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Simon Church

Born: 10th December 1988 
Nationality: Wales 
Position: Striker 
Royals first team debut: Cardiff 2-0 Reading – 03/01/09 
Appearances: 65(+57) 
Goals: 24 

Church’s story:
Buckinghamshire-born, Church first began his youth career when he joined his hometown club Wycombe Wanderers in their Centre of Excellence aged nine. 

Five years later, the striker came to the attention of our Academy scouts, and at the age of 14. he joined our youth setup and fit right into the reserve side. 

Then on the 6th July 2007, Church signed professionally for the Royals, but was unable to slide his way straight into the first team due to the stiff competition that bargain buy Dave Kitson and the Irish international duo of Shane Long and Kevin Doyle were producing. 

Due to first team opportunities being on-hold, several loan spells were to follow. Starting off with Crewe, the Welshman then moved onto Yeovil before residing with his hometown club Wycombe for the start of the 2008/09 season. 

Upon returning from his loan spell in December, Church was able to make his Royals debut on the 3rd January in our FA Cup fixture away to Cardiff. 

After being introduced as a 74th minute substitute, he then spent the rest of the campaign on loan to Leyton Orient where he scored four times before again returning to Berkshire to play a part role in our Play-off run – starting upfront in place of an injured Kevin Doyle.  

From then on, Church was able to make a more permanent mark in the first team. A regular in the side for the next three seasons thanks to the departure of Kitson and Doyle, the 6ft frontman made 64(+56) appearances over the rest of his stay, finding the net 24 times. 

Beyond the hoops:  
Church was released by the club at the end of the 2012/13 season, going on to sign for Charlton Athletic on a two year deal. 

Alongside stepping out for his country, our former Academy graduate made 44 appearances for the Addicks in his debut season scoring a satisfactory seven goals from the frontline. 

When Charlton welcome the Royals at The Valley in March 2015, Church weaved his way onto the score-sheet against his former employers – 3-2 the final score-line, his goal the difference between the two teams on the night. 

He joined MK Dons in june 2015, making his debut against Rotherham before spending the second half of the season on loan in the SPL with title challengers Aberdeen. 

He played a part in Wales' incredible Euro 2016 campaign, coming off the bench in the semi-final defeat to Portugal. Then on 24th August 2016, Church joined Dutch Eredvisie side Roda JC on a one-year deal for an undisclosed fee.