But reaching the pinnacle and playing for the first-team isn’t easy. Eagles legend Mark Bright is part of Palace TV's coverage of the U23s, watched FREE by Palace Members; he knows how hard it can be, but thinks the new development will give young players their best shot.
“This area will always produce players,” says Bright. “Ten years ago, Steve [Parish] wanted to improve the Academy, but to see it go up slowly like it’s doing and to actually go across and watch.
“I was there one evening and I was watching the pre-Academy – or U7s – training on one-half of the pitch, and on the other half was the U23s preparing for a game. So you had both ends of the spectrum.
“That’s what we expected when you build an Academy: you’ve got the kids, the youngest of the young, training with the ones just before the first-team. It was great to see.”
With Palace U18s fighting for top spot this season, the future looks bright on the pitch. However, Bright has stern advice for young prospects: adding hard work off the pitch is what will make you prosper.
“The great facilities [are] not necessarily going to guarantee lots of great players. But we hope, with good coaching, good facilities and desire and hunger from young players, we'll produce players.
“You have to understand greatness and its forms. Playing FIFA is not going to help make you the best footballer, but reading a book on a footballer might help you because everybody goes through the same ups and downs.
“Because it's very similar: you win, you lose and you draw. You get taken off, you score an own goal, you score a goal and you get sent off. All these footballers will have gone through those testing moments.”
With new gyms, sport science facilities and classrooms as well as specialist pitches, the Academy ground is poised to present players with the best possible chance of developing. Bright says they must grab this chance with both hands
“You’ve got to study yourself. You’ve got to watch clips of yourself. You’ve got to watch somebody who you think you are similar to in size or position. And you’ve got to try and make the best of your career, because you get one go at it.
“And at the end you want to say: 'I tried my hardest. I don’t think I could have done better.' That’s the only thing you need to say to yourself.
“You come to Crystal Palace and you have a driven mentality. You have to have a work ethic. If you didn’t, you dropped by the wayside.”
But one thing’s for certain: when the Academy is finished and the players and staff get to work, it will be a landmark moment for the club’s long-term future.
“It will be like: ‘Wow - it’s everything we ever dreamed of!’”
To follow the progress of Palace’s youth sides as the Academy continues to develop, click here to become a Member with a huge 30% off.