Development Squad 2012/13
New for the 2012/13 season under the templates set out by the EPPP (Elite Performance Player Plan), Cardiff City Football Club have a Development Squad, consisting primarily of under-21s and aimed at bridging the gap for young players between the Academy and First-team setups. It 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.
Brief profiles on those forming the core of our Development Squad this season are below:
Development Team Coach
Kevin joined Cardiff City Football Club in a coaching capacity as a development coach based in Malaysia. On his return from Asia he took up the role of Development Side Coach, primarily working with players of an under-21 age-group status. New for the 2012/13 as part of the EPPP, the Development Side is set to give our younger players a clear pathway from Academy football in to First Team Football.
Striker (Squad Number 34)
Jesse joined Cardiff City at sixteen years old having previously played amateur schoolboy football for Bromley. He has continually developed into a quick, athletic, striker that works incredibly hard from the front with intelligent movement.
Striker (Squad Number 28)
Manchester born Rhys joined Cardiff City from Connah’s Quay on Monday January 28th after impressing club scouts due to his Welsh Premier League displays. Considered a bright prospect for the future, Rhys will spend time with the 18s and development squad as a means to integrate with the club.
Striker (Squad Number 33)
In some ways a veteran of the youth ranks, local boy Nat broke into the Cardiff City first team setup back in 2010 after signing with the Club as an eight year old. He scored his first professional goal against Oxford United at the start of the 2011/12 season before spending a successful period at Newport County later in the year.
Full-back (Squad Number 42)
Under-17 Wales international Declan continues to impress for the Development Side this season, now playing predominantly at left-back after playing much of his age-level football in midfield. Featured for the first-team against Northampton Town in the Capital One Cup First Round back in August.
Defender (Squad Number 31)
A 6'4" left-sided centre-back who has been with us for three years, Ben is very aggressive and has a great desire to defend. In addition, he is a technically good two-footed player, still growing and filling into his huge frame. He will undoubtedly relish the physical challenge of U21 football and has provided bench cover for the first-team in the Championship this season too.
Full-back (Squad Number 35)
Guadeloupian Deji joined the Club at sixteen years of age having had no previous Academy experience. His athleticism and technical ability is very striking and he has impressed at both U18 and U21 level already this season. He can play anywhere across the back and is good off either foot. One of the most charismatic members of the group off the field, his confidence shows in his performances on the pitch.
Tommy is a current Wales U19 International, having enjoyed success in recent years in the relevant Welsh 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 and is always looking to get on the ball and play. He has committed to a long-term contract at the Club.
Having enjoyed a stint at Welsh Premier League side Llanelli AFC earlier this season, the 19 year-old cuts an imposing figure between the sticks. He and fellow young goalkeeper Liam Matthews have alternated in goal for the under 18 squad under the guidance of Lee Kendall this season and have provided bench cover for Elliott Parish and Joe Lewis for the Development squad.
Although Theo is still a second-year Apprentice, the Club has committed to his long-term development which sees him as an integral part of our U21 Development Squad. He is a dynamic and athletic midfielder who is always looking to create opportunities and get forward. Having made his first team debut last season in the F.A. Cup 3rd Round tie at West Bromwich Albion, Theo has made a huge impression and has already exceled himself in a number of Development Matches.