Top 20 Football Academies in Europe

Football academies across Europe are renowned for producing some of the best talent in the world. Getting into one of these prestigious academies at a young age can set a player on the path to stardom.

The training, coaching, and facilities offered at these academies are second to none. Graduates of top European football academies go on to become household names playing for the biggest clubs and countries.

This article takes a look at the 20 most successful and prestigious football academies in Europe right now. We’ll look at the fees, application process, age requirements, and visa requirements for joining an academy.

What are the fees for joining a football academy in Europe?

The fees charged by football academies in Europe vary greatly depending on the reputation and facilities of the particular academy.

The very top academies such as La Masia (Barcelona) and Clairefontaine (Paris Saint-Germain) are completely free of charge. Being associated with these prestigious clubs offers huge benefits on its own.

Mid-level academies charge annual fees in the range of €5,000 to €10,000. Examples are academies run by clubs like Ajax, Anderlecht, Bayern Munich etc.

Lower level academies have much lower fees, usually between €1,000 to €3,000 per year. These provide good facilities but cannot match the coaching and resources of the top academies.

How do I apply to a football academy in Europe?

The application process varies for each academy but usually involves:

  • Sending in videos highlighting your skills and abilities
  • Getting invited for trials and assessments if shortlisted
  • Signing up with the academy if you impress and are offered a spot

Having good reference letters from previous youth coaches helps a lot during the application. Contact the academy directly to get the full details of their admission process.

Be prepared to showcase your technical skills, game intelligence, physical attributes, and passion during the trials. Competition is intense so bring your A-game.

What are the age requirements for joining a football academy in Europe?

Most renowned football academies recruit players between the ages of 9 to 12 years old. However, some academies take in even younger players aged 6-7 years if they show outstanding potential.

Players above 12 years can also get recruited by academies if they are exceptionally talented. But the ideal age is considered to be 10-12 years for joining an academy full-time.

This allows 2-4 years of high quality training and match experience before the players graduate to the senior/professional levels around 16-18 years old.

What are the visa requirements for joining a football academy in Europe?

For non-EU youngsters, it is mandatory to secure a student visa or athletic visa for joining a European football academy long-term.

Work closely with the academy officials to get visa sponsorships and handle the paperwork. EU citizens can freely live and play football across Europe without any visa.

Have all your documentation like identification, passport, academic records ready during the application process. Visa approvals can take time so start the process early.

Top 20 Football Academies in Europe

Academy Location Age Range
La Masia Barcelona, Spain 9-21 years
Clairefontaine Paris, France 8-15 years
Ajax Youth Academy Amsterdam, Netherlands 7-19 years
RSC Anderlecht Youth Academy Anderlecht, Belgium 5-21 years
FC Bayern Campus Munich, Germany 10-18 years.
Chelsea    Academy London, England 9-19 years
Manchester City Academy Manchester, England 9-21 years
ASPIRE Academy Doha, Qatar 12-18 years
Generation Adidas Leipzig, Germany 12-23 years
Olympique Lyonnais Academy Lyon, France 13-18 years
FC Porto Academy Porto, Portugal 10-20 years
Gazprom Football Academy Saint Petersburg, Russia 10-16 years
Milan Junior Camp Milano, Italy 6-17 years
Manchester United Academy England 10-20 years
FK Partizan Youth Academy Belgrade, Serbia 6-18 years
FC Shakhtar Donetsk Youth Academy Ukraine 12-19 years
Dinamo Zagreb Academy Zagreb, Croatia 6-19 years
FC Red Bull Salzburg Academy Salzburg, Austria 14-18 years
Sporting CP Academy Lisbon, Portugal 11-23 years
PSV Eindhoven Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands 8-19 years

These are some of the leading football academies in Europe right now. They offer state-of-the-art facilities, top quality coaching, and a proven track record of producing world-class players.

Graduates of these academies regularly sign professional contracts with reputed European clubs and national teams. The training methodology focuses on technical development, tactical knowledge, physical conditioning and psychological growth on and off the field.

Admission is highly competitive and requires a combination of talent, hard work, passion and luck. Prepare thoroughly for the trials with your best skills and unconstitutional to have a shot at getting selected.

How many players get selected from a typical academy trial?

At big academies, only a few players out of many get picked to join. Out of 100 players who try out, only about 5 to 10 will be selected. The exact number chosen depends on how good the players are that year. But the acceptance rate is very low because so many young players want to join top academies. Coaches can only take the best of the best. You have to show you are one of the top talents to have a chance. The trials are very competitive. So work very hard and showcase your best skills if you want to get a spot.


The top football academies of Europe are the gold standard for nurturing talented young players. The coaching, training, and facilities offered are unparalleled.

While gaining admission is challenging, the rewards are immense for those who make it. If you have the passion and determination, focus on improving your skills and getting noticed by scouts from these academies.

Work hard, play with heart, and you could graduate from one of these establishments into a top-level professional career. Keep polishing your game and don’t give up on your football dreams.

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