At this time of year, clubs with Premier Academy League status are busy finalising scholarships to begin next spring.
Under-16 players up and down the land will find out whether they are to be offered terms for the next two years or whether they are being released at the end of their schoolboy term.
Chelsea’s intake for the 2012-13 season is taking shape and is set to be one of the largest first-year groups in recent memory.
Upwards of a dozen boys have received official offers, and the majority have already appeared at Under-18 level for club and at Under-16 and Under-17 levels for their respective countries.
The likes of Mitchell Beeney, Alex Kiwomya and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been regulars in Adie Viveash’s youth team so far this season and highlight the top end of the group, which also features Jordan Houghton and Fankaty Dabo, both regulars for the England Under-17 team.
Scottish forward Islam Feruz and Burkinabe winger Bertrand Traore were both born just the wrong side of the September 1st deadline for 2011 scholarships and will therefore take their places in the 2012 crop instead.
More information on the group, including a complete list of players, will be available over the course of the season, but this is a group which has experienced great success at home and abroad in the last two years and under the guidance of Viveash and Under-16 Joe Edwards have made great strides towards excellence.
Congratulations to all who have secured contracts, and best wishes to those who will move on from Cobham. As we wrote on TheChels.net this time last year, there is plenty of hope for those who were not fortunate enough to make the grade.
The future starts here.