Youth football expert slams pro clubs for 'wrong' treatment of young players

We’re delighted to welcome the founder of Kinetic Academy Harry Hudson as our exclusive columnist. Each week the youth football expert will be giving his views on the biggest talking points on wonderkids across the UK…

Youth football at the professional level is famously cut-throat but youth football expert Harry Hudson believes the way it’s done is not right.

Hudson, a former non-league manager at Glebe FC, is the founder of the Kinetic Academy which aims to offer young people in South London a chance to play football while also getting a valuable education they otherwise wouldn’t at a professional club.

In the last year, Kinetic have even started up a similar programme for women’s football but while the good work is continuing for the charity, the FA have not given any support or funding to Hudson’s foundation.

Hudson would not necessarily reject any help from the FA if they ever offer it to the Kinetic Academy but he doesn’t believe that charities like his should be the main focus of England’s football governing body.

“We have no support from the FA,” Hudson told The Football Wonderkids. “Potentially yes, we would like some help.

“But for me, I see the FA’s role as a governing body to look after the professional football clubs and I think they can do a lot more to avoid us at the bottom of the run picking up a lot of young people who have had traumatic experiences at professional clubs.

“The morality around how professional clubs treat young players is wrong.

“They hoover up talent and then they’re taking young people out of school on day release and asking families to drive up and down the country multiple times a week knowing that they’re probably going to be released without any work to prepare them for that.

“I don’t necessarily think the FA should fund us but I think they definitely need to do more work with professional clubs to help young people understand what a plan B looks like.”

Since its inception in 2011, the Kinetic Academy has seen 58 players graduate to earn professional contracts with the most recognised of which being Joe Aribo and Josh Maja.

In other Kinetic Academy news, Hudson detailed the toughest challenge his foundation faces when they are working with young people still in school.