U14s could defend their trophyReading’s U14s will face Arsenal in the final of the Nike Cup at Wembley Stadium later this month, as the young Royals bid to defend the trophy that they won last season.
Having come out on top in their qualifiers at St George’s Park last week, the U14s will now travel to the nation stadium to take on the Gunners just 48 hours after the first team’s FA Cup Semi Final.
Youngster Shamar Moore scored in each of Reading’s three group matches, as we beat Sunderland 2-0, Leicester 1-0, and last year’s finalists Chelsea 2-0 in the qualifying rounds. Jordan Murray was also on target in the first and third victories.
A Semi-Final against West Bromwich Albion saw the pair both find the net once more, while a fourth clean sheet ensured that the Royals booked their place at the Wembley showpiece without conceding a goal.
Last season, a late strike from Jack Buchanan sealed a 1-0 win for Reading against Chelsea, as the Royals became the first side to lift the newly-formed Nike Cup.
Academy manager Eamonn Dolan is extremely proud of Reading’s young side and all of the staff that have aided their development thus far.
He said: “I'm very proud of the staff and players for getting to Wembley for the second year in succession. The Academy at Reading is competing at a very high level against clubs with massive visions and investment for their clubs’ Academies.
“Despite this huge challenge, we continue to perform at a level that is consistently recognised and acknowledged outside of the club.
“This is yet another example of the quality and dedication of the Academy staff who work tirelessly to produce young players who choose to play for Reading FC, who want to play for Reading FC and who are committed to the special football club that is Reading FC.”
Assistant Academy manager Lee Herron added: “Getting to Wembley two times in two successive seasons just goes to show the will, desire and ability we have within our Academy, not to mention the great people who work with these young players day in, day out.
“Last year was a fantastic achievement, but to do it again with a new group of players - only one lad who was part of last season’s success was eligible to play in the tournament again – it is real testament to the quality of the players we have in this age group.
“To play in any final at any level of football is an accomplishment, but to play it at Wembley is what dreams are made of. You could see it on the players’ faces going into the semi-final against West Bromwich Abion…they knew what was at stake and they proved they could play under that pressure. Hopefully they will have to learn how to play under pressure as professional senior players in years to come, and that they dealt with it so well will stand them in good stead.
“We’re now looking forward to a final against Arsenal and giving it our best shot against a very good side. We beat Chelsea last year and we’ll do all we can to can come out on top as the tournament winners again.”