There have been significant developments at Fulham’s Academy in recent years, as the Club continues in its quest to recruit players of outstanding potential that can be nurtured into future First Team players.
Fulham are one of the clubs leading the way at academy level having won their respective league title for the past two seasons and the national final last term. During the 2011/12 campaign Kerim Frei, Alex Kacaniklic, Tom Donegan, Neil Etheridge, Lauri Dalla Valle and Marcello Trotta all made their First Team debuts, with Buomesca Tue Na Bangna, Dan Burn, Josh Pritchard, Ronny Minkwitz, Sean Kavanagh and Alex Brister involved in Martin Jol’s pre-season plans this year.
In July 2012 the Club announced that the Fulham Academy had been awarded Category One status under the new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). The Academy is central to the Club’s current and future plans, highlighted by an aggressive recruitment drive which has seen the Club gain a wealth of experience and knowledge that will lead the Academy into arguably the most exciting era in its history.
At the start of 2009 Huw Jennings was appointed as the Club’s Academy Director following successful spells at Southampton and the FA Premier League, where he served as Youth Development Manager. Further high profile appointments followed in the summer of 2009 including former Liverpool FC Academy Director Malcolm Elias, who joined FFC as Head of Talent ID and Recruitment.
There is no doubt that Fulham’s Academy now possesses the infrastructure, facilities and pathway to success, to attract the brightest talents at home and abroad. The Academy provides the best coaching and facilities to maximise the opportunity of any talented youngster becoming a professional footballer.
The 2011/12 season turned out to be a truly memorable year for the Club's Academy. Fulham's U14 team won the 2012 Premier League U14 national tournament at the London Soccerdome in February 2012. Fulham beat Chelsea 4-2 in the Final to secure their rightful berth in a three-way tournament in Barcelona, which was played at the Sant Joan Despi Academy, Barcelona, in March. On the 28th April, Fulham's U18 side secured the Premier Academy League Group A title for the second consecutive season after winning an exciting battle with Norwich City in Norfolk by four goals to three.
A week later Kit Symons' team once again came from behind to defeat Leicester City in a Semi-Final Play Off at Motspur Park to reach the Premier League Academy League Play Off Final. On Saturday 12th May Fulham's U18 Team were crowned 2011/12 Premier Academy League Champions after defeating Blackburn Rovers by two goals to nil. Strikes from Cauley Woodrow and Ryan Williams secured the Academy title for FFC on a historic afternoon at Craven Cottage in front of Martin Jol, his First Team Squad and almost 1,000 supporters.