Youth

U18 Professional Development League: Format explained

6 Oct 2017
U18 Professional Development League: Charlton

Category Two clubs compete in two regional divisions before vying for national title

The Under-18 Professional Development League brings together 21 Category Two Academies in two regional divisions before a national play-off for the honour of being overall champions.

The competition is one academy tier below the Under-18 Premier League, where the 24 Category One academy clubs play, and is split into the North and South Division, with no promotion or relegation.

Teams in U18 Professional Development League have applied for ‘Category Two’ status in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

Currently there are 11 teams in the North Division and ten in the South. Each club plays every team in their regional league twice, once home and once away, and the two top sides from each division go into a play-off for the overall title.

Charlton Athletic were the national champions in 2015/16 after finishing second in the South Division before penalty shoot-out victories over North Division winners Nottingham Forest and runners-up Sheffield United. Sheffield United won the competition in 2016/17 after winning the North Division and the national final against Coventry City. 

Charlton won the national title again in 2017/18, despite finishing as runners-up again in their regional league.

As with the U18 Premier League, only players in the Under-18 category are allowed to play, with the exception of the goalkeeper, who can be in the Under-19 category.

The 11 clubs in the North Division are:
Barnsley, Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Burnley, Crewe Alexandra, Huddersfield Town, Hull City, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday

The 10 clubs in the South Division are:
Bristol City, Cardiff City, Charlton Athletic, Colchester United, Coventry City, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town, Millwall, Queens Park Rangers, Watford

Roll of Honour

2017/18
U18 Professional Development League National Champions: Charlton Athletic
U18 Professional Development League North Division Champions: Leeds United
U18 Professional Development League South Division Champions: Crystal Palace

2016/17
U18 Professional Development League National Champions: Sheffield United
U18 Professional Development League North Division Champions: Sheffield United
U18 Professional Development League South Division Champions: Coventry City

2015/16
U18 Professional Development League National Champions: Charlton Athletic
U18 Professional Development League North Division Champions: Nottingham Forest
U18 Professional Development League South Division Champions: Watford

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