Homegrown Players

The Ultimate Guide To Homegrown Players

Last updated on September 25th, 2021

You may have heard of the homegrown rule in certain football competitions.

However, the rules can differ slightly for different competitions!

Here’s what you need to know about how this rule affects the squad registration in different competitions:

What is a homegrown player?

A homegrown player is defined as a player who has played in the club’s academy for at least 3 years before he reaches 21 years old. A player can be considered as homegrown irregardless of nationality. However, a ‘club-trained’ player in the Serie A has to be Italian.

Here are the different homegrown player rules used in the different competitions:

Country
/ Region
Definition of HomegrownLimit
UEFATrained by club or club from
similar association between 15-21
8
EnglandTrained by club from either English or
Welsh FA for ≥ 3 years between 15-21
8
GermanyTrained by a DFB member club
for 3 years between 15-21 
8
ItalyTrained at Italian club
between 15-21
8 (4 club-trained players
must come from Italy)
USAAt least one year at club’s academy
and lived in territory for one year
None

And here is each rule explained in-depth:

What is the homegrown player rule for UEFA competitions?

A homegrown player is defined by UEFA to have been trained by their club or another club in the similar association between ages 15-21. This is regardless of the player’s nationality.

In the UEFA Champions League, you are required to register a squad of 25 players. Within these 25 players, at least 8 players need to be considered as homegrown.

If you’re wondering which teams are eligible to play in the Champions League, you can check out my guide here.

There are 2 types of homegrown players that are defined by UEFA:

  1. Club-trained
  2. Association-trained

These are the number of club-trained and association-trained players you can have on your team:

Type of
Homegrown
Player
DefinitionNumber
In Squad
Club-TrainedTrained by the club
between 15-21 years
At least 4
Association-TrainedTrained by another club
within the same association
between 15-21 years
0-4

The same association usually refers to the same country. For example, both the Premier League and the EFL League One are considered to be in the same association.

For your squad to be eligible to play in the Champions League, you will need to meet these criteria:

  1. At least 8 homegrown players
  2. At least 4 of these homegrown players are club-trained
  3. The remainder of these 8 players can either be club-trained or association-trained

Compared to other leagues, the Champions League has a ‘looser’ definition. This is because UEFA does not state the time period that a player needs to train in the club’s academy!

In other countries, the leagues would state that a player needs to train for at least 3 years.

What is the homegrown player rule in the EPL?

A homegrown player in the EPL is any player, regardless of nationality, who has been registered with any club associated with the English or Welsh FA for at least 3 years before reaching 21 years old.

The period of registration does not have to be a continuous 3 years! So long as the total period before 21 years old hits 3 years, you will be considered as homegrown.

It is interesting to see that training at clubs from the Wales football association can be considered as homegrown! This could be due to some Welsh clubs playing in the English League.

The rules are quite similar to the Champions League

You can be considered as homegrown, irregardless of your nationality. This is similar to the Champions League.

Moreover, you’ll need a minimum of 8 homegrown players in the EPL too!

However, it has one difference from the Champions League. The Champions League requires you to have at least 4 players who are club-trained. This means that the player has to be trained by the club that is registering him.

For the EPL, there is no such requirement. As such, an English club can buy 8 homegrown players, without training any of them!

The definition of homegrown is slightly different from what you think

You may think that all homegrown players have to come from either England or Wales.

However, there can be youth players with other nationalities that can be considered as homegrown too!

Some notable examples include:

  1. Hector Bellerin
  2. Cesc Fabregas
  3. Andreas Christensen
  4. Alex Iwobi
  5. Kasper Schmeichel

These players have been trained by an English or Welsh club since they were very young. As such, they still qualify as homegrown even though they are not from England or Wales.

Moreover, there are some players who are English but are not considered to be homegrown too! One such example is Eric Dier, who was playing with Sporting CP (Portugal) during his youth career.

Dier did not train in an English or Welsh associated team for 3 years before 21 years old. As such, he is not considered as homegrown!

Do Welsh players count as homegrown players?

A player from Wales does not automatically count as a homegrown player. He will need to register with any club associated with the English or Welsh FA for at least 3 years before reaching 21 years old to be considered as homegrown.

This is because the nationality of the player does not matter when it comes to the homegrown rule. What matters is the club(s) that the player has been registered when he is between 15-21 years old.

It is also possible that a Welsh player is considered as homegrown for the EPL, but not for the Champions League!

One notable player is Ben Davies, who plays for Tottenham. He was registered with Swansea City before he reached 21 years old.

Because of this, he is considered to be a homegrown player under EPL rules. However, he is not considered as homegrown for the Champions League!

This is because the Champions League only considers you as homegrown if you were registered in a club that is in your same association.

Since Tottenham (England) and Swansea (Wales) come from different associations, Ben Davies is not a homegrown player!

More changes could be made in the future

Initially, the homegrown rule was imposed to promote more homegrown talent from England. However, homegrown players can come from any nationality, and not just from England or Wales.

There is even an entire team of players who are considered homegrown, but play for other countries!

The former FA chief, Greg Dyke, wanted to tighten the rules such that lesser foreign-born players could qualify as homegrown. However, his proposals were not put into action.

Dyke’s main concern was that there are not enough local homegrown talent playing in the Premier League.

What is the homegrown player rule in the EFL?

A homegrown player in the EFL is any player, regardless of nationality, who has been registered with any club associated with the English or Welsh FA for at least 3 years before reaching 21 years old.

The homegrown player rule for the EFL is similar to that of the EPL!

The number of homegrown players for each squad is also the same, at 8 players.

What is the homegrown player rule in Germany?

A homegrown player in Germany is defined as a player who was eligible to play for a DFB member club for 3 years, between the ages of 15-21. All German teams in the Bundesliga and the 2. Liga need at least 8 qualifying players.

The rules of homegrown players in Germany is not as well defined compared to other leagues. However, there is no mention about nationality in the rules too.

As such, it is possible for players from other nationalities besides Germany to be considered as homegrown too!

Some of the examples include:

  1. Jadon Sancho
  2. David Alaba
  3. Dayot Upamecano

You can view the entire list of homegrown players found in the Bundesliga.

Similar to the Champions League’s rules, clubs must have at least 8 players who are trained locally at a German club.

Again, there are 2 types of homegrown players:

Type of
Homegrown Player
DefinitionNumber
in Squad
Club-TrainedEligible to play for the club
between 15-21 years
At least 4
Association-TrainedEligible to play for a
DFB member club
between 15-21 years
0-4

You will need at least 4 club-trained players to be registered to play in the Bundesliga!

What is the homegrown player rule in the Serie A?

A homegrown player in the Serie A is defined as a player who trained at an academy of an Italian club between 15-21 years old. There has to be at least 4 ‘club-trained’ players among the 8 homegrown players to be registered.

The Serie A is slightly more strict compared to other leagues. The ‘club-trained’ players have to be born in Italy too!

Type of
Homegrown Player
DefinitionNumber
in Squad
Club-TrainedBorn in Italy and was registered
with the club between 15-21 years
At least 4
Association-TrainedEligible to play for a an Italian
club between 15-21 years
0-4

These changes were introduced in the 2015-16 season. The rules are much stricter, where only Italian players could be considered as ‘Club-Trained’.

In other countries, players could be considered as ‘club-trained’, regardless of their nationality!

This rule was imposed mainly to address the lack of homegrown talent playing in Italian clubs.

What is the homegrown player rule in the MLS?

A player is considered to be homegrown in the MLS if they have spent at least one year at the club’s academy, and lived in the territory for one year, before attending a 4 year college or signing a professional contract.

Once the player fulfils either criteria, they can be considered as a homegrown player.

The rules are slightly more complicated for the MLS. This is because the registration of players is done using a roster basis, instead of the usual transfers used in other leagues!

Conclusion

The homegrown player rule was introduced mainly to encourage teams to use players from their own academies.

However, there has been concern that clubs are not producing enough local talent. This could affect the country’s performance in the World Cup!

As such, there may be further restrictions on the definition of a homegrown player in the future.

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