Trisha Shetty

Aston Villa Under 23s and Academy

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Nickname(s)  The Villans
Founded  1874
Chairman  Tony Xia
Chairperson  Tony Xia
Aston Villa Under-23s and Academy uploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb115Aston
Full name  Aston Villa Football Club Under-23s & Academy
Ground  Home Stadium: Villa Park Aston Birmingham B6 6HE England Other Stadiums Used: Banks's Stadium Walsall West Midlands WS1 4SA England
Ground Capacity  Villa Park: 42,585 Banks's Stadium: 11,300
2015-16  4th, Division 2 (Play-off finalists)
League  Professional Development League

The Aston Villa Under-23, formerly Aston Villa Under-21 and Aston Villa Reserves, are the most senior youth development team of Aston Villa and compete in Premier League 2 (Division 2) of the Professional Development League and the Premier League International Cup in the 2016–17 season. The team were part of the FA Premier Reserve League since its foundation in 1999 and were winners of the 2011-12 Premier Reserve League South title, the last in that format. The team plays its home games at Villa Park and Bescot Stadium (home of Walsall F.C.). Aston Villa also have an academy side that competes in the Under-18 division of the Professional Development League and the FA Youth Cup annually.


The side has been successful in recent years, as well as becoming national champions in the 2003–04 and 2009–10 seasons, the team also clinched four out of five Southern Championships between 2007 and 2012, before the format changed to the Professional Development League. The side also won the NextGen Series in 2013, a Europe-wide tournament for elite academies.

Current first-teamers Gabriel Agbonlahor, Nathan Baker, Gary Gardner, André Green and Jack Grealish all came through the youth system at the club, as well as former players Ciaran Clark, Gary Cahill, Gareth Barry, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Darius Vassell, Craig Gardner, Marc Albrighton, Andreas Weimann and Steven Davis amongst many others. The Villa academy also developed England and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge and Arsenal midfielder Daniel Crowley. The U23 team is primarily made up of players under the age of 23, although three over-age outfield players and an over-age goalkeeper may be named in a matchday squad. These may include fringe first-team players and first-team players recovering from injury.


The origins of the team date back to 1892, when Aston Villa Reserves joined the Birmingham & District League. After finishing in the runners-up position twice in the first 2 seasons of the competition, Villa finally won their first trophy in the 1894–95 season, winning 26 out of 30 league games and losing just once all season. Several titles followed after this achievement, including a run of 8 consecutive titles between 1902 and 1910. When Villa finally left the Birmingham & District League in 1915, they had accumulated a total of 12 league titles and 6 runners-up finishes.

After that, the reserve team played in the Central League for many years, becoming champions in 1929–30, 1963–64 and 1992–93.

In 1999–2000, the FA Premier Reserve League was set up, Villa were one of the founding members, and were split into the Northern section of the league. Three disappointing seasons followed, however in the 2003–04 season, inspired by brothers Stefan Moore and Luke Moore, Villa eased to their first title. In the two seasons which followed (2004–05 and 2005–06), Villa agonisingly finished both campaigns as runners-up, both times to Manchester United. In the 2006–07 season, for the first time since its introduction, the FA Premier Reserve League excluded Coca-Cola Championship teams from playing in the league, with the 20 senior English Premiership teams parallelling the teams involved in the FA Premier League. This also meant that due to geographical circumstances, Aston Villa Reserves were switched from the Northern Division, to the Southern equivalent, for the first time since the start of the original format in 1999. Villa eventually finished 4th - winning 9 out of their 18 games, with Luke Moore the top goalscorer, with 7. The season saw the impressive development of several youngsters, most notably including Zoltán Stieber, Shane Lowry and Stephen O'Halloran, all of which were rewarded with first-team opportunities in the pre-season fixtures, prior to the 2007–08 season.

Inspired by Swedish striker Tobias Mikaelsson, Aston Villa Reserves clinched the 2007–08 Southern title, their second regional success since the inception of the league in 1999. However, they were beaten 3-0 in the Play-Off Final by Northern champions Liverpool.

In the 2008–09 season, the team went one better by securing their second consecutive Southern title, and then defeating Sunderland to claim their first ever national title, with goals from Nathan Delfouneso, James Collins and Shane Lowry.

Andreas Weimann netted nine goals, to help Villa keep up their trend of securing the Southern title - their third on the trot - in the 2009–10 season. This included a remarkable 15-game unbeaten streak, running from the opening game of the campaign, all the way through to the last game of the season against Portsmouth. However, the club were denied a second consecutive national title, as they were beaten on penalties by Manchester United, after a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford.

The 2010–11 season saw changes to the standard format of the league. Only 16 clubs competed, which meant a split between the top heavy Northern league. Undoubtedly the highlight of the season, was a 10-1 home victory over Arsenal at the Greene King Stadium, en route to finishing third in the league.

Following changes arrived in the 2011–12 season. Three leagues were abolished, returning to two, whilst each team played the teams in their own league home and away. They also played each team in the regional league once, with home and away games split evenly. More success followed however, as Villa picked up another Southern title, with Andreas Weimann scoring nine times during the course of the season. It was a case of deja vu however, as they were again beaten on penalties by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Premier Reserve League was abolished during the summer of 2012, to make way for the Professional Development League 1. Aston Villa will be one of 22 clubs to take part in the inaugural season, participating in Group 2 of the competition.

During the 13-year tenure of the original Reserve system, Aston Villa were the second most successful club - behind Manchester United - with five regional titles and one national title. The U23 team currently play their home matches at Villa Park and Bescot Stadium, home ground of Walsall F.C.. The Academy team play their home matches at Bodymoor Heath.

Hong Kong Soccer Sevens

The yearly invitational seven-a-side Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament brings together leading youth sides from around the world, and has brought notable success to Aston Villa's in the past - with a squad of reserve and youth players fielded annually for the event for over a decade. Villa have won the tournament five times, more than any other team.

Villa won the third HK Soccer Sevens tournament in 2002, defeating Arsenal in the final, they went on to defend their title in 2004 (as the 2003 competition was cancelled due to the SARS outbreak), inspired by Stephen Cooke and Steven Foley they clinched the trophy in the final against Manchester United. Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor captained Villa to the semi-final in 2006 - losing to the eventual winners Urawa Red Diamonds - and also received the 'Player Of The Tournament' accolade. Villa won the competition again in May 2010, beating Central Coast Mariners of Australia in the final.


As of 23 January 2017.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Reserve, U21 & U23 Honours

Birmingham & District League

  • Winners:
  • 1894/95, 1895/96, 1899/00, 1902/03, 1903/04, 1904/05, 1905/06, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1908/09, 1909/10, 1911/12.
  • Runners-Up:
  • 1892/93, 1893/94, 1897/98, 1898/99, 1900/01, 1910/11.
  • Birmingham Senior Cup

  • Winners:
  • 1879/80, 1881/82, 1882/83, 1883/84, 1884/85, 1887/88, 1888/89, 1889/90, 1890/91, 1895/96, 1898/99, 1902/03, 1903/04, 1905/06, 1907/08, 1908/09, 1909/10, 1911/12, 1984/85.
  • Runners-Up:
  • 1875/76, 1880/81, 1892/93, 1894/95, 1900/01, 1901/02, 1923/24, 1982/83, 1994/95, 1995/96.
  • FA Premier Reserve League North

  • Winners:
  • 2003/04.
  • Runners-Up:
  • 2004/05, 2005/06.
  • FA Premier Reserve League South

  • Winners:
  • 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2011/12
  • FA Premier Reserve League

  • Winners:
  • 2008/09.
  • Runners-Up:
  • 2007/08, 2009/10, 2011/12.
  • HKFC International Soccer Sevens

  • Winners:
  • 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2016
  • Aston Villa Academy

    Aston Villa Academy is the youth development system of Premier League team Aston Villa, it fields an under-18s team in the U18 Professional Development League 1 (South Division). Until 2012 the team competed in Group B of the now defunct FA Premier Academy League.

    In the 2009/10 season Villa clinched top spot in Group B of the Premier Academy League, impressively notching the most wins (22), most points (68) and most goals (84) of all 41 clubs involved. Villa's youngsters were drawn against Group A winners Arsenal in the semi-final, which was won via a single strike from Nathan Delfouneso. This subsequently meant a final against FA Youth Cup winners Manchester City, which was comprehensively won 2-0, with goals from James Collins and Chris Herd. The top scorers for the season were Irish striker James Collins (23), Austrian striker Andreas Weimann (16) and English striker Nathan Delfouneso (15).The 2008/09 season was less fruitful for Villa's youngsters, as they finished 3rd in Group B, and were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at the first hurdle, losing in the Third Round to eventual champions Arsenal.

    Villa's youth team has a strong history in the FA Youth Cup with wins in 1972, 1980 and 2002. More recently, Villa also reached the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup in 2004, eventually being knocked out by eventual runners-up Chelsea.

    The Aston Villa Academy played in both seasons of the now defunct NextGen Series, a tournament for Europe's elite football academies between 2011 and 2013. The team was composed of under-18s with up to three under-19s in each matchday squad. Having made the quarter-finals in the 2011-12 Series, the academy side captained by Samir Carruthers won the final of the 2012-13 tournament on 1 April 2013 beating Chelsea 2–0, at the Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia, in Como, Italy.

    The team train at Bodymoor Heath in North Warwickshire and also play their home matches there on weekends.

    Academy squad

    As of 6 January 2017.

    Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

    Academy Honours

    NextGen Series

  • Winners:
  • 2012–13
  • FA Youth Cup

  • Winners:
  • 1972, 1980, 2002
  • Runners-Up:
  • 1978, 2004
  • FA Premier Academy League U17s

  • Winners:
  • 2003–04
  • FA Premier Academy League U18s: Group B

  • Winners:
  • 2007–08
  • 2010–11
  • FA Premier Academy League U18s: Play-Offs

  • Winners:
  • 2007–08
  • Runners-Up:
  • 2007
  • Staff

  • Academy Manager: Sean Kimberley
  • Academy Head of Coaching: Brian Eastick
  • Assistant Academy Manager: Sean Verity
  • U23 Coach: Mark Delaney
  • U23 Coach: Kevin MacDonald
  • U18 Coach: David Hughes
  • Academy Coach: Peter Saunders
  • Academy Coach: Tom Evans
  • Academy Coach: Dan Bolas
  • Academy Goalkeeping Coach: Ronnie Sinclair
  • Head of Education and Welfare: Paul Brackwell
  • Notable Academy Graduates

    The following players have all been members of the Aston Villa academy for at least one full season and have either made at least one appearance for the first team in professional competition, have gone on to play for a fully professional team or have represented their national team. Players in bold are still contracted to the club.


    Aston Villa Under-23s and Academy Wikipedia

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