The 2019/20 season is upon us and that means a new intake of Chelsea Academy scholars have arrived at Cobham to begin preparations for the new campaign.
Ed Brand is the new Under-18s head coach following Andy Myers's step up to work with the development squad. Formerly a youth team captain as a player, the 32-year old has been coaching in our Academy for 10 years and previously worked with this age group as assistant to Jody Morris during a hugely successful two-year spell between 2016 and 2018. He will be assisted by James Simmonds, another former schoolboy player who has turned his hand to coaching since hanging up his boots and is promoted from Under-16s head coach.
All players in their Under-17 year are required to start the season on a scholarship arrangement, before they are permitted to sign a first professional football contract on or after their 17th birthday. The intake includes eight players who featured for our youth team last term, including midfielders Lewis Bate and Myles Peart-Harris, who made 11 appearances between them.
Assistant head of youth development Jim Fraser provides the lowdown to the official Chelsea website on the 12 new scholars.
Lewis signed for Chelsea as an Under-9 having progressed through our development centre programme. A slight but combative midfield player with an eye for a defence-splitting forward pass, Bate played six times for our Under-18s last season. He has represented England up to Under-17 level, most recently at this year’s European Championship finals.
Lucas is a goalkeeper who signed from Turun Palloseura in his native Finland during the 2018/19 season. At 6’7, he is a very tall and imposing keeper who made his youth team debut in the final game of last season, keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 win at Reading. He has also represented Finland at Under-16 level.
Josh is a defender who joined us last season from Reading. He can play at centre-back or right-back in defence and is a strong, aggressive one-v-one defender who has represented England at Under-16 level.
Levi has been registered with us since the Under-9 age group after signing through our development centre programme. An England Under-16 international who plays mostly at centre-back, he can also slot in on the left as full-back or wing-back, and enjoys stepping forward as a ball-playing defender.
An exciting attacking midfield player who can both score and create, Ben is another player who signed at the age of eight after training at our development centres. Having featured for England Under-16s while still in his Under-15 season, injury kept him sidelined for most of the 2018/19 season, however we look forward to seeing him back on the field very soon.
Joe is a local boy from Ashtead who joined as an Under-10. He plays mostly in central midfield but can also operate wide and enjoys running with the ball and taking on defenders. Equally capable of creating chances or converting them, he has also represented England Under-16s.
Bashir signed for us at the start of his Under-15 season from grassroots football, following a previous spell in the academy programme at Reading. A versatile defender who enjoys playing with the ball at his feet, he is another of the group who has represented England at the Under-16 age group.
Tino is a defender who plays predominantly at right-back or right wing-back, from where he likes to get forward and attack, and is another player who is entering his ninth year at our Academy after signing as an Under-9. The Croydon-born teenager made his UEFA Youth League debut last season, alongside three appearances for our youth team, and has represented England at Under-17 level.
Myles is a central midfielder who made five appearances for the youth team in his Under-16 season, setting up two goals in a 6-0 win over Swansea in February. Another of this year’s intake who has been training at Chelsea since the age of eight, he has also played for England up to Under-17 level.
Dion has been with us for three years after signing from Cambridge United as an Under-14. An adventurous and pacey wide player who can operate on the left or right, he made four appearances for our youth team last season and scored his maiden goal on the final day of the campaign.
Xavier joined us in 2016 from Brentford after the Bees made the decision to close their academy programme. A vocal and tough-tackling midfielder, he captained our Under-16s to Premier League Cup glory last season and made two appearances for the youth team. Simons is also an England Under-16 international.
Charlie joined from Swindon Town in his Under-15 year. A defender who leads from the back with his tough tackling and vocal personality, he made one appearance for our youth team last season on the final day of the campaign.