Reading Football Club were first able to announce that we had been awarded Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) Category 1 status in 2013, the highest level attainable.
Achieving Category 1 status was a strategic goal for the club, and achieving that goal ensures that our Academy is at the forefront of youth development in this country and further afield.
This categorisation recognises a number of major criteria including the level of our facilities, standard of coaching, education, and our ability to produce players for the first team. Only a small handful were given Category 1 status which now ensures we have fixtures against the very best Academies in the country, the ability to attract and retain the very best players nationwide, and far more contact time between our coaches and players.
When the new Elite Player Performance Plan was announced, the club made the strategic decision to invest a huge amount of time and effort in ensuring we gained the best possible grading, and it is credit to all concerned that we are now a Category 1 club. Our Academy has already grown beyond all recognition since the start of the EPPP with the addition of new staff, facilities and plans for a new training ground, and confirmation of Category 1 will see the development continue at great pace.
Everyone at the club recognises the importance of our Academy, and this categorisation gives us the best chance of maintaining and building upon the fantastic successes from within our youth setup.