How to Join Manchester United Youth Academy

If you consider yourself talented, and Manchester United is your preferred or targeted club to play for, this article is for you. You will learn how to join Manchester United youth academy, even though it can be very competitive, considering that thousands of people around the world also have the same dream.

Joining United’s academy can be the first big step towards fulfilling their dream of playing for a top club that is also respected in football. Nonetheless, they have had some difficult times in recent years.

Most academies in the Premier League, such as Manchester United, start taking in players who are 9 years old. However, many of these teams also have programs for even younger kids. So, the big question is, how does one get a chance to join Manchester United Youth academy, especially since they rely on scouts?

Who Owns Manchester United?

Manchester United Plc., registered in the Cayman Islands, is the main company behind Manchester United Football Club and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The Glazer family owns more than 10% of its voting rights.

How to Join Manchester United Youth Academy

How to Join Manchester United Youth Academy

1. Get Scouted to Join Manchester United Football Academy

To start with, the most important thing is that Manchester United has to scout and pick you to join their academy. Unfortunately, you can’t contact Manchester United or send videos of skills to them to pick you up.

They won’t even open your messages in this regard. So, how do you get selected for Manchester United Academy? Usually, you get noticed by United’s scouts during tournaments. However, there are also several steps you can take to boost your chances of getting noticed by the club.

2. Play for Your Local Big Clubs

Manchester United has scouts worldwide looking for talented players. So, to join Manchester United youth academy, your first move should be to play for the best team you can find in your local community. This will increase your chances of being spotted by one of their scouts.

If you want to be part of a prestigious academy like Manchester United, you need to show that you are one of the best players in your area. If you’re not even able to do that, it’s probably a sign that you are not ready for a club like Manchester United. Playing for a well-known local team means there’s a higher chance that scouts will be watching their games.

3. Take Advantage of Your Club’s Connections

Let’s say you are currently playing for a good local football team. This is a great chance to make connections. If your team is one of the best locally, more people will be watching its games. There might even be players who are already part of a professional club. This is your opportunity to meet new people and make important contacts.

4. Create a Highlight Video

Today, it’s really easy to take photos and videos. If you’re reaching out to a big club, having a video that shows off your soccer skills can really help to join Manchester United youth academy. Make a short, exciting video that showcases different aspects of your game. If you can, find someone who works at the club and send them your video. Remember, though, clubs like United get lots of these videos every week. So, if you don’t hear back, don’t feel bad about it.

5. Look Out for Football Schools and Other Opportunities

Becoming a pro footballer is hard. You need to develop your skills by playing in competitive teams, not just at school but also for town or district teams, and at the highest level possible for your age.

Keep an eye on soccer schools and open days, not just those by Manchester United, but from other clubs too. Manchester United runs its own soccer schools during school holidays for different age groups:

  • Junior (8-11 years)
  • Senior (12-14 years)
  • Youth (15-17 years)
  • Girls (8-17 years).

These schools are open to everyone, and if you’re a talented footballer, they’re a good chance to be seen by coaches linked to Manchester United Academy. Also, United’s Emerging Talent Programme with local schools and clubs is another pathway to get noticed. The program typically looks for talented players and possibly brings them into a structured development program at United’s Emerging Talent Centre.

How Much Does it Cost to Join the Manchester United Academy?

Manchester United Academy will never charge you any money to make you part of the squad. However, you might spend some money trying to work yourself all the way to the top to be noticed by the scouts and eventually admitted into the academy. So, is Manchester United Academy free? Yes, it is largely free.

How to Join Manchester United Academy as an International Footballer

Manchester United has some requirements regarding young football players who aren’t from England (internationals) trying out for their team. Here are the rules:

  1. If a player is younger than 15, they can’t join Manchester United youth academy unless a scout or coach acknowledges them.
  2. To be part of the Manchester United youth academy, a player needs to live within a 90-minute drive of it.
  3. If a player moves to the area, it can’t just be for football. It’s okay if their family moves there for another reason, such as a parent getting a new job.
  4. If a player is from a country in the EU or EEA, they can join the academy as a scholar when they turn 16.
  5. Players from outside the EU/EEA can join as a scholar at 18, but only if they can get a work permit.

Can You Get a Trial to Play for Manchester United Academy?

Unfortunately, Manchester United does not hold open trials. Their scouts watch players first before inviting them to the club. There are strict rules in the Premier League regarding how many players Manchester United can train in each age group, so that makes it hard to get into the Academy.

Does Manchester United Offer Scholarships?

Yes, Manchester United offers scholarships. However, they do not have forms for scholarship applications, instead, scholarships are awarded based on skill and potential as seen by the staff. Most scholarship players are already signed with Manchester United academy before completing school.

Can You Play for Manchester United if You Live Outside the UK?

The Premier League has specific rules for young players from outside England joining football academies, including Manchester United youth academy:

  1. Boys can only try out from age 15 and must be recommended by a scout.
  2. They must live within 1½ hours of the academy and not move just for football.
  3. EU/EEA citizens can join at 16, and non-EU/EEA at 18 with a work permit.

Manchester United scouts look for potential players at international youth tournaments.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Join the Manchester United Academy?

EU/EEA citizens can join at 16, and non-EU/EEA at 18 with a work permit.


To join Manchester United youth academy, you need a recommendation from one of their scouts. Therefore, you have to play for the best local team you can or participate in international youth tournaments to make it more likely for scouts to notice you. You might even get a chance to play for your district or country. Use any connections you have with professional or semi-professional clubs. Also, keep an eye out for Manchester United soccer schools near you, especially in the summer where you can start this journey.

Even if your dream is to play for Manchester United, starting with another professional team’s academy, even a smaller one, can open up more opportunities for you. So, don’t limit your options. Besides, some of the best players in the world never got to play for their childhood favorite clubs.

Ultimately, in Manchester, for example, there are many teams such as Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Bolton, etc. You might find someone who can help you get in touch with these teams. Remember, starting with a smaller club can be a stepping stone. Eventually, bigger clubs like Manchester United might notice and sign you.

Read also15 Football Academy Scholarship Trials [in Europe]

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