Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that it will be participating in next season’s ‘NextGen Series’, the elite European youth competition.
The tournament, which proved to be a huge success in its first season, is an exciting youth competition which features the next generation of world-class players who have been trained and nurtured by 24 of the greatest clubs in Europe.
The Gunners join Olympiacos, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea as the fourth new club to sign up for the second season of the Series.
The NextGen Series is an Under-19s competition with three squad members able to be over this age limit. It gives players and their clubs the chance to take part in a challenging six-month international competition, commencing with a group stage and culminating in a one-off final in March 2013 to win the NextGen Series trophy.
The winners of the inaugural NextGen Series were Inter Milan, who beat Ajax on penalties in the final played in March at Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium in London.
The NextGen Series starts again in August, and Arsenal will join famous clubs such as Barcelona, Inter Milan, Ajax, Sporting Lisbon, Olympique Marseille and Celtic, as well as English clubs Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said: “We are excited about joining the NextGen Series next season. It’s a very good challenge to confront yourselves with the best young players in Europe.
"We have spoken to Inter Milan, who practiced at our training ground ahead of a NextGen match, and they said their players improved tremendously through the season because of the quality of the competition.
"You play against the best players of your age and it will be a very interesting experience for us. It’s also a good way to assess your players and to give you an idea of the future potential of the Club.”
Head of Youth Development at Arsenal, Liam Brady said: “We are delighted to be involved in the NextGen Series and are looking forward to participating in the competition. It will provide our young players with fantastic experience against high-quality opposition from around Europe.
"We always try to give our young players wider experience through participating in international tournaments, but NextGen takes this to the next level. We watched NextGen this season with great interest and the standard of competition was very high and will therefore offer a good challenge to our young players.”
Commenting on Arsenal’s participation in next season’s NextGen Series, Justin Andrews, the tournament’s co-founder said: “Arsenal have one of the finest youth academies in the world, it is brilliant news to be adding them to the list of Europe’s most distinguished clubs. We are very excited to be taking NextGen into its second year and hope to continue with the success of the inaugural season.