Southampton’s famed academy plans to help USA

Southampton FC
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BALTIMORE – It wasn’t long ago that Southampton FC was playing in the third division of English football, still recovering from financial issues that saw the club enter administration.

Five years later and Saints were in Baltimore promoting a long-term partnership with Under Armour as the club looks ahead to another campaign in the Premier League, while also spreading their message of excellence in youth development overseas.

[ MORE: Saints’ kit launch at UA’s HQ ]

In each of the least seven seasons Southampton has finished in a higher league position than the previous year. Last season they recorded their highest-ever finish in the PL (sixth) and the remarkable growth continues with their first-ever appearance in the Europa League group stage assured for the upcoming season.

Mo Gimpel has seen the growth of the club first hand, starting his career as a physio for Saints’ youth teams nearly 20 years ago.

Now Southampton’s Director of Sports Medicine & Science Performance, Gimpel is working with a first-team that is preparing to play European football at St. Mary’s Stadium.

[ MORE: Southampton’s plan to grow in USA ]

Throughout the ups and downs, one thing has remained constant at Southampton: the commitment to their academy.

The Saints Academy has grown to be one of the best in the world, producing the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Bale and fellow academy graduate Adam Lallana embrace after a Champions League clash.

While in Baltimore, ProSoccerTalk spoke with Gimpel to see what makes Saints Academy so successful, and how the club’s growth into a global brand is helping their youth program grow as well.

When asked about the academy, the first thing Gimpel mentioned was their educational program. When competing to sign youth players with other clubs in the area, Gimpel believes Southampton’s commitment to education makes them a more attractive draw.

“If you’re failing in your education, and you’re not putting in your weight in education, and we’ve been promising your mom and dad, saying ‘Give us your boy and we’ll give him a good education and there’s a possibility he’ll become a professional footballer,’ if he’s not pulling his weight in education then he doesn’t train. It’s education first because we recognize that you need good people to then put in good work.”

“Even if you don’t make it as a football player, you’ll have a better education than you would get at home. We create gentlemen, not just football players.”

Players start coming into the academy as young as seven-years-old, with some players moving away from home at the age of 12.

As soon as those kids come to Southampton’s Staplewood Training Ground, they undergo an advanced series of benchmark testing to give the coaches an outlook on their potential.

“When any player comes in, from Under-9’s to the first-team, they get benchmarked. They do psychometric tests, they do physical tests. We do growth and maturation so we know this Under-14: how tall is he going to be? What’s his physiology? Is he a better midfield player or is he a better right back?

For a goalkeeper, how tall is he ultimately going to be? If he’s going to be shorter than 6-foot-3-inches, he’s probably not going to be a Premier League keeper. It throws up a moral dilemma, do we keep him or don’t we keep him? But maybe at 12-years-old, he can be a really good outfield player. So we do a whole range of benchmarks, the same with the first team.”

All of this information is filtered through a high-tech software Gimpel called “The Black Box.”

The Black Box is vital to Southampton’s success, collecting data from players at all levels for coaches to analyze.

“We have a program in the schools that every boy in our local region, in the Hampshire area, we know him. Pretty much every boy in England who plays at a fair level, we know. The Black Box pulls in information about everyone. With that knowledge, we have coaches out in the community feeding that into the Black Box system, and then we have a development program that pulls in all the best players to bring them into the club and join the academy.”

“We can compare if our Under-13 left-back is showing the same playing style as our first-team left-back. So it’s now taking talent ID to another level where it’s looking at the technical side as well.”

“We can look at a potential target and see how they play the game compared to how we want them to play the game. If we play a style of football where the left-back is bombing on, there’s no point in buying a left-back who doesn’t do that.”

Other top football clubs such as Juventus and Ajax have come to Staplewood to learn about the Black Box system, with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and MLB’s Kansas City Royals also working with Southampton to use the technology in American sports as well.

Arsenal v Newcastle United - Premier League

With such great success, Gimpel credits the Black Box with potentially saving the careers of two “late bloomers,” Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale and Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

“At 15 or 16-years-old, the other guys were physically just knocking Gareth Bale all over the place. Technically he was a good player, that was never in doubt, but the question was, ‘Was he going to be tall enough and strong enough?’ So with our screening process, we said he’s probably going to be around 6-foot-1. There was a vote: do we sign him don’t we sign him? We’re going on this crazy equation, and we signed him, thankfully. 

“Gareth was a late developer, so understanding growth of kids is absolutely fundamental. I would throw it out there that we are definitely leading the Premier League, I would suggest we are probably some of the world leaders, in the growth and maturation of young athletes.”

“At 16-years-old, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was playing a year down because he couldn’t cope with the 16’s, but we knew he was a late developer. We knew just give him time, let him grow, and he will fly. He hit his growth phase at 17, and in six months he went from being on the bench for the 17’s to playing in the first-team, and Arsenal snatched him up for 12-million pounds.” 

“So what we are doing now, we are going around the country and looking for all the late developing players who are cut from Premier League teams. And we say, ‘Listen, come join us.’ They are the gold dust.”

All of the preliminary testing and Black Box data collected for youth players is also used the first-team, part of an approach that Gimpel helped create at the Academy through his time with the club. Despite the high turnover between players and managers in the Premier League, Saints do not alter their academy’s structure, keeping a consistent approach throughout the program.

“The biggest thing I’ve done is a bottom-up approach. All the great processes in the academy you put into the first-team, and when a new manger comes in, he does not change that process. A lot of clubs the new manager comes in, he changes so much, and then he’s gone in a years time. There’s no continuity.”

Every six weeks, each Southampton player comes in for a meeting with coaches to review their progress and set goals for improvement. These meetings are held for every player in Saints’ system, from a local 13-year-old to club captain Jose Fonte.

By handling the youth players similar to Premier League professionals, Saints hope to produce a first-team made up of 50-percent of academy graduates with the duo pictured below — James Ward-Prowse, left, and Matt Targett — the latest to come off the conveyor-belt.

Southampton v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

Southampton led the Premier League last season in minutes played by academy products, a testament to the success of the program.

Now a top-level side competing for a spot in the Champions League, Saints are hoping to spread their academy’s values and principals outside of England.

“Our goal internationally is to be the preferred choice, the number-one brand for coaching education and player development. And to that end, we are teaming up with Under Armour looking to go into clubs in the U.S. and say ‘We will help your club develop coaches and develop your processes to make your players better,’ and the U.S. federation is very pleased about these things.”

“The biggest U.S. problem is that parents and kids want to win every Saturday, and if they’re not winning, they just move to another club. That does not breed development. Kids have to learn how to lose, they have to learn about dealing with tough times. It’s not always about winning, it’s about development.” 

EURO 2024 qualification live! EURO qualifiers schedule, updates, standings


EURO 2024 qualifying is here, and you’re in the right spot for groups, fixtures, and results.

Italy outlasted England in penalty kicks to win EURO 2020 and is bidding to become the first repeat winner since Spain in 2008 and 2012.

[ MORE: Breaking down Premier League title race ]

England is still seeking its first European Championship and will be favored to emerge from Group C with aforementioned Italy as well as Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Malta.

Netherlands and France are also in a spicy group that has dark horse Republic of Ireland and former champions Greece, as well as Gibraltar.

[ MORE: Live scores, updates, standings from EURO 2024 qualifying ]

A number of nations have guaranteed themselves no worse than a playoff spot due to their performances in the UEFA Nations League: Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Georgia, Croatia, Turkey, Serbia, Kazakhstan.

EURO 2024 qualifying schedule

Thursday, March 23

Kazakhstan 1-2 Slovenia
Slovakia 0-0 Luxembourg
Italy 1-2 England – Video, player ratings as Kane breaks Rooney record
Denmark 3-1 Finland
Portugal 4-0 Liechtenstein
San Marino 0-2 Northern Ireland
North Macedonia 2-1 Malta
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 Iceland

Friday, March 24

Bulgaria 0-1 Montenegro
Gibraltar 0-3 Greece
Moldova 1-1 Faroe Islands
Serbia 2-0 Lithuania
Austria 4-1 Azerbaijan
Sweden 0-3 Belgium
Czech Republic 3-1 Poland
France 4-0 Netherlands

Saturday, March 25

Scotland vs Cyprus — 10am ET
Israel vs Kosovo  — 1pm ET
Armenia vs Turkey — 1pm ET
Belarus vs Switzerland  — 1pm ET
Spain vs Norway — 3:45pm ET
Croatia vs Wales — 3:45pm ET
Andorra vs Romania — 3:45pm ET

Sunday, March 26

Kazakhstan vs Denmark — 9am ET
England vs Ukraine — Noon ET
Liechtenstein vs Iceland — Noon ET
Slovenia vs San Marino — Noon ET
Slovakia vs Bosnia and Herzegovina — 2:45pm ET
Northern Ireland vs Finland — 2:45pm ET
Luxembourg vs Portugal — 2:45pm ET
Malta vs Italy — 2:45pm ET

Monday, March 27

Montenegro vs Serbia — 2:45pm ET
Netherlands vs Gibraltar — 2:45pm ET
Poland vs Albania — 2:45pm ET
Austria vs Estonia — 2:45pm ET
Sweden vs Azerbaijan — 2:45pm ET
Moldova vs Czech Republic — 2:45pm ET
Hungary vs Bulgaria — 2:45pm ET
Republic of Ireland vs France — 2:45pm ET

Tuesday, March 28

Georgia vs Norway — Noon ET
Wales vs Latvia — 2:45pm ET
Romania vs Belarus — 2:45pm ET
Switzerland vs Israel — 2:45pm ET
Kosovo vs Andorra — 2:45pm ET
Turkey vs Croatia — 2:45pm ET
Scotland vs Spain — 2:45pm ET

EURO 2024 qualifying standings

Group A


Group B

Republic of Ireland

Group C

North Macedonia

Group D


Group E

Czech Republic
Faroe Islands

Group F


Group G


Group H

Northern Ireland
San Marino

Group I


Group J

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Premier League relegation scrap: Current form, fixtures, odds, predictions


The Premier League relegation scrap needs some serious paring down, as a remarkably-high nine teams sit within four points of 20th place on the 2022-23 Premier League table.

That means we’re set, at least for now, for more relegation six-pointers than at any time in recent memory — many of them, you’ll see below, will involve Bournemouth — and the odds are in favor of a relatively surprising team heading down to the Championship.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ] 

As for now Everton, Leeds, and Saints are the form teams in the fight, while Leicester and Crystal Palace sure could use a win.

Will the Premier League’s current bottom three of Bournemouth, West Ham and Southampton still be there when the season ends?

Below you’ll see the latest standings, the fixtures for the teams still in danger of dropping into the second tier, relegation odds, and our prediction for who will collect how many points.

Closest Premier League relegation scrap in history?

As the table below shows, after at least 26 matches of a PL season this is the tightest it has ever been between 12th place and 20th place.

Just four points separates almost half of the Premier League.

Premier League table, current form (March 19, 2023)

Premier League standings

Latest Premier League standings on

Remaining fixtures for relegation scrappers

Wolves: Forest (A), Chelsea (H), Brentford (H), Leicester (A), Palace (H), Brighton (A), Villa (H), Man Utd (A), Everton (H), Arsenal (A)

Crystal Palace: Leicester (H), Leeds (A), Southampton (A), Everton (H), Wolves (A), West Ham (H), Spurs (A), Bournemouth (H), Fulham (A), Forest (H)

Leicester City: Palace (A), Villa (H), Bournemouth (H), Man City (A), Wolves (H), Leeds (A), Everton (H), Fulham (A), Liverpool (H), Newcastle (A), West Ham (H)

West Ham: Southampton (H), Newcastle (H), Fulham (A), Arsenal (H), Bournemouth (A), Liverpool (H), Palace (A), Man Utd (H), Brentford (A), Leeds (H), Leicester (A)

Nottingham Forest: Wolves (H), Leeds (A), Villa (A), Man Utd (H), Liverpool (A), Brighton (H), Brentford (A), Southampton (H), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Palace (A)

Leeds: Arsenal (A), Forest (H), Palace (H), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A), Leicester (H), Bournemouth (A), Man City (A), Newcastle (H), West Ham (A), Spurs (H)

Everton: Spurs (H), Man Utd (A), Fulham (H), Palace (A), Newcastle (H), Leicester (A), Brighton (A), Man City (H), Wolves (A), Bournemouth (H)

Southampton: West Ham (A), Man City (H), Palace (H), Arsenal (A), Bournemouth (H), Newcastle (A), Forest (A), Fulham (H), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H)

Bournemouth: Fulham (H), Brighton (H), Leicester (A), Spurs (A), West Ham (H), Southampton (A), Leeds (H), Chelsea (H), Palace (A), Man Utd (H), Everton (A)

Key fixtures that will decide the Premier League relegation scrap

Saturday, March 18: Wolves 2-4 Leeds – RECAP/HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday, April 1: AFC Bournemouth vs Fulham — 10am ET
Saturday, April 1: Crystal Palace vs Leicester — 10am ET
Saturday, April 1: Nottingham Forest vs Wolves — 10am ET
Sunday, April 2: West Ham vs Southampton — 9am ET
Tuesday, April 4: Leeds vs Nottingham Forest — 2:45pm ET
Saturday, April 8: Leicester vs AFC Bournemouth — 10am ET
Saturday, April 8: Leeds vs Crystal Palace — 12:30pm ET
Saturday, April 15: Southampton vs Crystal Palace — 10am ET
Saturday, April 22: Crystal Palace vs Everton — 10am ET
Saturday, April 22: Leicester vs Wolves — 10am ET
Sunday, April 23: AFC Bournemouth vs West Ham — 9am ET
Tuesday, April 25: Wolves vs Crystal Palace — 2:30pm ET
Tuesday, April 25: Leeds vs Leicester — 2:45pm ET
Thursday, April 27: Southampton vs AFC Bournemouth — 2:45pm ET
Saturday, April 29: Crystal Palace vs West Ham — 7:30am ET
Sunday, April 30: AFC Bournemouth vs Leeds — 9am ET
Monday, May 1: Leicester vs Everton — 3pm ET
Saturday, May 6: Nottingham Forest vs Southampton — Time TBD
Saturday, May 13: Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth — Time TBD
Saturday, May 20: West Ham vs Leeds — Time TBD
Sunday, May 28: Crystal Palace vs Nottingham Forest — Time TBD
Sunday, May 28: Everton vs AFC Bournemouth — Time TBD
Sunday, May 28: Leicester vs West Ham — Time TBD

Premier League title odds (As of March 24, 2023)

(Our betting partner is BetMGMBetMGM is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links.

Crystal Palace: +450
West Ham: +400
Leicester City: +350
Wolves: +300
Leeds: +275
Everton: +160
Nottingham Forest: +100
Bournemouth: -200
Southampton: -225

Prediction for Premier League relegation scrap

12. Wolves, 40 points
13. West Ham, 39 points
14. Palace, 39 points
15. Leicester, 37 points
16. Everton, 36 points
17. Nottingham Forest, 35 points

18. Leeds, 35 points
19. Southampton, 35 points
20. Bournemouth, 31 points

Premier League title race: Current form, key fixtures, injuries, odds, predictions


The Premier League title race is going down to the wire in the 2022-23 season and there are some huge games coming up between now and the final day on May 28.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Can Arsenal win the first Premier League title since 2003-04? Will Manchester City win three in a row to make it five titles in the last six seasons under Pep Guardiola?

For a while it looked like Manchester United could come from nowhere to stun everyone and secure their first title in a decade, but they have regressed in recent weeks and it is now truly a two-horse race between Arsenal and Man City.

Below is a look at the key fixtures, current form, odds and predictions for the contenders to be crowned Premier League champions.

Remaining fixtures for title contenders

Arsenal (69 points through 28 games): Leeds (H), Liverpool (A), West Ham (A), Southampton (H), Man City (A), Chelsea (H), Newcastle (A), Brighton (H), Nottingham Forest (A), Wolves (H)

Manchester City (61 points through 27 games): Liverpool (H), Southampton (A), Leicester City (H), Brighton (A), Arsenal (H), Fulham (A), Leeds (H), Everton (A), Chelsea (H), West Ham (H), Brentford (A)

Key fixtures that will decide the Premier League title

Saturday, April 1: Manchester City vs Liverpool – 7:30am ET
Sunday, April 2: Newcastle vs Manchester United – 11:30am ET
Sunday, April 9: Arsenal vs Liverpool – 11:30am ET
Wednesday, April 26: Manchester City vs Arsenal – 3pm ET
Thursday, April 27: Tottenham vs Manchester United – 3:15pm ET
Saturday, April 29: Arsenal vs Chelsea – 12:30pm ET
Saturday, May 6: Newcastle vs Arsenal – 10am ET
Saturday, May 20: Manchester City vs Chelsea – 10am ET

Current form (As of March 20, 2023)

Arsenal’s last 5 results: WWWWW
Manchester City’s last 5 results: WWWDW

Current Premier League table

Premier League standings

Head to NBC Sports’s soccer standings home page

Key injuries

Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (no return date), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), Eddie Nketiah (ankle), William Saliba (back)

Manchester City: None

Premier League title odds (As of March 24, 2023)

(Betting odds provided by our partner, BetMGM ) BetMGM is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links.

Arsenal: -165
Manchester City: +138
Manchester United: +10000

Prediction for Premier League title race

1. Manchester City – 87 points (Win the title on goal difference)
2. Arsenal – 87 points
3. Manchester United – 78 points

Arsenal title tracker – What do Gunners need to win the Premier League?


Eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table with 10 games to go, what do Arsenal need to win their first Premier League title in 19 years?

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Mikel Arteta has his young side on the cusp of a pretty remarkable and very unexpected Premier League title win.

With a solid defensive unit, perfectly balanced midfield and the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard having fine campaigns in the final third, there is so much to love about this Arsenal team.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League table for 2022-23 season ]

But how, and when, can Arsenal seal the Premier League title they crave? How many points do they need to gain? What are the scenarios based on their huge game against Manchester City in April?

How many points do Arsenal need to win the Premier League title?

With 10 games remaining, there are many different ways the Gunners can win the Premier League title.

In its simplest form: if Arsenal win nine of their final 10 games they will be crowned Premier League games.

The magic number for Arsenal to reach is 95 points. If they reach 95 points, Manchester City cannot catch them.

But if Man City beat Arsenal in their huge game at the Etihad on April 26 and win their game in-hand, Arsenal will need to win all nine of their other remaining game to be sure of the title. That would give them 96 points and Man City could only finish on 94.

If Arsenal drew against Man City then Man City could only finish on a maximum of 92 points. That means Arsenal would need eight wins from their remaining nine games to win the title as they would have 94 points.

If Arsenal win at Man City then Man City would only be able to reach 91 points. So, Arsenal would only have to win seven of their other nine remaining games to seal the title.

All of this proves just how massive the Manchester City vs Arsenal game on April 26 is in deciding the title winner.

When did Arsenal last win the Premier League?

They last won the Premier League title in the 2003-04 season, the famous ‘Invincibles’ campaign as they didn’t lose any of their 38 games that season.

Think Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg, Sol Campbell and Robert Pires in full flow and Arsene Wenger with a huge smile on his face on the sidelines. Magnificent.

When did Arsenal last win a trophy?

The last trophy Arsenal won was the FA Cup in the 2019-20 season, they also won the FA Community Shield in 2020.

Both of those trophies were won by current boss Mikel Arteta.

Which trophies have Arsenal won?

Here are the list of trophies the Gunners have won in their history:

  • FA Cup (14 – Record)
  • Premier League/First Division titles (13)
  • League Cup (2)
  • FA Community Shield (16)
  • European Cup Winners’ Cup (1)
  • Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1)