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The MK Dons Academy aims to create players from MK to play for MK. The player centred approach to our coaching is complimented by a constraint-based methodology further outlined in our coaching programme.

The Academy Vision


Historically, our best Academy players have been integrated into the First Team playing squad while scholars gaining significant first team appearances as teenagers.

As a Category 3 Academy, we need to demonstrate a point of difference compared to other Cat 2 / Cat 1 Academies and our ‘Accelerated Program’ reflects that.

We are conscious of the number of Academy schoolboys that do not become professional footballers, the odds are heavily stacked against them. We are therefore keen to run a lean program with a strong underlying awareness of our function of producing players for the first team.

Achieving the Academy Vision
• Recruit and retain players with athleticism, playing identity and competitive personality.
• Be the best recruiters of U7-U12 talent within the Milton Keynes catchment area.
• Coaching syllabus focused upon individual player development through core skills & player identity – being employable at U18.
• An Academy infrastructure & staffing that is future proof for Cat 1 in its aspirations and standards.
• Collaborating & pooling collective assets across all aspects of the Football Club and wider business

Coaching Philosophy
MK Dons Academy understands that player development it complexed, therefore we have developed and revised a coaching programme over the past three seasons that provides a framework for coaching.

It is designed to be used as a guide to create attractive and exciting football teams who are competitive and orientated towards developing individuals within a team game.

Phased / Periodised approach.
We have identified the need to differentiate our programme to the needs of the players. Therefore, we currently operate with a 4 Phase Lead Coaching model.

Within these four phases an appropriately qualified full time coach acts as the line manager to a group of part time coaches and volunteers. The phase lead coaches are all actively coaching within the programme and tailor their working week to the benefit of the players.

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Foundation Phase
1. Identify and develop A star quality
2. Develop core skills
3. Play lots of games and game related practices

Players who love the game, love to practice and play without fear.

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Youth Development Phase
1. Embrace and established star quality
2. Refine core skills
3. Clear obvious selectability
4. Clear MK Dons style

A fearless and dominant player who plays with confidence, intensity and purpose.

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Professional Development Phase
1. Full time footballer with laser focus on the pathway to the First team
2. Physical demands are understood and addressed every day
3. Works inside a team culture
4. Clear and obvious selectability
5. Clear MK Dons Style

Be ready to play in the first team

The Academy takes all aspects of the young Player’s Education very seriously and aims to support the Player’s educational needs.

Through our Academy Head of Education we ensure that the Players understand the importance of School and College attendance and study.

Our induction programme and seasonal workshops, reiterate to each player the importance of educational attainment and qualifications.

We aim to develop strong links with each Player’s School and support both parties in ensuring that the Player’s education is not compromised by football commitments.

We monitor impact upon behaviour, attainment, attendance, and examination results by liaising with a recognised contact in each school to address any issues of immediate concern both to the School/College and Academy.

Each apprentice is offered a range of qualifications including a BTEC Leve 3 in Sport, an NCFE Level 2 in Sport or A levels in a variety of subjects.

The Club aims to achieve 100% retention and achievement of the SEP framework, this is the backbone of education for the clubs Apprenticeship programme.

The football Academy aims to develop players to become employable at 18 - This statement reaches beyond playing ability and therefore the formal and holistic education of our young people through diligent monitoring and communication is seen as vital to the Academies operation.

Safeguarding and Player Care
The Club and Academy recognises its moral and legal responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and adults at risk and will endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children and Adults at risk are respected and valued.

• All individuals, regardless of gender, race, age, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, and religious or political beliefs, have equal right to protection from abuse, exploitation and neglect.
• All individuals have the right to participate, enjoy and develop through sport, in a safe and inclusive environment.
• All staff have a responsibility to report and to act on any suspicion or disclosure where a child/Adult at risk is at risk of harm.

We deliver this through a set of safeguarding and welfare policies and procedures, monitored by the Academy Designated Safeguarding Officer, Club Senior Safeguarding Manager and Senior Safeguarding team.

Through the Academies Player Care provision, the club provide a program that supports holistic development, enabling players to learn new skills and have new experiences. Each age appropriate experience ranges from mental health, staying safe and EDI awareness to name but a few.

The Academy is keen to hear the views of its players and parents, where through the player and parent voice, the feedback enables the Academy to shape its continued progress and development, supporting the needs of those within the program.

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