Pro deals for Academy graduates
Uche is a formidable striker who finished the season as the country's top scorer at Academy level, bagging an incredible 28 goals in 28 appearances. In midfield, Shepherd is a talented wideman who according to Assistant Academy Manager David Dodds "can go past defenders without thinking about it", whilst Conor is a towering Irish player who joined the Royals Academy in 2012 after a successful trial amid interest from several other clubs. He has represented Republic of Ireland at u15 level, scoring a wonder goal against the Quatari Aspire Academy in 2010.
And in defence - centre half Jake Cooper towers in at 6ft 4, is very strong in the air but also composed with the ball at his feet, whilst Niall Keown is a right-back who joined the Academy late, in 2011, and went almost straight in to the U18s team. Niall is the son of former Royal, Martin, who played regularly for both Arsenal and England. Fellow full back Sean Long signed for the Royals from renowned Irish youth outfit Cherry Orchard in the summer of 2012, and showed great potential in our fantastic run to the Academy Premier League final.
Finally our two young goalkeepers continue our tradition of fine shot stopper at Hogwood Park; Dan is a confident and agile 'keeper has previously spent time out on loan with Oxford United and has been at the Academy since 2003, whilst Stuart signed from Portsmouth in 2011 as a first year scholar before spending a successful spell on loan at non-league side Southern Football League side Hungerford Town.