HRH The Duke of York visited Sunderland AFC for the second time in July 2003 to officially open the Academy of Light; he opened the Stadium of Light in 1997.
The Duke was relaxed as he joked and chatted with players, manager Mick McCarthy and Academy staff as he toured the facility. Sir Bob Murray who showed the Duke around said: “He was clearly impressed with what we believe are world class facilities and was very interested to understand why we believe the Academy is so important to the development of both young and established professional players, and how it will help us to compete at the highest level in the future.”
The world class training ground and academy provides facilities for the club’s professional and young players from the age 8 upwards. The facilities include; indoor and outdoor training areas including 12-18 pitches of varying size; fitness rooms; medical and rehabilitation facilities including a hydrotherapy suite boasting 4 pools; classrooms, IT suite and library, media suite, parents lounge and administration offices. An indoor training facility was also opened in 2012.
The Academy of Light was given the highest possible category rating by EPPP (Elite Player Performance Programme) inspectors in 2012.