For the 2017/18 campaign, our U18 squad will once again be competing in the Under-18 Premier League – the elite level competition for their age group.
As ever, our squad is a mixture of the old and the new. A new intake of players have joined the U18s from the Under-16 group – and they join the younger half of last year’s Under-18 players, who move into the second year of their two-year scholarship.
All of our home U18 fixtures take place behind closed doors at Hogwood Park – the first of which comes against Swansea City on Saturday 12th August. A week later, we’re on the road for the first time to visit last year’s champions Chelsea at Cobham.
22 league fixtures will be played against the other teams in the Southern section – in the last two seasons, a top-four finish in our region has seen the young Royals qualify for the Merit Group 1, and therefore play games against their top-four counterparts from the Northern division in the closing weeks of the campaign… but that won’t be the case this year.
Instead, we have an additional cup competition to look forward to. The biggest prize on offer is the FA Youth Cup – a knock-out competition in the same format as senior side’s FA Cup – which we will enter in the third round in mid-December.
But we will also be entered in the inaugural U18 Premier League Cup, which will see us take on three other teams in a group stage – and hopefully advancing into the knock-out stages when they begin in January.
Here is our fixture list in full…
Swansea City (H), Saturday 12 August 2017
Chelsea (A), Saturday 19 August 2017
Leicester City (A), Saturday 26 August 2017
Fulham (H), Saturday 9 September
Arsenal (A), Saturday 23 September 2017
Tottenham Hotspur (H), Saturday 30 September 2017
Norwich City (A), Saturday 14 September 2017
West Ham United (A), Saturday 21 September 2017
Southampton (H), Saturday 18 November 2017
Aston Villa (H), Saturday 25 November 2017
Brighton & Hove Albion (A), Saturday 9 December 2017
Chelsea (H), Saturday 6 January 2018
Swansea City (A), Saturday 13 January 2018
Leicester City (H), Saturday 20 January 2018
Fulham (H), Saturday 3 February 2018
Arsenal (H), Saturday 10 February 2018
Tottenham Hotspur (A), Saturday 24 February 2018
Norwich City (H), Saturday 3 March 2018
Southampton (A), Saturday 17 March 2018
West Ham United (H), Saturday 7 April 2018
Aston Villa (A), Saturday 14 April 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion (H), Saturday 21 April