Some of the senior members of the U18 team also play for Arsenal Reserves, and the team are currently coached by former Arsenal defender Steve Bould, while the younger teams are coached by Roy Massey and Steve Gatting. Former Arsenal midfielder and Republic of Ireland international Liam Brady oversees the overall youth development setup at the club with his assistant David Court.
Arsenal have occasionally operated a youth team as far back as 1893-94, and there had been an established third team (known as Arsenal 'A') for young players from 1929 to 1969.
In 1954, Arsenal started their own formal youth team. It entered the South Eastern Counties League (re-named the South East Counties League the following season) and the associated South East Counties League Cup from 1954-55 to 1997-98 (excluding 1967-68 and 1968-69). Arsenal youth also played in the FA Youth Cup (from 1954-55 to present), the London Minor FA Challenge Cup from 1954-55 to 1955-56 and 1959-60 to 1966-67), and the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup (from 1955-56 to 1971-72 and 1974-75 to 1998-99).
During this time, Arsenal were one of the most successful youth teams in the country - winning seven South East Counties League titles, six South East Counties League Cups (including three "doubles") and four FA Youth Cups.
The youth team became founder members of the FA Premier Youth League in 1997-98. The league was initially a single division, and Arsenal won the inaugural title. The following season this was renamed the Premier Academy League and split into an Under-19 and Under-17 section, with the new FA Academy system formally changing Arsenal's youth team to Academy status. Arsenal entered teams in both sections, winning the U17 title in 1999-00 and the U19 in 2001-02, as well as two more FA Youth Cups. Since 2004-05 the FA Premier Academy League has been a single section for Under-18s although an Under-16 section is played with no league table being recorded.