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What's life like at an Academy?
Around the Academy:

Half-time team talk for players from the Liverpool Academy
You will play regularly for your Academy side

Paul Holder, assistant Academy director at Crystal Palace, reveals that being a trainee is not all a bed of roses.

At the Crystal Palace Academy, our youngsters train three times a week.

That's one and a half hours on Tuesday evenings and Thursday evenings and an hour on Saturday mornings.

On Sundays, we play matches against other Academy teams. That could mean up to 28 games a season.

At Under-9s, 10s and 11s, the matches are eight-a-side, moving up to regular 11-a-side numbers after that.

Players are given practical homework such as training drills they can practice at home.

We also discuss with parents how they can help out with things like nutrition and mental preparation.

Agility is really important too.

So, while the players can practice their football skills with us we'll ask their schools to make sure they take part in other sports such as gymnastics or basketball.

Not all glamour

When he's approaching 16, we'll sit down with the player and his parents to decide the best way forward.

If the player is offered a scholarship, he'll more than likely move to live in digs near the club.

He'll be expected to continue his education though and will be offered various courses such as A levels, BTecs or GNVQs at a local college.

He'll also be expected to do some jobs around the club such as collecting the kit and taking it to the laundry.

Believe me, it's not all glamour!

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How will I get noticed?
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Moving up the ladder
What's life like at an Academy
What if I'm rejected?

Brain box footballers
You'll be expected to continue your education if you join an Academy.
Some players who have managed to combine football and studies include:
The great Brazilian skipper Socrates, who was a doctor
Former Manchester United player (now coach) Brian McClair who has an engineering degree
Preston and Northern Ireland defender Colin Murdock who studied law
Former Wales international Barry Horne who has a degree in chemistry.

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