Imagine the level of excitement come next season when we get to see the youth side of Chelsea playing the Champions League. Well not exactly the same Champions League we are all used to see but a completely different one. I can’t help but be excited as it could well be that this signals a better era for integrating our youth into the first team.
So what exactly is the Next Gen Series?
To start with it can be considered a Champions League tournament for our youth side. The tournament gives a chance for the fans to check out their beloved youth stars and a future hot prospect to look forward to. Next Gen Series made their debut last season which saw Inter Milan beat Ajax in penalty shootouts.
The Format- A total of 24 sides will take part in this season’s Next Gen tournament. The twenty-four clubs are divided into six groups of four, where each club will contest a home and an away fixture against each group member. The top two teams from each group and the four teams finishing 3rd who have amassed the most points will enter the knock-out stages. There will also be 3rd-4th place match as well.
How Chelsea will benefit out of this- The tournament has proven to be a huge success in its first year, providing Europe’s finest youth talent with a solid platform on which to hone their skills in a competitive international environment. After winning the FA Youth cup last season the expectation level from this young Chelsea side will be quite high. More and more Chelsea fans are now looking forward to catch a glimpse of talented youngsters such as Lucas Piazon, U-21 captain Todd Kane and if things go according to plan we might as well get to see our new signing Throgan Hazard as well (1 of the 3 over aged players). The young stars will get to play against the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool who have come up with stars such as Suso and Deulofeu in the recent years.
The tournament will allow our young stars to get a glimpse of what European football is all about. The pressure of playing football away from home and having to deal with the tough pressure of getting results both away and at home. The tournament will help improve their talent and skill from learning from other players and how different their game is. It will help the players help settle in both physically and mentally when called up by the first team coaches.
There are a lot of bright stars to look forward to in this tournament and many who can make a name for themselves with this tournament. The Next Gen is offering an amazing opportunity for the future stars in football and an amazing opportunity for our talented youngsters to make a name for themselves in the footballing world.