The League History
“More needs to be done in England to bridge the gap between the Professional Academies and Grassroots Football” – Alex Ferguson
The London Youth Premier League started initially as the Hyde League. The league was founded by Otis Roberts (CEO of Jason Roberts Foundation) and Eugene Dwaah (CEO of Soccerlution Group Limited). Otis and Eugene have over 25 years experience of elite player development from grassroots football to the professional game. Their combined experiences as professional players, head of talent identification and player agents has enabled them to have a unique perspective and insight within the game. The two founders were joined by Colin Barnes (Head of Recruitment for Crystal Palace FC and FA Coach Educator) as a “good practice” ambassador for the development of the league.
Bridging the Gap
All of the clubs in our league are interested in developing our players through better coaching, facilities and better quality matches. This does mean that we ask all of our teams to be selective with their squads as the focus of the league is bridging the gap between Grassroots ‘Sunday’ football and Professional Academy Football. The success we have had so far has been amazing with a few of our players signing academy contracts with professional football clubs as well as being offered scholarships.
All the clubs involved have their own development plans for their players along with the constant access to high level coaches. Although it it essentially about developing players for the member clubs, the teams involved have already produced many players that have signed contracts with professional football clubs. The aim of the league is to develop players to fill these positions and we are constantly looking at ways to give our clubs and players all the support needed to realise their potential.
Nike/ Kit-locker Partnership
In 2017, the league developed a partnership with Nike and Kit-locker.
Why would a private academy/professional football club’s talent ID/Development Team want to join our league?
They want to develop players first and foremost.
They want to play in a league that bridges the gap between grassroots football and professional academy football.
They are progressive and want the highest standard of football for their players.
They embrace new ideas.
They think representative team football against professional clubs is a great opportunity for the most talented footballers and don’t want to hold them back.
They want to get involved as clubs and managers/coaches in letting players realise their potential and also to promote a lifelong love of the game.
They want to attract the best players in their area to join them due to the attraction of playing in the league.
They want to play in a league that guarantees that their player pool will not be diluted by other clubs entering the league on their doorstep.
They want to play in a league that is often at the forefront of change in the youth football landscape of this country.