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Football Dreams: The Academy | Preview (Channel 4)

This brand-new series documents an extraordinary group of boys who are trying to achieve their dreams at one of nation's most prestigious football academies.

Millions of boys dream of becoming professional footballers, but only a very small percentage of them actually make it as a professional. Few professions in Britain have the power to change a young person's life as rapidly and as dramatically as a football academy.

Filmed over 12 months, this series follows a group of eight-year-olds to 18-year-olds at the famous Crystal Palace Football Club Academy, where the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Gareth Southgate and Aaron Wan-Bissaka progressed through the ranks.

The series shows a range of real and raw stories of boys and their families, from a variety of backgrounds, who all dream of making the Crystal Palace first team, and a fortune, from playing the beautiful game.

Constantly assessed and analysed in an elite sports environment, the Academy is a test not just of ability but also character. The coaches give their all to develop and nurture them as footballers and young men, with the aim of improving their lives whether they make it as a professional footballer or not.

Some will get retained and another step tantalising closer to the Eagles' first team, managed by Patrick Vieira, and the luxury of a professional football contract, and some won't make the cut.

In this first episode, we meet Kairo, Kayleb and Bola, three 11-year-olds who have grown up together and played with each other since they were five years old. But now they face a decision that could split up their tight-knit group.

Only the most elite players will progress from the under-12s, and while Kairo is excelling, the academy coaches have concerns about Kayleb and Bola that could lead to a heartbreaking decision.

The next episode will be available as a first look on All 4 after the transmission of this one on Thursday 11th August.


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