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The Teams

The Academy U11, U12, U13, U14, U15 and U17 sides don’t actually play “competitive” matches, but do have a formal set of fixtures against all other clubs who participate in the “Performance Tier” of Scottish Youth Football.

Their season starts in August and runs until June, although there is a Winter shutdown that starts in December with matches not resuming until March.

There are no league or cup competitions at these age groups and under the terms of the Scottish Football Youth Initiate no record of results is maintained. This means that no results or reports of these games will be published on this website, or that of any other participating club.

Each of the teams are limited to a squad of 20 players who have to be registered at the start of each season. Clubs are allowed to play trialists although their are limits on their numbers and the amount of games they may play.

The U11 and U12 sides play 7 a side football on a shortened pitch, with the U12s progressing to 11 a side and full size pitches after the Winter break.

All other Academy sides play 11 a side on a full size pitch in games lasting 90 minutes. However, only the U17s play 45 minutes each way. The other sides play three periods of 30 minutes.

The Hearts Academy operates in conjunction with the Scottish Football Youth Initiative which is a youth development programme that covers all age groups from U11 through to U17. This is a partnership between the SFA and SPFL and is designated as the “Performance Tier” of Scottish youth football.

The U20 side is part of the SPFL’s commitment to youth development, in that all SPL teams are required to field a team in the U20 League.

Hearts also provide coaching to talented players from age 8 as well as providing a range of community based coaching courses to even younger children and others outwith the “Performance tier”.

The U20 side competes in the SPFL U20 League along with all the other SPFL Premiership and selected other SPFL clubs. The league is contested over 30 matches from August to April with a winter break over the Christmas and New Year Period.

They also compete in the SFA Youth Cup, a knock out competition for all senior clubs across Scotland. Best known by it’s former sponsor , the BP Youth Cup, It is played on a knock out basis from September through to April.

All players are normally contracted to their clubs on a full time basis.

In practical terms, Hearts offer full time contracts to the best of their young talented players at ages 16, 17, 18 or 19 thus maintaining a regular flow of talent through to the first team.

It also means that the U20 side doesn’t have to completely re-new itself on year as only a proportion of the squad will become too old in any given year.

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