Three of our Academy age-groups are making terrific progress in cup competitions, competing with some of the best clubs in the country and getting some great results!
Youth football, as always, focuses on development of the players’ abilities and personalities to ensure that they will one day be ready for first-team football… but positive results along the way are a good sign, too!
Here’s a little update of the cup competitions that our Under-16s, Under-15s and Under-14s have been involved with in recent weeks…
Under-16s – Premier League Cup
Our U16s’ weekend games programme mirrors the one that the Under-18s play in – and in recent seasons they have also been involved in the Premier League Cup. After two fixtures, they are almost guaranteed a place in the knock-out stages after winning two from two!
Their most recent win, which included a number of footballers playing up from the U15 age-group, came earlier this month away at Liverpool – they showed style to go 2-1 up and grit to see out the scoreline. Added to a 3-1 win at Hogwood against Southampton at the end of September, they’re in a good position going into the final game at Stoke City. The winners of each of the six groups qualify for the knock-outs, plus the two best-placed runners-up.
Under-15s – Floodlit Cup
For the U15s, who typically play their fixtures at a weekend, the involvement in the Floodlit Cup is something a bit different. And two wins by impressive scorelines has guaranteed their place in the next round of the competition – again with plenty of players from a younger age-group representing them.
A 5-2 win away at Luton Town was the way that they started their involvement in this year’s tournament on a Tuesday evening in September, and then they hosted Wolverhampton Wanderers at Larges Lane, home of Bracknell Town, on Tuesday 6th November and won 5-0. Their last game in the tournament before the new year comes away at Walsall on Wednesday 28th November, before the return legs in the new year.
Under-14s – Albert Phelan Cup
The Albert Phelan Cup, named after the former Sheffield Wednesday youth coach, got underway for our boys in October – and what more impressive a way to begin proceedings than a 3-0 win against 2017’s tournament winners Arsenal at Hogwood Park!
That was followed up with a 1-1 draw away at Norwich last Saturday, putting them in a good position going into the final group game before Christmas against Leicester City, which is scheduled to take place next month.
Martin Dean, Lead Youth Development Phase Coach, said: “The results that our Academy teams have been picking up in cup competitions are a product of getting that balance between style and steel – playing some terrific football, but backing that up with the heart and desire that is needed to get the best out of situations and ultimately to win matches.
“Our culture has been one of brotherhood, family and warrior spirit, and those traits have been evident across the age-groups and a big part their progression so far this season. They are all developing well by playing ‘the Reading Way’.”