Our Regional Talent Club (Girls Academy) Under-16s have progressed to their first ever FA Youth Cup semi-final after wins against Charlton, Arsenal, Chelsea and Southampton… and by consequence, they will host Manchester United for a place in the final!
It is the first time any of our female teams have progressed this far in an FA Cup competition.
The FA Youth Cup is the flagship competition in the female youth fixture programme and began with all 34 RTC’s Under-16s sides nationwide last September.
As a Tier 3 RTC, our U16s were one of just eight sides to play a preliminary round, beating Charlton Athletic 4-0 away from home. Up next the young Royals faced Arsenal Women who, remarkably, had won each of the last three competitions. Unfazed by the stature of their opponents, Reading emerged 3-0 victors in Hertfordshire in October, catching the eye of many in the game in the process.
In the next round, Reading were handed yet another tough draw, this time away to Chelsea, whom they had already lost 2-1 and 3-2 to in the league. However, in November they took Chelsea to penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw at their Cobham training ground, before going on to win 4-2 on penalties.
In the quarter-finals Reading were drawn away for the fourth successive game, this time to Southampton. And it was resounding 5-0 win at Staplewood on 3rd February that granted the girls academy their first ever semi-final place.
Reading will now face Manchester United at home on March 10th, which is set to be played at our Women’s training base Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre in Marlow (TBC). Reading are the only Tier 3 side left in the competition, with opponents Manchester United, and other semi-finalists Manchester City and Leicester City all Tier 1 sides.
Regional Talent Club centre manager Joe Manns was full of praise for the U16s: “We’re extremely proud of how far our U16s have progressed this year in the FA Youth Cup. We’ve had a tough run of games against the country’s best, so our coaches Adam Jeffrey and Rob Gier, as well as technical director Phil Cousins, can all be extremely proud of how far they have pushed this talented group of players so far.
“Ultimately, we run this centre to create first team players, but part of this is creating individuals who know how to win, so we’re extremely happy with our U16s performances this season, and fully believe they can go on to win the FA Youth Cup. Additionally, they are perfect role models for our four younger age groups to look up to.”