Swans under-18s head to Czech Republic for pre-season tournament
Gary Richards believes Swans-U18s trip to the Czech Republic this week will be a great opportunity for the scholars to develop and prepare for the 2015-16 season in category one football.
The squad fly out to Prague on Wednesday to take part in the annual CEE Cup which includes young teams from across Europe, Australia and Brazil.
The young Swans kick-off the tour in Group D against Macedonian side FC Academy Pandev on Thursday (July 23) with their second group game on Friday (July 24) against Czech side FC Bohemians 1905, before each team progresses to a knock-out phase.
Richards believes the trip and tournament will be a great learning experience, not only for the players but for academy staff too.
“To have this tournament so early in the season is a great opportunity to see where we are at, the trip will be a great benefit to our players as well.” He said
“When we look back at what the tour to South Africa did for the squad earlier in the year, it was a fantastic experience for our young players helping them develop on and off the pitch.
“Working with them each day, we know the lads, but we get to know them even better on tours like this.”
In total ten players have graduated up to Swansea City’s under-18 ranks this season joining seven second year scholars who featured for the team last season.
“We are very excited to see what this season holds for us and how this group of players will develop over the coming year.” Richards said.
“Every game in this competition will be different for us, it will be a tough test which is just what we need at this stage of the season before we start playing category one teams.
“In all we will play four games in Prague and will go out to do as well as we can in the tournament also using the time there train hard ahead of our first game of the season.”
Swans Under-18s kick-off their first season in Premier League South at home (Fairwood) to Leicester City on Saturday, August 8 (KO 12pm)
Swans U18 Squad: Lewis Thomas (GK), Ross Treacy (GK), Liam Cullen, Causso Darame, Mael Davies, Thom Dyson, Liam Edwards, Jack Evans, Kieran Evans, Brandon Griffiths, Sean Hanbury, Daniel Jefferies, Jordan Jones, Ben Jones, Aaron Lewis, Ben Morgan, Connor Quigley, Jack Fox
Keep up to date with the Under-18s' tour of the Czech Republic via the official website, SwansAcademy.co.uk, and through social media via Twitter @swansofficial & @swans_academy and Facebook.