Development Squad 2015/16
Now it its fourth season under the templates set out by the EPPP (Elite Performance Player Plan), Cardiff City Football Club has a Development Squad, consisting primarily of players under the age of 21.
It's aim is to help bridge the gap for young players between the Academy and First-team setups, with the examples of Declan John and Kadeem Harris highlighting its recent success.
The Development squad also serves as an excellent platform for players on the fringe of the first-team or those returning from injury to gain invaluable competitive game time.
Cardiff City DVP competes in the Professional Development League 2. The squad finished as divisional Champions at the end of the 2013/14 competition.
Brief profiles on those forming the core of our Development Squad this season are below:
First Team Coach & U21s Manager
One of the first FA Elite Coaches in Great Britain, Kevin graduated with the FA Elite Coaches Award earlier in his career as one of the World’s top 16 young coaches. A holder of the UEFA ‘A’ Licence qualification, he was selected by the LMA to be part of its Leadership Education Programme.
Prior to becoming Cardiff City U18s Manager in 2013, Kevin enjoyed successful spells with Derby County, Stoke City and Exeter City. He has been instrumental in the development of a number of young players who now play regularly in the Barclays Premier League and Sky Bet Championship – a key factor, along with his exemplary track record, in the decision to appoint him in this critical role. Kevin will retain first-team match-day duties as part of Russell Slade's backroom staff.
Welsh Youth International Ashley joined up with Cardiff at the U14 level and has been a key player in the heart of the Academy’s defence since.
The Bridgend-born defender completed a scholarship deal with the Club at the end of 2014/15, signing a first year professional deal.
Jazzi signed for City in summer 2014 after completing his two year apprenticeship with Watford. He is a right sided defender who began his first season as a junior professional this summer and was the starting right-back in our opening 2014/15 Capital One Cup wins over Coventry City and Port Vale.
Powerful midfielder Budgie started his time with City at the age of eight and has been a key player for Cardiff at each age group.
Having been utilised in a holding role in the centre of City U18s midfield, Tom is known for his crunching tackles and incredible driven shot. He will be looking to add these qualities to the U21/DVP squad in 2015/16.
Manchester born Rhys joined Cardiff City from Connah’s Quay in January 2013 after impressing club scouts with his Welsh Premier League displays. Considered a bright prospect for the future, the striker has already progressed from the U18 side into becoming a DVP main-stay. An incredible 2013/14 saw Healey score 15 goals at U21 level. Healey spent the 2014/15 season out on loan with Colchester United, gaining valuable first team experience.
Tom enjoyed a very impressive 2013/14 season and has progressed rapidly over the past 12 months. He is comfortable playing in either full-back position, but most recently has shown composure in central defence when called upon. A young man with an admirable attitude and dedication to his career, Tom made his first team debut in the final game of the 2013/14 Premier League season against Chelsea.
Cardiff-born Abdi linked up with Cardiff City’s Academy back in 2009 after impressing club scouts. He has continued to progress throughout his time at the Club, signing a first year professional deal at the end of his apprenticeship in 2015.
The young winger/forward broke into Kevin Nicholson's U21 side towards the end of the 2014/15 season, and will be looking to cement a spot in the side at his first full season at that level. Abdi has also been called into the Wales U19 squad on a number of occasions.
Luke joined up with the Bluebirds from the Nike Academy in summer 2015. The confident 19 year-old shot stopper has previously had spells with West Ham United and Peterborough, signing a professional deal with Cardiff City after a successful trial. He will be mostly involved in U21 football during the 2015/16 season.
Tommy is a current Wales U21 International, having enjoyed success in recent years in the relevant Welsh age-level squads. He is a clever, intricate central midfielder who is quick-thinking and possesses great decision-making qualities. As a quiet, unassuming character, he has a tendency to lead by example.
A tenacious central midfielder, Robbie has spent ten years with City’s Academy and captained the Cardiff City U18 squad in 2014/15.
Robbie has reached the highs of playing at Wembley already, while he also represents Wales at U19 level.
Clinical forward Eli has been with City’s Academy for nine years, completing his apprenticeship deal in the summer of 2015.
Having impressed in his first year as an apprentice, Eli scored nine goals in the club’s FAW Youth Cup run as well as a number of astute finishes in PDL2 South in his second season - finishing the year as top goal-scorer for the U18 squad. He has recently signed a first year professional deal.
An energetic right-sided defender, Dylan joined up with Cardiff City’s Academy at the under 11 stage and has been a key part of each age group he has been involved with.
Originally from Tenby, Dylan was a key part of the U18 squad throughout his years as a scholar, before breaking into the U21/DVP setup at the end of 2014/15. He makes the permanent step into Kevin Nicholson's squad for the coming campaign.
Bridgend-born Tyler is an exciting wide midfielder who can beat any defender on his day with quick feet and explosive pace. A very modest, unassuming individual, he adds a new dimension to our attacking play whether playing as a forward or winger. Tyler is a second year professional with the Bluebirds.
'Macca' is a Cardiff lad who can play a number of positions in midfield and has an ability to find good areas on the pitch to make himself available. He was chosen as captain of the U18 squad for the 2013/14 campaign and shone during his first campaign at U21 level, moving into the second year of his professional contract with Cardiff City.
Congo-born David joined Cardiff City’s Academy back in October 2012 and has made significant progression in his relatively short time with the club. The left-sided player is astute whether playing in defence or on the wing. He is currently out on loan with League Two side York City until January 2016, following on from a similar successful loan spell with Newport County last season.
Central midfielder Veale joined up with Cardiff City at U10 level and has worked extremely hard to get to the level he is at today.
He signed a first year pro deal with the Club, and has a history of scoring exceptional goals. Veale netted a long range winner for the U18 side against Charlton in the FA Youth Cup in 2014, before adding a special free kick in the next round at Burnley. Always a threat from set pieces.
Curtis is a highly-rated central defender who has represented Wales from the Victory Shield up to U19 levels. He shows athleticism and composure whenever he plays and has continually proven himself able to cope with the best strikers at U9-U18 level. Curtis is relishing the opportunity of tackling the physical element of U21 football this season as his promising development continues.
A talented ball-playing central midfielder, Theo has committed to a long-term development contract at Cardiff City. Made his first-team debut in the 2012 F.A. Cup tie at West Bromwich Albion and continues to make a big impression as he progresses. He is a current Wales U21 International.