About the development squad
Chelsea's development squad is part of the development process for young players at the club.
The development squad replaces the previous Under-21s following age rule changes to the programme for the 2016/17 season. The team compete in Premier League 2, an Under-23 league that replaces the previous Under-21 Premier League. The league is split into a first and second division, with promotion and relegation between the two.
The Blues compete in Division 1, where teams face each other twice both at home and away, with the bottom two in the league relegated to Division Two. The league also has provisions for three 'over-age' outfield players and one 'over-age' goalkeeper to be fielded in each starting line-up.
Rather than seasoned professionals not currently selected for the first team, the development squad will continue to follow the principles of the Under-21s and is more likely to feature young players looking to press for a first team breakthrough or a chance to gain experience on loan with a lower division club.
However, the 'over-age' provisions do allow for first team squad members to be given outings, especially when coming back from injury or in need of match fitness.
Players who have done well in the youth team will be given the chance to test themselves against older opposition while still eligible to play for both sides.
Consequently, the development squad is judged on individual performances rather than results as the club looks to nurture future stars - although the development of a winning mentality is encouraged.
We will also compete in the Checkatrade Trophy once again in 2017/18, alongside the senior teams from the 48 League One and League Two clubs. Following a trial season last term in which 16 Category One development teams were invited to participate in an initial regionalised group stage, the format has now been altered on a permanent basis.
Development teams are required to field a minimum of six ‘Under-21’ players in their starting team. In the event of a group game finishing in a draw, a penalty shootout will be held whereby the victors can earn an additional point. Each team faces each other once before the top two progress to the knockout round.
DEVELOPMENT SQUAD GAMES
A selection of home games are at Stamford Bridge or the Cobham training ground but the majority are at:
Aldershot Town Football Club
Electrical Services Stadium
For games at Aldershot, Chelsea season ticket holders and Aldershot season ticket holders enjoy free entry on production of their tickets. All other spectators are £3 adults and £1 seniors and juniors.
Please note: No spectators will be admitted for any development squad or Under-18s fixtures at the Cobham training ground.