The Academy Book Cover


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A page-turning sports novel perfect for young readers 7 and up, and for soccer fans of all ages.

Born and raised in a small town, Leo K. Doyle has never seen the ocean or stepped foot on a plane. But Leo is a star soccer player with big dreams in life.

Rock-star, Olympic Gold, dragon-slaying dreams.

While Leo longs to make the pros one day, he has no idea how to achieve this goal—

Until a professional scout pays a chance visit to one of Leo’s games and extends an invitation to try out for the London Dragons youth squad, known as The Academy.

Leo is stunned. The London Dragons isn’t just any old soccer team. It’s a world-famous English Premier League Team. Soon Leo is off to a whole new country, embarking on the greatest adventure of his life. The downside? Only eleven players can make the team.

Eleven out of two hundred of the very best youth players on the planet.

Along with the grueling competition, Leo must also face a bully intent on torpedoing his summer, a roomie who doesn’t know how to have fun, a terrifying camp director, and, most of all, Leo’s own lack of formal training and the fear he’ll never succeed.By the end of the summer, Leo will become a much better player and forever changed by his experience.

But will he be good enough to make The Academy?


Leo K. Doyle, a small-town kid from Ohio, has beaten all the odds and made the roster of a Premier League youth squad. But he is far from the star player.

In fact, he isn’t even a starter—and the U14 Lewisham Knights are the worst team in the league. They’re so bad that if they don’t improve this year, the owner will disband the team, which could jeopardize Leo’s dream of becoming a professional soccer player.

As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, Leo also has to keep up with his schoolwork, make brand new friends in a foreign country, deal with a coach who doesn’t seem to like him, and survive away from home for a demanding season in the Youth Premier League.

Leo believes he has the talent to help his team, but can he juggle all these balls and prove himself on the world’s biggest soccer stage?
The Academy Book Cover


Amazon LogoBarnes & Noble Logo
The Academy Book Cover


Amazon LogoBarnes & Noble Logo


Leo tries to lead his team to glory in some of the most exciting, high-stakes soccer in the world.

Last season, Leo and his teammates saved the Lewisham Knights by avoiding a last-place finish in the U14 Premier League. Their future looks bright—until they learn the adult Knights have dropped down to the second division, again putting the future of the U14s in jeopardy.

All might not be lost. The team owner has entered the U14s in the Tournament of Champions, which takes place over the summer. Leo and his teammates will pack their bags and travel across Europe to play against some of the top youth teams in the world. But the tournament isn’t just for pride and a trophy. Something else is at stake: a loophole that allows the winner of the tournament to stay in the youth Premier League.

The competition will be fiercer than ever. No one is giving the Knights a chance to win. As if the tourney wasn’t enough to deal with, someone is trying to sabotage the team, and the Knights have a new star player with a serious attitude problem. The mountain to climb has never seemed so high. Can Leo find a way to pull his team together and have a fighting chance in the Tournament of Champions?


T.Z. Layton - Layton Green
T.Z. Layton is bestselling author Layton Green’s pen name for books aimed at younger readers. The author’s novels have been nominated for many awards, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for film. The author is also a soccer dad, youth coach, referee, former collegiate player, and lifelong fan of the beautiful game.



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