Our Academy net stretches far and wide in an effort to ensure the club's production line of young players continues to be one of the most successful in the game.
For the 2016/17 season approximately 120 young players were registered to play for the eight Middlesbrough teams from the under-nine age group up to the U16s.
Above that there were 24 full-time scholars and 20 in the U18 age bracket.
As well as the 17 part-time coaching staff based at Rockliffe Park there are a further 11 part-time coaching staff in our Development Centres at Eston, Hurworth, Whitby, Durham, Shildon and Thirsk.
Middlesbrough FC are a Category One Academy in the structure introduced in summer 2012 as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan.
The Premier League-produced plan - known as EPPP - saw youth football undergo its most fundamental overhaul in a generation.
Category One status meant more coaching access to young players and Middlesbrough FC involvement in the U18 and U21 Premier Leagues with Category One clubs throughout the country at U16, U18 and U21 levels.
Our Category One Academy status was renewed for a further two years in the summer of 2017.
The club also said goodbye to two stalwarts that year, with long-serving Academy Manager Dave Parnaby and former scout Ron Bone both announcing their retirement.
Parnaby and Bone’s work was fundamental over the years in securing Rockliffe Park as a Category One Academy and in 2017, Parnaby handed the reins to Craig Liddle.
Upon the news that Boro would retain its status as Category One, Academy Manager Liddle said: “We are delighted that we have once again been recognised with Category One status.
“A tremendous amount of hard work has gone in from the Academy and football club towards this important achievement.
“Our Academy has a fantastic history of achievement and with the Category One status in place we can look forward to continuing that good work.”
Your Guide to EPPP
What is the core principle?
It's a long-term strategy to take youth development to the next level.
It has six fundamental principles:
- Increase the number of home-grown players gaining pro contracts and playing first-team football at the highest level
- Create more time for players to play and be coached
- Improve coaching provision
- Implement a system of effective measurement and quality assurance
- Positively influence strategic investment into the Academy system, demonstrating value for money
- Seek to implement significant gains in every aspect of player development
How many categories are there?
Four - Boro are Category One.
How does this affect Boro's Academy games programme?
Boro teams are involved in national leagues involving Category One clubs at U18 and U23 levels.
What educational changes have been introduced?
Clubs can choose to operate three levels to provide either full-time, "hybrid" or part-time education for young players. Boro have chosen hybrid, which means some of the players' school work is undertaken at Rockliffe Park.
How much coaching access is allowed?
It varies with each age group. It's a minimum of 14 hours a week for Under-18 players, 12 hours for U16s and U15s, 10 hours for U12s to U14s, eight hours for U11s and four hours for U9s and U10s.