Youth team players Joe Hanks and Ed Williams have been offered professional contracts at Cheltenham Town.Youth prospects Joe Hanks and Ed Williams have been offered professional deals with Cheltenham Town FC.
Joe, 18, is a central midfielder and has been around the first team all season and made his professional debut as a substitute in the 3-0 win over Exeter earlier in the season. Ed, 17, is a striker and has been in solid goal scoring form for the youth team this season. Both players are local with Joe coming from Churchdown in Gloucester and Ed is from Cheltenham.
The second year scholars all held meetings at the training ground yesterday afternoon in which they found out whether they would be handed a professional deal or not here at Cheltenham Town. Both players, who have been with the academy system throughout their young careers, have been offered professional terms with the Robins and will now be given time to decide.
The other five second year scholars, Michael Gonzalo, Keiran Thomas, Owen Donaghue, Dale Reaney and Lewis Morana will all leave the club at the end of this season and we wish them all the best for their future careers.
Director John Murphy oversees the youth academy alongside Russell Milton and he told www.ctfc.com that the progress of both players was testament to the new structure of the academy but he also paid tribute to former Academy manager, John Brough.
"I think we must bear testimony to work John Brough did in recent years with the youth structure," he said.
"He put a lot of work in to make it a solid structure and that structure is now beginning to bear dividends with Russell Milton taking it on. We are hoping that this is just the start in the sense that we have had a pretty lean period over the last few years and it is good news that we have been able to offer contracts to two local boys. We probably have the strongest set of first year boys that we have had for a long time.
"The realistic ambition is that the academy does well financially but that we also end up with boys playing in the first team."
Former youth players that have made the grade at first team level over the years include players such as Mike & Shane Duff, Andy Gallinagh and Dave Bird but there is a lot of hope that Joe Hanks and Ed Williams can also pursue a role in the first team.
This news offers a fresh boost to the Academy which is currently chasing it's Level 3 status and the club have made their intentions clear with investment into it's youth policy at all age groups.
"This is a big boost because the Level 3 status is very complex and it's a lot of hard work for a lot of people," said John.
"This is testimony to the entire structure bearing in mind that these boys are starting at under 8 and, if there's no ultimate gain at the top end, then a lot of our youngsters won't be able to see the light. This is excellent news because it means that the boys coming through at ages 8, 9, 10 and 11 can see the opportunities coming out at the end.
"This is in line with the business we put in place and the news couldn't be better for the Academy and the entire club."
If you are interested in the Cheltenham Town youth academy, and would like more information, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ctfcyd.com.