Development Squad 2014/15
Now it its third 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 Ben Nugent 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:
Uruguayan U20 International Maxi signed a four year contract with Cardiff City on August 30th 2013 following a successful one month trial period with the Club. While he is yet to make his first team debut, the 21 year-old central defender has performed consistently in the heart of defence for the Development side.
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.
An energetic left-sided midfielder, Anthony made an immediate impact at U18 level having joined the Club in September 2013. He completed the first year of his Apprenticeship with Darlington FC, his second with the Bluebirds, and now is a regular in the DVP setup as a second year professional.
A clever, quick-thinking midfielder who overcame injuries as a youngster to excel. Jaye will look to kick on further as a second year professional as part of the DVP squad for 2014/15. He is a Wales U19 International and so of former Bluebird, Jason.
A strong and pacey centre-forward, Dane was plagued by injuries in earlier years of his development. However, he has proven that he has the ability to compete at Academy level after having done so competently last season. He's now moved into his second year in the DVP setup as a junior professional.
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 joined up with League One Colchester on loan in September 2014, and has recently extended his stay with the U's until the end of the season following some impressive attacking displays.
Gethyn is a tall, pacey striker who has impressed at every age level since coming to the fore with the U16s. An U18 pace-setter last season, Gethyn broke into the DVP setup only to suffer a knee ligament injury towards the turn of the year. Now fully recuperated and looking stronger for his rehabilitation, hopes are high for the Welshman's 2014/15 progression.
Charlie was a player in the United States Development Academy from ages 14-18 and captained his team in his final year. He had received an offer to join the 2012 NCAA Division 1 Champions, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; however, in the summer of 2013, he crossed the Atlantic to join Peterborough United. After spending one year at London Road, 6'5" Charlie left to join Cardiff City.
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.
Kane broke into the DVP setup in 2012/13 thanks to some impressive defensive displays for the U18 side. A natural full-back, who is adept at centre-half, Kane is likely to play an important role during the '14/15 DVP season and has also been involved in City's first-team Capital One Cup squads.
Forward Danny Johnson agreed a one-year deal with City in the summer following a successful trial spell. The former Guisborough Town man had previously spent time with Middlesbrough and Hartlepool United, but it was his spell with the Priorymen that alerted the Cardiff City scouts to his goal-scoring talents. Johnson scored 56 goals in 51 games for Town in Northern Football League Division One last season, earning the opportunity of returning to full time football with the Bluebirds after scoring four goals during his pre-season trial period at the club. Earlier in 2014/15, Danny had a loan spell with Tranmere Rovers and is currently with Stevenage for an initial one-month period.
Of Nigerian descent, Deji joined the Club at 16 years of age having had no previous Academy experience. An athletic and technically gifted defender who can play centre-half or full-back, Deji featured in every DVP fixture during 2012/13 en route to the national final. A confident and charismatic member of the squad, he has already featured for the senior side in League Cup and FA Cup competition. Deji is currently on loan at AFC Wimbledon until the end of the 2014/15 season, linking up with former Bluebirds Academy Manager and defender Neal Ardley.
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.. He has committed to a long-term contract at the Club, and is currently on loan with League One side Port Vale.
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 added a new dimension to our U18 attacking play throughout his time as a scholar. After spending the final few months of last term with the DVP side, Tyler makes the move up to junior professional this season.
'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 will relish the challenge of playing U21 football this season.
Congo-born David joined Cardiff City’s Academy back in October 2012 and has made significant progression in his short time with the club. The left-sided player is astute whether playing in defence or on the wing and scored an incredible goal against Swansea City last season, beating three men before firing the ball home with his weaker foot from 20 yards.
Ben is a whole-hearted midfielder who shows commitment in everything he does, both on and off the pitch. He became a prominent part of the U18 setup last term after having played at this level on a number of occasions during the previous season. A tenacious and determined ball-winner who adds genuine strength to our midfield, Ben will look to make the step up to U21 football on a full time basis this term.
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.
Ben completed his apprenticeship with Sunderland, leaving the Black Cats in summer 2013. Whilst on trial later in the year, he impressed for City’s development side against Charlton Athletic and Chelsea and signed on a permanent basis from January 2014.
A modest and humble character who shows a quiet confidence in his football. Brad is a very solid, consistent and dependable full-back or central defender who excels at the Academic element of the programme as well as on the field. Aberdare-born Brad has also represented Wales at age levels.
Hereford-born Brad is a solid and physical central midfielder who offers presence on and off the field. A popular character, he will look to kick-on after a strong first season at U21 level. Brad has filled in in the centre of defence for City DVP when called upon, performing at the highest level despite being out of position. It's testament to the young midfielder's flexibility.
Josh is a dominant centre-half who possesses leadership quality, bravery and good technical ability. The Welsh U19 International continues to prove that he has all the potential to become a top-class defender. The Bridgend-born defender is now in his second season as a junior professional.