Academy & Under 18s

This season, West Ham United under 18s will be competing in the Barclays U18 Premier League.

The Barclays U18 Premier League replaced the Premier Academy League at the start of last season because of the league aiming to enhance youth development and help transition players between academy and the first team.

Little Heath

Overall, there will be 22 clubs competing in the Barclays U18 Premier League this season, after all the clubs applied for ‘Category One’ status in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). 16 of the clubs competing this season are from the Barclays Premier League, five from the SkyBet Championship and one from the SkyBet League One.

The clubs have been split into two 11 team groups based on regional location; north and south. This is a new format that has been introduced this season.

Each club will play opposing clubs in their own regional group twice, both home and away. Also, clubs will face each opposing club in the other regional group once, either home or away. The season will last for 31 games.

At the end of the season, the top two teams in each regional division will progress onto the semi finals, with the winner of the north group facing the runner up in the south group and vice versa.

Every players taking part in league matches must be from within the U18 age category. Any player over that age category is not permitted to be fielded, with one exception being the goalkeeper who can be from the U19 age category.

West Ham United U18 will take part in the south group alongside Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Fulham, Leicester City, Norwich City, Reading, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.

The 11 clubs competing in the north group are Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Sunderland, Stoke City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

PLEASE NOTE: West Ham U18 home matches will kick-off at 11am at the West Ham United Academy, Little Heath, Hainault Road, Romford, Essex, RM6 5RX unless otherwise stated on the official West Ham website.

Keep an eye on my website, Tommy Wathen – Sports Journalist, for latest news about the West Ham United U18.