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Royals accept invitation into Checkatrade Trophy

Invited Category One teams confirmed for 2017-18 tournament

30 June 2017

The sixteen invited Under-21 teams for the 2017-18 Checkatrade Trophy have been confirmed today - and the Royals have happily accepted the invitation into a tournament our young players certainly benefitted from last season.

Newcomers Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Fulham also take their place in next season’s competition.

Premier League Champions Chelsea will again take part and are joined by eleven other Under-21 sides from England’s top flight as well as four from the Championship - Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Fulham and the Royals - as the country’s leading Category One Academies look to pit their stars against professionals, young and old, from the 48 League One and League Two teams.

The Group Stage draw will take place next month with the first round of fixtures scheduled to take place in the week commencing Monday 28th August. 

Club News

Clubs vote in favour of current Checkatrade Trophy format

15 May 2017

This announcement follows the overwhelming support of League One and League Two clubs to allow the continued involvement of 16 invited sides in the Checkatrade Trophy for the next two seasons, alongside several format amendments to provide increased flexibility in team selection for League One and League Two Clubs.  

The full list of invited Under 21 sides is as follows: 

Brighton & Hove Albion





Stoke City



Leicester City

Swansea City

Manchester City

Tottenham Hotspur


West Bromwich Albion

Newcastle United

West Ham United

Club News

Gallery: Royals knock Saints from Checkatrade Trophy

22 December 2016

Last season, the Royals youngsters emerged from the Group Stages to then knock Southampton's Category One side out of the competition at St Mary's. The campaign ended at the last sixteen stage when ten man Reading were defeated by Yeovil Town at Huish Park.

The invited teams were selected based on their final league position at the end of the 2016-17 season. The first 16 were invited to take part, and then subsequent teams – with Category One Academy status – invited as required.

EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey has welcomed the growing strength in the number of clubs wanting to take part in the competition.

“I was delighted when EFL Clubs collectively backed the competition following a full and comprehensive review of last season’s pilot format and we can see from the increasing interest from Category One Academies that the Checkatrade Trophy has genuine appeal," he said.

“The competition provides a unique challenge to young players and seasoned professionals alike. I strongly believe players from League One and League Two clubs will look forward to taking on some of the country’s brightest prospects, who will themselves learn a lot from participating in a first team competition.

“I want to thank EFL Clubs and the Category One Academies for their support. I believe the balance of the competition should benefit all sides and will make for some intriguing matches when the Group Stages get under way in August.”

Club News

Herron: Trophy experience ‘phenomenal’ for young Royals

3 September 2016

The selection criteria for invited Under-21 teams like ours is ‘six players from the starting 11 must be under the age of 21 as at 30th June 2017'.

And in May 2017, it was announced that the League One and League Two clubs will have greater flexibility with regard to team selection, while still maintaining the principle that this is a first team competition for them, which will support the development and progression of young players.

The competition will also provide significant financial rewards for all EFL Clubs, which increases with success.

Reading’s Academy Manager Lee Herron said: “The Checkatrade Trophy offered some great experience for our young players this season and it gave them exposure to different situations and environments than the ones they are used to. 

“Our goal is to keep preparing these young men for a career in professional football and it can only be a good thing for their development and our club if they get to play in these kinds of games where there’s a lot at stake and a different kind of pressure than the usual youth football which they play. 

“We have certainly felt the benefits of being involved in the competition and I am pleased we will have the opportunity again in the 2017-18 season.” 

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