Global Football Development

How we prepare to perform

We are Southampton FC. The Saints. Our proud tradition runs from our foundation in 1885 to competing in the English Premier League today. Since 2014, we’ve achieved four top eight finishes in the world’s most competitive football league and reached the 2016/17 English Football League Cup Final and the 2017/18 FA Cup Semi Final. 

We put faith in youth. Our targeted scouting and recruitment strategy and our world-class Academy underpins our ability to compete at the highest level – and players who earned their stripes with us now perform at the pinnacle of world football. Our success and theirs has been built on the rigour and forensic approach to player development that we apply here at Saints.

We prepare players to perform on the pitch and to thrive in life beyond it – it’s what we call turning Potential into Excellence. It’s a mission that runs right through our Club and it’s delivered through our unique culture and footballing philosophy – The Southampton Way.

Programmes developed with one of the world’s most prolific Academies

The Southampton FC Academy is recognised across the world as a leading authority in youth player development. We have an excellent track record of producing international players using the Southampton Way. Technical skill. Dynamic, exciting play. Positive, entertaining football. We embed our distinct style of play in every youngster that we work with – from Club legend Matt Le Tissier, to all-time Premier League record goal scorer Alan Shearer and one of the biggest global stars in the game today, Gareth Bale.

By putting the player at the centre of everything we do, we’re able to make the most of their abilities and turn their potential into excellence.

This rich and unique history provides the foundation for our Club’s Player Development Programme.

Meet the academy graduates

Bale. Oxlade-Chamberlain. Ward-Prowse. Walcott. Shaw. There are few academies in the world with a track record as prolific as ours. By partnering with our Club, you tap in to the resources and technical knowhow our Academy has developed over the years.

Armed with that kind of knowledge, how far could your players go?

Academy player focus:  Gareth Bale


Our Academy scouting team identified Gareth had massive talent when he was just nine years old. He joined our Academy where he honed skills that have defined his playing style and began his journey from potential to excellence and the pinnacle of world football.  A big part of his success was being taught The Southampton Way – the foundation for our Player Development Programme.

The Academy Performance Plan – creating your pathway to excellence

Powerful and adaptable, The Academy Performance Plan is the player centred strategy that ensures our Club consistently produces young players who compete at the highest levels of professional football. The same plan is available to our global partners. It provides a systematic approach for you to deliver The Southampton Way – the defined playing style and the coaching philosophy at the heart of our Club. By providing direct access to our strategy, people and expertise, the Academy Performance Plan provides a framework for you to maximise the potential of your players and embed a culture of excellence within your Club at every level.

To nurture our defined playing style in all our Academy teams and deliver our coaching philosophy that provides player-centred, holistic and phase specific support to each Academy player.

The Southampton Way is our defined playing style and it’s delivered in two parts: Our Culture – how we act, behave, our values Our Football Philosophy – playing and coaching.

This is how we deliver the Southampton Way across coaching, sports science, medical, education, welfare and recruitment. 

Ultimately we are defined by results. We have a proven track record of producing players who perform at the elite level.