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Emma Jolliffe

Emma Jolliffe writes

Posted Thursday, May 2nd 2019

Under-18s look back on season of progress

This season has been a busy one for the Under-18s, with highlights including international call-ups, a trip to Monaco and a progression on last season’s league points total.

The young Robins finished in the U18 Professional Development League on 35 points, six more than in 2017/18, over a total of 28 fixtures.

In additional to the league, they enjoyed friendlies against non-league teams such Bath City, Weston-super-Mare and others. These fixtures gave the players and staff different challenges than the Academy games programme and have helped cement the strong relationships between City and other local teams.

Back in October, the boys had an excellent opportunity when they travelled to France to play AS Monaco at their impressive La Turbie training ground.

In December the squad exited the FA Youth Cup after losing to Crewe Alexandra in the third round but despite the score there were some outstanding individual performances and the game gave some of the boys their first chance to play at Ashton Gate, under the lights in a competitive fixture.

There was also the chance for Sam Pearson to see the first team in action, when he was called up to the bench for City's Emirates FA Cup fixture v Huddersfield back in January.

Meanwhile every Under-18 player has been named in City's Under-23 team at some point this season and, in turn, this has allowed ten Under-16s and one Under-15 to play up for the Academy's Under-18 side.

Building on the success of the club's loans system and working with club legend Brian Tinnion, 15 Under-18 players have been out on work experience with various teams in the South West. The boys have impressed at clubs across the football pyramid, from Bath City to Ashton & Backwell and gained vital experience of playing competitive men’s football.

They've made a name for themselves on the international stage too, with four Wales youngsters having represented their country: Joe Low, Barney Soady, Sam Pearson and Callum Pearson. Jamie Taylor has also been selected for an upcoming Wales U19 training camp.

But it is about progression off the pitch as much as on the field and all the players have been through a life-skills programme which helps with their holistic development as young people.

This culminates this Sunday (May 5th) with the Academy players and staff taking part on the Bristol 10k on behalf of the club's charity partner, Children's Hospice South West (CHSW).

Good luck to the runners and well done on another brilliant season.

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