Takamado U-18 Premier League kicks off

Takamado U-18 Premier League kicks off

Japan’s elite Under-18 competition opened at the weekend with the start of the 2016 Prince Takamado Trophy U-18 Premier League.

14 MEIJI YASUDA J1 and J2 League youth sides are taking part in this year’s edition, including last year’s winners Kashima Antlers and runners-up Gamba Osaka.

They are joined by six of Japan’s top high school programs, including this year’s All Japan High School Soccer Tournament winners Higashi Fukuoka and 2011 champions Ichiritsu Funabashi.

The 20 teams are divided into East and West conferences and will take part in round robin home-and-away play before the conference winners meet in a one-legged championship on December 17.