Scholars enjoy first day as under 18s report back at Oxford United
Eight new scholars took a very important step in their Oxford United careers today as they reported to the Kassam Stadium.
The young footballers will enjoy a two year scholarship with the U’s before hopefully stepping up to the professional ranks, following in the footsteps of James Roberts, Sam Humphreys and Josh Ashby this season.
Five of the players make the step up from last season’s under 16s: Centre-back Cian McCormack, midfielders Seth Humphries, and Kieran Andrews and forwards George Jeacock and Luke Hastings. Defender Drew Ricketts joins from Walsall while right-back Miles Welch-Hayes and midfielder Lewis Hayden have been offered the opportunity after impressing in last season’s under 17 Academy side.
They join second year scholars Eddie Cavanagh, Freddie Grant, Robbie Cundy, AJ George and Muctaru Conte in a new look squad, under the guidance of Chris Allen.
“It’s an exciting day for all of them” Chris told us. “They are within touching distance of being professional footballers but now they have to work harder than ever before to impress us over the next two years. It’s about ability and desire but also about attitude, intelligence and having that bit of self-belief to push on.”
This year will see the under-18 side and Youth Development Squad working closer together than previously. Chris explained:
“We have the eight new scholars and the five second years and they will train and work alongside the Youth Development side, who play on a Wednesday. Miles and Lewis were in that group last year and did ever so well and have earned their scholarship. Sometimes players develop at different rates so the YDS side allows us to monitor one or two promising players and hopefully see them pushing for a scholarship next season.
“It means we have a bigger squad to choose from and we are looking for players to move up into the Under-21 Development side. Every single one of them now has a wonderful opportunity to make their dreams come true and become professional footballers.”