Chelsea’s Under-18 team finished their 2012-13 league campaign on Friday with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Cobham featuring goals from Dominic Solanke, Connor Hunte and Walter Figueira.
With the second leg of the FA Youth Cup Final against Norwich City looming large on Monday, it was a heavily-changed team selected by Andy Myers, deputising for Adi Viveash, and featured a smattering of schoolboy talent alongside five players who were making their farewell appearances for the club.
Figueira, who netted as a second half substitute, along with Tom Howard, Nortei Nortey, Ismail Seremba and Samuel Bangura, all turned out in blue for the final time before their scholarship contracts expire next month. Having not been offered professional terms to remain at Chelsea, they now depart in search of pastures new.
Seremba is the first and currently only one of the quintet to secure his destination for next season and beyond, having penned an agreement to play football at the University of Akron in the United States. It’s a positive move to make both on and off the field and has a lot of potential for the young winger from North London.
Of the others, both Nortey (especially) and Figueira have spent considerable portions of the last two seasons sidelined through injury, whilst Bangura has had his fair share as well, and Howard’s junior career was riddled with ailments attributed to growth spurts. Only Howard has really played regularly this season, and to his credit he played very well at times, with a goal and three assists in twenty appearances not really telling the story of his smart and effective contributions.
Figueira had trial spells at both Brentford and West Ham United in the first half of the season before suffering another injury, but he will doubtless be pleased to go out on a high with a fine finish to clinch the points against a Crystal Palace team which played well at times before running out of steam later in the game.
Everyone at TheChels wishes the departing players the very best of luck with their careers, and we will certainly be keeping tabs on their progress going forward. They will all certainly be present at Stamford Bridge on Monday night as Chelsea seek to retain the FA Youth Cup by overturning a 1-0 first leg deficit from Carrow Road a fortnight ago.
Tickets are now only available in person or by phone at the Chelsea Ticket Office and go off sale at 4pm on matchday. With over 12,000 sold so far, it promises to be a fantastic night, so don’t miss out!
Chelsea team vs Crystal Palace: Killip, Nortey (Ali), Muleba (c), Bangura, Da Silva, Howard, Cole, Hunte, Seremba, Gnahore (Figueira), Solanke
Subs not Used: J.Beeney, Sammut, Christie-Davies