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FAQ: How Can I Get into the Youth Team of A Major European Club Like Arsenal, Barcelona Ajax..?.

Please How Can I Get Into The Youth Team of A Major European Club Like Arsenal, Barcelona, Ajax... I am A Young Player from Nigeria?

You are right, Arsenal, Barcelona, Ajax Amsterdam... are generally youth friendly clubs. Grooming youth players into world class stars is perhaps the ttrademark of Arsene Wenger, Arsenal's manager.

And we have seen players like Nigeria's Alex Iwobi graduate right from Arsenal's youth team and now playing in the first team. Yet, there are more Nigerian players either in team B or the youth side; players like Chuba Akpom, Kelechi Nwakali, Arthur Okonkwo...

These youngsters have been a great inspiration to millions of youths back in Africa, who want to be like them, to also play in the youth team of some of these major European clubs, but do not know how to go about it.

In fact, this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get on my whatsApp chats or my email inbox. And I think I should use this opportunity to answer the question.

1. Foreign Youth Players Must be 18 years or Above:
FIFA rules does not allow clubs to register foreign players under 18 years of age. In clear terms, the rule says that youth players are not allowed to register with a team in a country other than their own until they are 18.

This rule popularly known as Article 19 was created in 2001, and has pure intentions: It was enacted largely as a way to stop agents and clubs from bringing children from less-developed non-European countries to Europe for mass tryouts (before, frequently, abandoning them if a team did not sign them).

FIFA lists three exceptions:
If a player lives within 50 kilometers of a country’s border and his desired club is within 50 kilometers of the same border;
if a player is moving from one European country to the other and is at least 16;
if a player’s family is moved to a different country for reasons “not linked to football.”
So players from Africa who are less than 18 years are not legible to play in any youth team in Europe.

2. Be In Your Country's U16 National Team
The English FA rule requires a foreign player to have played 70% of his country's national team recent matches before he can be given a Work Permit in England. This may not be the rule in some other european countries, but being in your country's cadet national team and playing in FIFA or CAF competitions gives you a better chance of getting into a youth team of a major european club.

If you are from Nigeria for instances, your chances are brighter, because players from Nigeria U16 national team are regarded very high, having won the Fifa u16 world cup five times in fifteen editions.  Most european clubs are aware Nigeria is a good breeding ground for youth players.

3. Participate in Football Scouting Showcases or Trial camps in Europe
The football standard in europe is very high. You should be one of the best players in the world in your age group to break into europe.

Playing at the best club or academy in your country as the star player could put you in eyes of european scouts that usually parade key countries  in WestAfrica: Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali... You could travel to Nigeria to participate in one of the biggest African football scouting program: Masterclass Talent Exhibition (MTE) or Tida tournament in Cote d'Ivoire... that attract a lot of scouts from Europe.

Otherwise, you have to pay your way to Europe to participate in several of the scouting events that goes on over there.

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