24 Aug 2017
The U19's league success last season gave them the potential to qualify for the competition should results in other leagues go in their favour. Thirty-two domestic champions from across Europe compete in the competition, with a further thirty-two sides competing in the other side of the draw which mirrors the Champions League draw, and where a youth league domestic champion's senior side also qualify for the main Champions League draw this opens up a place for an additional entry into the domestic champions draw.
Their qualification completes a number of year's hard work in our youth sides, which has been overseen by UCD AFC Head of Youth Recruitment, Albert Sugg, who has played a pivotal role in helping UCD Soccer Club to attract some of the top young talent from across the country to the club.
Last year saw Cork City qualify for the competition, where they overcame HJK Helsinki in the first round before a narrow defeat against Italian giants Roma in the second round saw them eliminated. With a number of the top European sides set to compete in this year's competition, including household names such as Inter Milan, it will give our players an excellent platform to test themselves against some of Europe's top young talent.
It also adds to an already exciting few months ahead for the talented under 19s, with the upcoming Enda McGuill Cup Final against Dundalk FC in late September, as well as recently securing their place in the league quarter finals as they currently sit top of the Southern Division a point ahead of second place Cobh Ramblers with two games left to play.
UEFA have now also officially confirmed the full list of entrants for the coming season's UEFA Youth League. Upon leaning that our place in the draw had been confirmed, we now know of our potential opponents in the first round draw which will take place on Tuesday in the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon.
Interestingly, a potential tie against F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg, who we beat in the Europa League First Qualifying Round in 2015 when we were last in a European Competition, could await us in the first round after they were also confirmed in the draw. Ryan Swan was the hero that time around for our senior side as he scored a goal in each leg to see us progress to the second qualifying round on away goals after the tie finished 2-2 on aggregate.
We will enter the draw in through the Domestic champions path, where the domestic youth champions of the 32 best-ranked associations in the 2016 UEFA association coefficient rankings (the same rankings used to decide access to the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League).
• If a team was eligible for both, they enter the UEFA Champions League path.
• A vacancy in the domestic champions path (including if a club is instead eligible for the UEFA Champions League path, for example Real Madrid) was filled by the domestic youth champion of the next best-ranked association.
• Salzburg won the title last season after starting in the domestic champions path.
• For the first time there are entrants from Albania, Latvia and Luxembourg.
The list of the opponents are:
Internazionale Milano (ITA), Bordeaux (FRA), Krasnodar (RUS), Dynamo Kyiv (UKR), Ajax (NED), Bursaspor (TUR), Sparta Praha (CZE), Dinamo București (ROU), Salzburg (AUT, holders), Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO), Legia Warszawa (POL), Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLR), Hammarby (SWE), Molde (NOR), Maccabi Haifa (ISR), Esbjerg (SWE), Brodarac (SRB), Kairat Almaty (KAZ), Ludogorets (BUL), Nitra (SVK), Budapest Honvéd (HUN), Zimbru Chișinău (MDA), Breidablik (ISL), Saburtalo (GEO), KäPa (FIN), Željezničar (BIH), Vllaznia (ALB), Shkëndija (MKD), UCD (IRL), Liepāja (LVA), Dudelange (LUX), Sutjeska (MNE)
Speaking after learning of his sides qualification for the UEFA Youth League, Maciej Tarnogrodzki expressed his delight and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
"It's an exciting time for the club and most importantly for the players to have a chance to compete with the best players from other countries. We've been training very hard this season with hours put in on the training pitch very similar to the professional academies across Europe. Our season has been good so far and we'll prepare well for the Youth League matches."