Swansea City Under-18s | A Year in Review

31st December 2019
U18s team huddle 16x9

As the year draws to a close, we look back on how 2019 panned out for Swansea City Under-18s.

The 2017-18 season saw the academy side record an impressive sixth-place finish in what was their debut campaign in Premier League South under Jon Grey and Anthony Wright.

The likes of Oli Cooper, Matthew Blake, Joe Lewis and Tom Price all played crucial roles in the success.

However, their subsequent promotions to the under-23s left big shoes to fill and the under-18s were unable to replicate their league form during 2018-19 as they managed just three wins all season – finishing 11th and just one point above bottom club Norwich City.

Nevertheless, the majority of the squad were part of the under-19 side that made history by securing a record-breaking 10th consecutive FAW Youth Cup title, thanks to a 2-1 victory over TNS in the final.

This calendar year was also incredibly pleasing from a development perspective with several players given regular opportunities to appear for the under-23s, including Tivonge Rushesha, Ryan Bevan and Ali Al-Hamadi, as well as first-year scholars Lewis Webb, Scott Butler and Josh Thomas.

This paved the way for multiple 15 and 16-year-olds like midfielder Josh Edwards to make the step-up to under-18 level, as well as 14-year-old defender Kai Ludvigsen.

Throughout 2019, the Swans struggled for results in Premier League South, while they also exited the group stage of the Premier League Cup.

The academy side then bowed out of the FA Youth Cup in round three in December, although they did give a very positive account of themselves in their 3-0 defeat against high-flying Manchester City at the Academy Stadium.

Nevertheless, the Swans endured no such problems in the FAW Youth Cup.

Following comfortable victories over Aberystwyth Town and Merthyr Town, Oli Cooper’s goal was enough to secure a hard-earned 1-0 win over Cardiff City in the semi-finals.

This set up a showdown with TNS at Park Avenue – home of Aberystwyth – with a record-breaking 10th consecutive title at stake.

A timely 6-0 league win over Norwich prior to the showpiece final provided the perfect confidence booster for the Swans, as goals from Thomas and Simon Paulet sealed a 2-1 success.

Striker Thomas was one of 10 players signed to academy scholarships the following summer.

Like goalkeeper Joshua Hutchings, as well as midfielders Jacob Edwards, Michael Murphy and Morgan Clarke, he was previously part of the club’s academy set-up at Landore.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Webb joined the Swans after impressing in first-team action for Merthyr Town the previous season, and defender Butler made the move to SA1 from Wrexham.

Midfielder Erick Kenko also arrived having previously been at Fulham, while defender Panashe Makokowe and midfielder Adnaan Moti joined following their departures from Derby County.

With a clear pathway into the under-23s set-up on offer, there is certainly plenty of cause for optimism for our under-18s as they head into 2020.