Swansea City confirmed that the club’s academy has been awarded Category One status under the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) rules.
Despite playing games from under-9 to under-21 level last season against other Category One clubs, Swansea were still officially recognised as a Category Two club.
This is huge news for the youth academy, as it now means they rank among the United Kingdom’s best clubs in that department, meaning they will be able to attract better talent.
What does it mean for the club?
Moving up to Category One status means that the club will continue to play alongside the top tier academies, where they finished 3rd in the Barclays Under 21 Premier League Division 2 and made the Play-offs.
Funding, pathways for opportunities within the Premier League and recruitment options will also receive a boost, according to the official statement that the club put out on their website.
What have officials had to say?
Academy director Nigel Rees was understandably over the moon with the news, citing that the club and academy have worked hard for a number of years to get to this point.
He also stated that the club has come a long way in a very short period of time and “we also recognise that we must keep striving to develop and progress.”
Players the fans can look forward to
With the upgrade, there will surely be several incoming players that are highly rated and could make it to the first team, but there are also players in the current setup that could make the jump.
Just like Modou Barrow did, there is another high-flying winger in the youth setup that isn’t far away from the first team in Kenji Gorre. Gorre has made one Premier League appearance already for Swansea and has scored a bagful of goals at youth level.
Midfielders Jay Fulton and Adam King look to follow the pathway of fellow Scotsman Stephen Kingsley, and with the lack of current options in the middle of the park, the promising talents could be given a chance by Francesco Guidolin.
Matt Grimes spent part of last season on loan at Blackburn Rovers, before joining up with the England Under 21 side at the Toulon tournament, where he impressed. Grimes has made seven appearances for the first team and should play a bigger part this upcoming season.