This past Sunday, Cardiff City’s U12 side qualified for the Truce Cup in Belgium, despite tough competition from sides such as Chelsea and Southampton.
The tournament is a part of the Premier League games programme, with the Truce Cup created to commemorate the football match as a part of the Christmas Day truce in World War One in 1914.
The event was hosted in Portsmouth, at the HMS Temeraire – with players taking part in a memorial service on Armistice Day before the tournament began.
“The teams we competed against were Bournemouth, Southampton, Chelsea, Brighton, Fulham and Crystal Palace,” began U12 coach Daniel Smith. “We would’ve ideally liked six out of six, but sometimes that’s not always the case. The only game that we lost was against Crystal Palace, but we came out on top against Chelsea in the first game and went on a four-game winning streak from there.
“We travelled up the night before, so it was a good experience for the boys to bond together in the team hotel, there was a team meeting and a big montage of all the clips of the games in the build-up to the tournament. It was a tournament that we wanted to be successful in as we knew the rewards were huge.”
Tom Hutton, Assistant Head of Youth Development (U12-U16) at Cardiff City FC Academy, added: “Whenever you go into any sort of youth development football, I think the key to it is variety. We have our normal Sunday games programme, but these sort of competitions that we play in with the Premier League definitely give us certain variety to the challenges that the boys are going to face.
“The games are very short, in an unforgiving format. You could find yourself a goal down early on, and teams could sit against you, making it very difficult to get back into the game.
“I think the success that the boys achieved has been coming though. We’ve competed in similar competitions such as the Eamonn Dolan and the Corey Price Cup, which are a very similar format of twenty-minute games.”
After helping his side succeed in the qualifiers, U12 coach Ben Adams explained about the aims that had been set for the age group this season.
“I think first and foremost our aims are about the development of the players, so ensuring across the season that they go on a journey of improvement and development. Moving forward, the variety of the games programme will continue to help us develop our players, and the competition out in Belgium in December will be an opportunity to expose the players to a whole new learning experience.
“I think for the players to enjoy it first is the most important thing, we want our players to enjoy being a part of the academy and the games programme, and the competitions. They’re still young, still learning and growing, so enjoyment and positive environments are important at this age group.”
The young Bluebirds will travel to Belgium on December 7th, with the tournament taking place over the next three days. City will be joined by Arsenal, Burnley and Sunderland and twelve other sides such as PSG, Anderlecht and Club Brugge, with the teams split into two groups of six.
“I think we can be proud that not only did we achieve success in the tournament, I think we can come away and say that our players are as good as anyone’s even compared with sides like Chelsea. We’ve shown that our players can compete with the best in the country,” Hutton concluded.
Congratulations to our U12 players and the Academy coaching staff on qualifying for this prestigious tournament!
Make sure to keep up to date with all the most recent news via our official Academy Twitter account, @CF11Academy.