Cambridge United are delighted to announce that the Football Club's academy has successfully been granted category three status for a second consecutive audit as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan.
Academy staff received the result last week, having been the first club in the Football League to welcome in the auditors back in September, and were successful in achieving category three status for the next three years.
The U's academy were one of only eight category three clubs, with 40 in total, to be awarded this status without re-assessment such was the positive impression made by the Club on the auditors.
The overall audit reported on matters relating to the following areas; Productivity, The Player, Relationships, Operations, Elite Performance, Education & Welfare, Football and Club vision. In relation to The Player (Individual player reviews, Individual development plans, individual sessions), Operations (administration and recruitment) and Education & Welfare, Cambridge United received the maximum score for any category three club.
On the positive audit, Cambridge United Academy Manager Tom Pell commented: "This is a fantastic achievement by everyone involved within the Academy – the staff, the players and the parents. We are extremely happy with the outcome and I would like to go on record to thank Mark Bonner especially for leading the staff through our second successful audit process.
"The report from Double Pass (auditors) was fair and confirmed the areas in which we are strong, as well as areas for continued improvement. To have scored top marks in 'The Player, Operations and Education & Welfare' is of course especially pleasing as a lot of hard work goes into ensuring each individual within our system has their own individual program within a team framework, with processes such as their individual development plans, position specific sessions, opportunities to self-reflect with analysis clipping tools and most importantly an individual pathway which is specific to them.
"In addition to 'The Player', to have top marks in 'Operations' and 'Education & Welfare' as well is again extremely satisfying. We pride ourselves on recruiting the best boys we can for our Club and once they are in the building, commit to making sure they are looked after, both on and off the pitch as well as ensuring the parents buy into our philosophy. I am thrilled that we have been recognised for this as we want the boys to feel like they are part of the Cambridge United family as soon as they step into the building.
"Our main aim now is to provide the first team with more Academy products and I am extremely confident with the continued hard work of the staff, the parents and more importantly the players – we can achieve this goal."
Head of Football, Ben Strang concluded: "This report and successful audit score is one which we are incredibly proud to have achieved. Having been back in the Football League and obtained the relevant funding for the past four years, the work the Academy has done in that time has been quite incredible. This only happens because we have outstanding staff who work so diligently to maintain the highest professional standards and provide the best environment and programme available for our players.
"We have some gifted young players within the programme and work hard to enable all players flourish, as well as aiding their development into rounded young people with a holistic approach.
"As Tom has mentioned, the contribution of Mark Bonner and his exceptional leadership as Academy Manager cannot be underestimated. His progression in to the first team coaching staff, coupled with Tom's elevation to Academy Manager stands us in good stead and we believe provides the Academy with the best opportunity of continuously improving, whilst striving to improve our productivity of realising young prospects into credible, regular first team players.
"I'd like to personally express my gratitude to all of the academy staff for a terrific but fantastically well-deserved achievement."