|ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB ACADEMY|
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ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB ACADEMY
Arsenal Football Club Academy are the youth team of Arsenal Football Club. They currently play in the FA Premier Academy League, the highest level of youth football in England. The club enter Under-18 and Under-16 teams in the League, but they operate the academy for boys from the age of nine upwards.
Some of the senior members of the U18 team also play for Arsenal Reserves. The current head coach is Pat Holland after the promotion of former Arsenal defender Steve Bould, while the younger teams are coached by Roy Massey and Steve Gatting. Former Arsenal midfielder and Republic of Ireland international Liam Brady oversees the overall youth development setup at the club with his assistant David Court.
Arsenal Youth (1954–1998)
Arsenal have occasionally operated a youth team as far back as 1893–94, and there had been an established third team (known as Arsenal 'A') for young players from 1929 to 1969.
In 1954, Arsenal started their own formal youth team. They entered the South Eastern Counties League (renamed the South East Counties League the following season) and the associated South East Counties League Cup from 1954–55 to 1997–98 (excluding 1967–68 and 1968–69). Arsenal Youth also played in the London Minor FA Challenge Cup (from 1954–55 to 1955–56 and 1959–60 to 1966–67) and the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup (from 1955–56 to 1971–72 and 1974–75 to 1998–99). The club have played in the FA Youth Cup since 1954–55.
During this time, Arsenal were one of the most successful youth teams in the country, winning seven South East Counties League titles, six South East Counties League Cups (including three "doubles") and four FA Youth Cups.
Arsenal Academy (1998–present)
The youth team became founder members of the FA Premier Youth League in 1997–98. The league was initially a single division and Arsenal won the inaugural title. The following season this was renamed the Premier Academy League and split into Under-19 and Under-17 sections, with the new FA Academy system formally changing Arsenal's youth team to Academy status. Arsenal entered teams in both sections, winning the U17 title in 1999–00 and the U19 title in 2001–02 as well as two more FA Youth Cups.
Since 2004–05, the FA Premier Academy League has consisted of only a single section for Under-18s, although an Under-16 section is played with no league table being recorded. Arsenal U18s have won their division group (Group A) three times, in 2007–08, 2008–09 and 2009–10. They went on to win the academy play-off semi-final and final in 2008–09 and 2009–10 to become FA Premier Academy League champions. In 2009 they completed their first double by also winning the 2008–09 FA Youth Cup, having beaten Liverpool 6–2 on aggregate in the final.
International academy graduates
This is a list of former Arsenal F.C. academy or Arsenal 'A' graduates who have gone on to represent their country at full international level since the Second World War.
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