Our Academy staff welcomed our brand new batch of Under-18 scholars – and their families – to an induction day at Madejski Stadium as the talented young footballers take the next step along their journey.
With the aim of following in the footsteps of current first team players Jordan Obita and Liam Kelly, as well as all the names who have gone before them, the young footballers’ two year scholarship with David Dodds' Under-18 squad has now begun in earnest.
As Dodds stated “Today is all about giving the young players and their families an idea of what an apprenticeship entails - we try to explain now that it is a job as opposed to a hobby!
There were a variety of departments presenting throughout the day varying from Sport Science to Psychology, Analysis to Physiotherapy and Education to Safeguarding.
“The academy legacy started a long time ago” continued Dodds “and now Jaap Stam and Brian Tevreden have come in and they are both very supportive and involved in the academy. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the boys.
“Now what we have to do is continue that conveyer belt of young lads for the first team.
“Brian is very hands on with the academy, he comes out and watches training, goes to matches and watches the tapes if he can’t make a game.
"He’s comparing the academy players constantly with what is out there on the transfer market and if we’ve got better options internally he’ll promote them.”
It’s a big step for the young talents and while every year spent at the Academy is transitional, this is arguably one of the biggest steps. They will be taking on a full-time training programme and playing competitive games against their Category 1 counterparts at other pro clubs, as well as combining their football education with their academic studies.
Academy Manager Lee Herron said "Another season has come round very quickly and today we have an opportunity to induct the latest young scholars that will be involved in the under-18 setup. It's very exciting for everyone involved!"
Below is a list of the new scholars for Season 2017/18: