The Club do not hold open trials but players are occasionally invited in for a six-week period.
If you would like a boy up to the age of 16 to be watched by Reading Football Club then please do the following:
Send in as much information about his playing career, including fixture list if they currently play for a club, to:
Junction 11, M4
Our Academy then may or may not send a scout to watch the boy.
As well as contacting Colin with full details of a youngster's playing history, it is also possible for talented children to be spotted through our Football in the Community scheme.
If one of our coaches or scouts identifies a player at a soccer school or school club, they may be invited to spend time at one of our Development Centres, which are held throughout the region. From there, the most talented players can be invited to join the Academy's Elite Centre, which takes place at Madejski Stadium once a week for boys aged between 7-13, and successful graduates from the Elite Centre will be invited to a six-week trial to join their Academy age-group.
To recommend a player to Colin, please send a letter with full details of the boy's playing history, along with details of forthcoming games, venues and kick-off times.
Academy Manager Eamonn Dolan told us, "If you know a talented young player, the first thing to do is contact Colin Barnes at the football club. Up to the age of 12 we can recruit anyone who lives within an hour's travelling distance, and between the ages of 12 and 16 that increases to an hour and a half.
"If your granddad, work colleague or hairdresser knows a player who might be good enough for the Academy, let us know. It's then up to us to be professional enough to follow that up, and we will. We have scouts who will go and watch players - often a player will have been watched without them even realising it - and if we like the look of someone, we can invite them in for a six-week trial."
Eamonn says that it's important to introduce youngsters to the Academy system as early as possible, stating, "The golden years of learning are between seven and 11, when you can really get the kids into all the good habits. Kids are so receptive at that age, so our coaches are able to get into their thinking. We want players as young as possible, even at six or seven years of age. This is an elite programme and we're looking for the best."
The Academy boss also adds that a complete infrastructure is in place to look after our young players. "We ask a lot of our children, but we can offer them excellent back-up in terms of coaching, medical treatment, education and welfare. This is a good place for anyone, and certainly any local boy should be coming here now."