Q: Can I come to the Academy for a trial?
A: The Academy do not hold open trials, therefore before a player can be considered for a trial they must register with a local youth team. Once you are playing regular football forward a copy of your fixtures onto the Recruitment Officer and he will arrange for a scout to monitor the games.
If the scout's reports are favourable, we would then contact the Club Secretary and parents to request permission for you to attend a trial. Players who are over 17 years old cannot trial with the Academy and should send their details to the first team's Chief Scout.
Q: At what age does the Academy start?
A: Boys can be signed on Academy forms at the age of 9. Younger boys can attend Development Centres or can be invited to attend Training Days.
Q: What are the stages of a trial?
A: Players who are invited to attend the Academy may trial for a six-week period. During the trial, coaching staff will assess the individuals and an invitation to continue may be offered, or the player will return to his youth club and will be monitored by the scouting staff.
Q: What happens at the end of the trial?
A: Players who are invited to trial at the Academy and are successful will be offered the opportunity to sign on an Annual Academy Form.
Q: I live outside of the North East of England. Can I still come for a trial?
A: Premier League rules state that only boys who live within a 1 ½ hour radius may sign as an Academy player. If you are in your U16 year, you can visit from a distance but once again we would try to observe you playing for your junior team.
Q: Can I come along to the Academy for some training with the coaches?
A: Unfortunately only boys who are invited to attend or are signed to the Academy can receive training from the Academy Coaches.
If you would like to find out about information on coaching courses in your area, please see the SAFC Foundation section.
Q: What is a Development Centre?
A: The Development Centres are the stepping stone from 'Youth Football' to 'Academy Football'.
They are an important part of the transition from the performance criteria applicable in youth football to the standards that are required within the SAFC Academy.
Without this stepping stone, young players may find the leap too great a challenge and not receive the opportunity to maximise their potential.
The purpose of the Development Centres is to provide a localised training programme to prepare and assess young talented players in anticipation of them making the step up to Academy football. Development Centres are available to boys who have firstly been identified by a Club Representative (Scout).
Q: I run a youth team and I'm looking for somewhere to play our games. Can I hire a pitch at the Academy of Light?
A: Unfortunately we do not have pitches available for hire. Please speak to your local council who will have details of facilities available in your area.
Q: I'm a girl looking to play for the Academy. What are the procedures?
A: Unfortunately at this time we do not run any girls' teams at the Academy. If you're interested in girls' football please contact SAFC Foundation or Sunderland WFC (www.sunderlandwfc.co.uk).
If we have not answered your question, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to provide assistance.