Cardiff Met University F.C. and the hunt for European football

Ben Gilmour

In 2016, Cardiff Met University were promoted to the top division of Welsh football, just 16 years after their foundation. It was a first for university football in the Welsh Premier League as the team offered something new to the minnow league often being stormed by professional club The New Saints. In their first season of playing in the Welsh Premier League the team managed to qualify for the Europa League play-offs and what ensued was a tense opportunity to make a European debut.

Cardiff Met University F.C. came into existence in 2000 as ‘Cardiff College of Education F.C.’, playing in the amateur leagues of Wales for their first few years of existence. The rise of the club started in 2011 as they gained two successive promotions into the 2nd division before finally winning promotion to the top league in 2016.

After an incredible debut season not only surviving but qualifying for a Welsh Europa League play-off place, they found themselves facing against Carmarthen Town in a semi-final match. Cardiff Met won the game and suddenly had to win just one more game to gain a place in Europe after playing 4th tier just 5 years prior. They faced a tough game in Welsh Premier League regulars Bangor City who broke the dream as Dean Rittenburg scored in a 1-0 win for the city as they went on to play in the Europa League.

The next season came and with morale high Cardiff Met had managed to finish 6th and secure a place in the Europa League play-offs where they lost out to eventual winners Cefn Druids 1-0.

With us halfway through the 2018-19 Welsh Premier League, Cardiff Met find themselves in a similar position and just one place away from a Europa League play-off spot. Cardiff will be hoping on third time luck as they hunt for a place in the 2019-20 Europa League qualifiers, only time can tell for the up and coming university club.

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