‘There is no room for criticism on the training field. For a player — and for any human being — there is nothing better than hearing ‘well done’. Those are the two best words ever invented in sports.’

Sir Alex Ferguson


The AC8 Academy complements the coaching aspiring young footballers receive at grassroots clubs, bridging the gap between junior football clubs and professional academies.

We inspire, motivate and nurture young footballers of all abilities in a positive and professional environment. Our approach is personal. Nothing is ever too much trouble.

We work to small group sizes, allowing us to take the extra time to advise and develop players as individuals. Whether that be giving them the support they need to learn a new skill, boosting confidence in their own ability or simply giving them that all important high five! There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the progress of our players.

Structured weekly coaching sessions are delivered by our expert coaches to the highest standards. Also, combined with a tailored monthly games programme, we ensure all players are constantly developing and progressing. Above all, we ensure all players enjoy playing football and their families love watching them!

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First class football coaching

Led by Pro Footballer Adam Clayton, our expertly devised coaching programme focuses on developing players as individuals in a high energy, fun and exciting environment.

We encourage young people to thrive and achieve their full potential. We pride ourselves on a child-centred approach. Furthermore, our UEFA and FA licensed Coaches are experts in their field. Many of our passionate and dedicated Coaches have been Professional Footballers themselves or are currently working in Professional Academy settings, offering an unrivalled wealth of experience and knowledge of the game they love.

Above all, developing confident, happy and well-rounded young players is at the heart of everything we do.

Communication is key to our approach. Our expert coaching team work with young people and their families to develop talent at a pace that’s right for individuals. All our coaches are DBS approved and first aid trained.


Jon Worthington

AC8 Academy Head Coach (Harrogate)

Teams : Huddersfield Town, Yeovil Town, Oldham Athletic, Bradford City, Fleetwood Town, FC Halifax Town

Qualifications: UEFA B licence, ATMIF (Advanced first aid), BSc First Class (Hons) Physiotherapy, and FA Safeguarding

Favourite Team: Huddersfield Town

Favourite Player: Paul Scholes

Qualities I look for in a player: Resilience, Enthusiasm, Willingness to take on feedback to develop, Team Player

Paul Crager

Paul Crager

AC8 Academy Head Coach (Middlesbrough)

Teams: Middlesbrough FC
UEFA A Licence
Premier League ECAS Graduate 2014-16
FA Advanced Youth Award
Level 2 Futsal
Bsc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sports Studies

Basic First aid for sport certificate
FA Safe Guarding certificate

Fav team: Middlesbrough and Man United

Fav Player - Paul Scholes

What I look for in a player: hard work and determination to succeed

Joe Wilkinson

AC8 Academy Coach

Teams: Huddersfield Town

Qualifications: FA safeguarding, FA first aid, FA level 2 coaching football, and BTEC level 3 diploma in sport performance and excellence.

Favourite Team: Leeds United

Favourite Player: Pablo Herndez

Qualities I look for in a player: determination and listening skills

George Danaher

AC8 Academy Coach

Teams: Current Huddersfield Town Academy Player

Qualifications: FA level 2 coaching, FA Safeguarding, and First aid

Favourite Team: Manchester United

Favourite player: Robin Van Persie

Qualities I look for in a player: Player with a good attitude who wants to get better


AC8 Academy Coach

Teams: Middlesbrough FC Foundation Phase Coach

Qualifications: UEFA B Licence, FA Youth Award, FA First Aid, FA Safeguarding, BSc (Hons) Applied Sports Science

Favourite Team: Middlesbrough FC

Favourite Player: David Beckham

Qualities I look for in a player: Hard working, good learning and listening skills, creativity.

Matty Jenkinson

AC8 Academy Coach

Teams: Middlesbrough

Qualifications: Second Class Honours Degree (1st Division) in Sport & Exercise. FA Level 2 in Coaching Football (FA Safeguarding & First Aid). BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport Development, Coaching & Fitness.

Favourite Team: Middlesbrough

Favourite Player: Cristiano Ronaldo

Qualities I look for in a player: Desire, hardworking and having a willingness to learn/improve.

Football Coaching levels

‘Young players need freedom of expression to develop as creative players….they should be encouraged to try skills without fear of failure. At a young age winning is not the most important thing.’

Arsene Wenger

Children are placed in the perfect session for them. Our coaching programme has three training strands, therefore creating perfect opportunities for beginner, intermediate and advanced level players. This enables players the opportunity to express themselves and train in an environment that is best suited to them.


Our highly experienced coaches instantly put all players at ease. Beginner sessions use fun and exciting games to engage players. This introduces an understanding of the fundamental elements of the game. Developing basic ball control skills is also a key benefit of these sessions.

We constantly praise and encourage new players. Our dedicated coaches integrate the FA’s four corner player development model into all sessions. Focusing on technical and tactical development, building confidence and developing concentration skills. Additionally, developing physical and social benefits too.

Furthermore, players can meet new friends, feel part of a team and have fun as they learn and develop.

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The Intermediate coaching strand focuses on structured sessions that enhance the coaching players receive at grassroots level. This further develops players individual skills. It also builds their knowledge of the game.

Sessions focus on developing ball mastery and confidence on the ball. This encourages players to think and play more creatively. Technical and tactical aspects of the game are explored in more detail. Players are encouraged to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses both as individuals and as part of a team.

Small group sizes mean coaches can take the time to give individual feedback. Individual Development Plans (IDPs) track player progress at the end of each coaching block.

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Advanced development focuses on challenging and nurturing players who demonstrate real aptitude and potential. Players in the Elite strand have a strong understanding of the game and awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, show a willingness to learn and develop. High intensity sessions focus on encouraging creativity and flair. They also build tactical awareness and resilience.

Small group sizes allow coaches time to give individual feedback during sessions. All players work to Individual Development Plans (IDPs) that track player progress at the end of each coaching block.

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I love coming to AC8 Academy, all the coaches are brilliant and are teaching me new skills. I especially love that Adam Clayton, my favourite 'boro player, comes and he helps the coaches train us.

Taylor DaleAttends the Middlesbrough Academy

We love the professional set up of the academy and the knowledge of all the coaches. It gives our son extra development which he then puts into practice when he is playing for his local.

We appreciate that a professional footballer who still plays at a great standard can take the time out of his busy life to help develop the next generation of footballers.
Thank you all for all your hard work.


My child absolutely loves coming to football at AC8 Academy the coaches are amazing with the children and his confidence is coming on so much since starting here. Would recommend AC8 Academy to any parent.

Corelle HolderParent

I think it's absolutely fantastic that Adam plays such a massive role with his Academy! Professional Footballers like Adam are few and far between and I think he's absolutely brilliant for what he does for the kids! My son absolutely loves coming... thank you all!

My son's confidence has come on so much since starting, thank you so much!

What a fantastic guy to take time out of his own life when still playing at an outstanding level to set up an Academy that develops players of all abilities. The coaching standard is the best I've ever seen.

Players who show outstanding potential are progressed through advanced player development. This creates opportunities for talented young players to be regularly challenged and developed to the highest of levels.

Additionally, we offer tots coaching for young players.

We have an amazing community around what we do. Visit our Facebook page for more insights into our football academy.

Children’s Football Coaching Class at AC8 Academy