Tuesday saw the latest batch of first-year scholars arrive at The New Lawn to sign their first contracts with Forest Green Rovers Academy.
The first years arrived at the ground and underwent medicals and heart scans with the academy’s medical team before signing their scholarships.
They were also given a talk by first team manager Chris Barker, physio Kate Moores and Forest Green’s head of recruitment Richard Hughes.
With FGR Academy, which was given Category Three status last summer, attracting players from further afield than ever before, the teenage prospects were also shown around their new accommodation in Stroud.
Chris Barker, first-team manager, said: “It’s the first day that we have met the first-year scholars ahead of the start of the academy pre-season starting on Monday and it was a great day,”
“Now they are getting to 16, they are moving away from home, training four or five days a week and learning to look after themselves.
“The short term goal is to get them into the Under 18s and playing regularly week-in-week-out, getting stronger and understanding football. With the 15 hours of NVQ courses they do as well, the education off the pitch is as important.
“Overall, we are trying to turn boys into men and see how far we can go with the development of each individual.
“The standard has been raised and hopefully they can rise to that and one day we’ll seem them on The New Lawn pitch.”
One of the eight first-year scholars to sign with the club was 16-year-old Luke Hallet, who had previously been with Premier League side Southampton.
The young striker is looking forward to the next chapter in his career and says the direction that FGR is moving in was a big pull for him.
“It feels great to be here and get it done and I am looking forward to getting started on Monday with this great club,” he said.
“It’s a developing club and that was one of the main attractions because it is good to be part of that journey.
“I was at Southampton before this and that is where I have grown up. It is a big change but it is another step forward and I have a positive outlook heading into this new challenge.”
Everyone at FGR would like to welcome to the club:
You can watch the latest Academy recruits when they take to pre-season against a selection of local teams including Brimscombe and Thrupp and Shortwood United. Full details available HERE.