In professional sports, a reserve team is a team composed of players under contract to a specific team but who do not normally appear on the team's roster during matches. Reserve teams are most commonly seen in association football, and are usually composed of young players who need playing time in order to improve their skills, as well as members of the first team recovering from injury.
- 1 History
- 2 Criticism and support
- 3 Reserve teams in Spain
- 4 Reserve teams in South Korea
- 5 Reserve teams in Japan
- 6 Reserve teams in Norway
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Reserve teams usually consist of a combination of emerging youth players and first-team squad players. These teams are distinct from a club's youth team, which usually consists of players under a certain age and plays in an age-specific league. In England, Argentina and the United States the term reserve is commonly used to describe these teams. In Germany and Austria the terms Amateure or II is used, while B team is used in the Spanish football league system, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Portugal. In the Netherlands and Norway these teams are distinguished by a 2. In England reserve teams of league clubs play in completely separate leagues and competitions such as the FA Premier Reserve League or the Central League, although further down the pyramid, reserve clubs feature in the same system as their parent clubs and can be promoted through the system. They cannot usually play in the same division as their parent team.
However, in other countries, reserve teams play in the same football pyramid as their senior team and have competed in the national cup competitions. In Spain this has seen the reserve team of CD Málaga change identity and play in La Liga while Castilla CF, the reserve team of Real Madrid, reached the Copa del Rey final, qualified for the European Cup Winners' Cup and won the Segunda División.
In Germany, Hertha BSC II, the reserve team of Hertha Berlin, reached the 1992–93 DFB-Pokal final after their first team were eliminated in the quarter finals. They lost the final 1–0 to Bayer Leverkusen. In the German football league system, however, reserve teams are not allowed to be promoted above the 3. Liga and from 2008–09 will not be allowed to play in the cup competition to serve the non-reserve team's interests. In the 2003–04 season, Bayern Munich's reserve team won the Regionalliga Süd, a semi-professional league then in the third tier of German football (now the fourth), finishing nine points clear of the second-placed FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt. Due to the rule which prohibits one club from having two teams in fully professional leagues, the third-placed 1. FC Saarbrücken was promoted to the Second Bundesliga instead.
Criticism and support
Having reserve teams play within the league system rather than a separate reserve league is a contentious issue. The majority of lower league clubs claim that they lose money as reserve side have low attendances and virtually no traveling support. In the 2010–11 German season 3.Liga Bayern Munich II (whose parent club is one of the most popular in the country) average under 1,000 fans, with this propped up by traveling fans of other clubs. In the same season Dynamo Dresden average gates of over 16,000. It is also claimed that the barring of the sides from being promoted to their parent teams league or automatic relegation if their 'A' side is relegated makes a mockery of the season that the reserve side had just competed in.
However there is support for the incorporated system with managers claiming it gives better competition for younger players, allowing them to play in front of larger crowds and play against older, more experienced players. Feyenoord of the Netherlands are currently experiencing financial problems and it has been claimed by their chairman that the club could fold and take the license of Excelsior who had acted as a farm club in the past. This would be similar to CD Málaga reforming through its reserve side CF Málaga. Although this in itself has its critics with claims of clubs bending the rules.
Reserve teams in Spain
Unlike the Premier League in England which has its own reserve league and academy league, reserve teams in Spain play in the same league pyramid as their parent club but may not play in the same division.
In 1951–52 CD Mestalla, the reserve team of Valencia CF, won the Segunda División promotion play-off but were denied promotion because their senior team was already in the Primera División. The following season CD España Industrial, the reserve team of FC Barcelona, also finished as runners-up in the same play-off but were similarly denied. However after winning another promotion play-off in 1956 CD España Industrial, separated from FC Barcelona and were renamed CD Condal. The club were now able to be promoted to the Primera División. However they survived only one season and were relegated in 1957. In 1968 the club rejoined the FC Barcelona family as the reserve team and eventually evolved into FC Barcelona B.
In 1983–84 Castilla CF and Bilbao Athletic, the reserve teams of Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao respectively, finished as winners and runners-up of the Segunda División. Castilla CF, Bilbao Athletic and Atlético Madrid B finished third in 1987–88, 1989–90 and 1998–99 respectively. In normal circumstances these teams would have all been promoted except for the fact that their senior team was already in the Primera División.
Castilla CF in Copa del Rey
In 1980 Castilla CF also reached the Copa del Rey final and qualified for the European Cup Winners' Cup. During their cup run they beat four Primera División teams including Hércules CF, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Sporting de Gijón. The latter two eventually finished second and third in the Primera División. In the final they played Real Madrid but lost 6–1. However because Real also won La Liga, Castilla CF qualified for European Cup Winners' Cup. Despite beating West Ham United 3–1 in the opening game at the Bernabéu, they lost the return 5–1 and went out in the first round.
Another interesting case is that of Málaga CF. The club was originally formed in 1948 as Atlético Malagueño, the reserve team of CD Málaga. In 1992 the latter club was disbanded and two years later Atlético Malagueño were relaunched as Málaga CF. They were eventually promoted to the Primera División in 1999. In 2006 they were relegated to the Segunda División which led to Málaga CF B being relegated to the Segunda División B.
Reserve teams in South Korea
Reserve teams in Japan
Japan Soccer League Reserve Teams
These teams were never promoted to the top flight due to their senior squad's presence there.
- Toyo Industries/Mazda: Mazda Auto Hiroshima
- Furukawa Electric: Furukawa Electric Chiba
- Yomiuri Soccer Club: Yomiuri S.C. Juniors
- Yanmar Diesel: Yanmar Club
Reserve clubs were usually localized in the same city as their senior team and should not be confused with clubs from sister companies within a keiretsu or otherwise, which were separate clubs competing for the same championships. An example is Toyota Automated Loom Works, founding member of the JSL in 1965, later relegated and now competing in the Aichi Prefecture league, and Toyota Motors, now known as Nagoya Grampus, founding member and mainstay of the J. League.
J. League Reserve Teams Today
Most J. League reserve teams these days are in the corresponding regional league. The most successful is JEF United Ichihara Chiba Reserves, who compete in the national third division, the Japan Football League. (Furukawa Electric Chiba still exists but is no longer affiliated with the JEF club.)
Reserve teams in Norway
- Regionalliga Süd 2003–04 - final standings