will then need to fulfill the criteria mentioned above.

How To Join Manchester United’s Academy From Nigeria?

To join Manchester United’s academy if you are from Nigeria, you will need to be recommended by an official Manchester United or scout.

You will then need to fulfill the criteria mentioned above.

Final Thoughts

To join Manchester United’s academy you must be recommended by a Manchester United coach or scout.

To achieve this you will need to raise your profile as much as possible, and the best way of doing this is by playing for the best local team in the area.

There will be more likelihood of scouts attending their matches, and it could also lead to being selected to play for your district or country.

Try and utilise any connections you may have to professional or semi-professional clubs and keep an eye out to see if Manchester United are holding any of their soccer schools near you in the summer.

The most important thing is to get your foot on the ladder.

Your dream might be to play for Manchester United, but if you get selected to play for another professional team’s academy, even at a lower level, it could lead to greater things.

Finally, and most importantly, you must have talent and dedication.

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87 thoughts on “How To Join Manchester United’s Youth Academy? (Explained)”

  1. I will love to be a player at Manchester united, so i can improve in my football skills. Hope you can help me out by joining your lovely 🌹 team . Thank alot for your cooperation.

  2. Wanna play for this club I’m from Nigeria it’s my dream to play as a Manchester United player wanna be part of the theater of dream 🥺😩

      • I,m man utd fun from South Sudan
        Am kindly wishing my two lovely sons to be in Manchester United.
        I know it is too far for me to say that. But with spirit my team I have speak it out of heard.

    • My is opeyemi Joshua Abolade I am a very talented player am also winger and I will be very happy to play for Manchester untied and if give a chance and You let my Dream come true I promise that I will never let you down

      • My is Opeyemi Joshua Abolade I am 17 years old I am from Nigeria l am very talented play am also a winger I will be very happy if you let me play for Manchester untied and if you let Dream Come True I promise that will never let you down I promise

      • I am a Nigerian
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        And he has always wanted to Join Manchester united right from when he was a kid
        He need a scout so he can show him and prove his skills that he his capable of playing for Manchester united

    • Hi Ibrahim, the best thing to do would be to being by reading this article I’ve tried to outline everything as clearly as possible. Good luck!

      • Pls am from Ghana, I am very good at Football and am at the age of 15, pls i really want to join Man united but can they select me if they Haven’t seen me playing before

        • I would like to join man united, am 19 years old from Australia. I am currently playing NPL under 21. I would love to play as a professional player in the future. I will definitely appreciate your support.

  3. my name is abel and I am from ethiopia and ihave atalent and I want to be profesional foot ball player for man u and how I can jon u16 man u acadamy help me I have big dream

      • I am from Nigeria.and i am living in kubwa Abuja and i will love to join Manchester United team to be the best player.i play number 7 and i am 18 years i hope to the best and to take Manchester United to become the best club

  4. Am a Ugandan and I’ve got talented but not economically privileged boys of under 12, 13 and 14 how can I make them join the academy

    • Hi Kabugo, hopefully this article gives you a good starting point, but your players need to be spotted by a Manchester United scout, to be officially recruited to the club’s academy.

  5. My name is JAMES FERNANDEZ MANU NEXT BEST FOOTBALLER IN THIS WORLD ⚽⚽⚽ I like to be a best footballer in this world like Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandez please please please help me Iam 16 years old I was born on 2nd July 2006 I started to join Manchester United club in 2019 every day I buy data for ten thousand shillings for just 1 day but I didn’t get help I promise you if you take me now now in ManU accademy Iam going to getting for my team ManU club all the cups Sir Alex Ferguson,all Manchester United Footballers, ManU academy, ManU Executive sports, ManU Tv and who enever receives this information and he is in association with Manchester United club please I humbly request you to help me to come in Manchester United academy now now I think you no me Iam the one on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google please help me to come in Manchester United academy Iam in Uganda 🇺🇬 from Africa in KAMPALA CITY my dad is called Edward mutebi talemwa ManU best fan in Uganda 🇺🇬 please help me but I didn’t have sout in my country for ManU

  6. I have always want to play for Manchester united it as been my fteam since when i was a child since when i was 5yrs old i wish i could just joint Manchester united academy that u
    Love Manchester united

  7. I love to join man u team because I am well tallented,i am a good mildfielder I am from Nigeria and I can run fast and I can also play as stricker please😥please😥.

  8. I never play for myself, I always play for my club.
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      • Please help be my manager
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    • My name is Loi.I am 12 years old.I was born in Vietnam.I really want to enter a football academy in Europe.I hope that you guys can see me playing.Because in Vietnam,we are. There are no scouts from Europe to watch us play. When I get into the academy I will try my best, to be the first player in Vietnam to play for a big club.

  9. I am a Nigerian I a am very good and talented Attaking midfielder I really want to be a man united player am 17 year old in Nigeria Adamawa state

  10. My name is fison my country have no person that play in premier league,champions league or laliga or any kind of league. All of them play in our country Ethiopia. I want to be footballer starting with 5 years old now i am 13 years old . I want to join any best that out of my country like man united,man city any kind of club that is in premier league,champions league I will try my best to be a great player like mbappe 🙏Please

  11. Hi everyone in man united my name is suleh lising i am 17yrs i just want my dream come true my fan supporting team is man united and i need to play on man united i play the following roles LB,RB andCM i am a left footed player in my country there are no foot ball academy i hope you will treat me well man united cause i am a reall fan and i want to make my dream come true contact me on+254111716268

  12. Hi everyone I am 13 years old and my brother is 10 I am using my mum’s phone I am a Manchester United fan I love football I am a midfielder and my brother a right winger we want to play for Manchester united football acadeymy in England thank you

  13. My name is Adekoyejo hamid from Nigeria I really really want to play for MAN UTD ACADEMY BUT NO chance I am a very good right winger pls help me out if you can pls help me out 😭😭🙏🙏 age 14

  14. Hello my name is Edward, I am from Kenya, my dream is to play for Manchester United, I am abig fan of football ,I would be honoured if you took in my recommendation ,I’m 17,thank you for reading

  15. Hello my name is Nahom am from Ethiopia i am 15years old and i really love football and was hoping for Man United to help me fullfil my dream of becoming a great striker thank you.

  16. My name is des.vo Yung,my dream is to be a great footballer for Manchester united FC,i love Shaw, Martinez, martial,de gae,varane,bruno Fernandez, Sancho, Anthony, Maguire, Fred,and most especially Rashford.if I have the opportunity to become a good Manchester united player I will be very happy, honest,greatful.but I am a striker and winger.lastly I don’t support,but if you can support me,you will never go dry in any match,money or any valuable thing. Thank you.God bless you.

  17. I’ve always dreamt to play football with my life for man utd…
    I don’t care if I’m not paid at first…I just want to prove my capability to the world…
    I know my parents wanted me to play, but it’s so sad they left the planet without seeing their dreams come through…I know it’s not easy with me playing for my lifetime club… The only club that I can skip meals to watch, I pray God answers my prayers one day.

  18. My name is Emmanuel am from Nigeria Manchester united has being my club from childhood i will love to play for the club starting from the academy and i promise to give my best and see the club progress to a greater height as it is now i love united

  19. My name is Emmanuel from Nigeria I have great passion for football and wish to join Manchester United football academy I am 15 years of age and also very talented

  20. I’m really desperate to play for Manchester united…I’m an attacking midfielder from Nigeria and I really wish my dream comes true playing for Manchester united


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