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1 July 2016

Young hopefuls pen deals

Six young players have signed as first year apprentices for Pompey.

Jordan Brooks, Matthew Casey, Jack Chandler, Jack Collins, Matt Mayes and Dan Smith – who are all aged 16 – have penned two-year deals with the Blues academy.

Lead professional development phase coach Mikey Harris said: “Some of the boys have been here since they were very young.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work and commitment to get to this point – not just from the players, but from their parents and families as well.

“It’s a great day for all of them and hopefully the start of what will be an extremely positive experience.

“I think everyone’s aware of how difficult it is to become a professional footballer and have a career in the game. This is simply the next step on their journey.

“But it’s not just about the football side of things – there’s also the educational side of the apprenticeship and making sure these boys grow into young men.

“We’ve got a pretty holistic programme and have had some really good results over the past few years.

“I’m not just basing that on how many have made it through to the first team, but also the young men who have come through the system and had success elsewhere.”

We asked the new apprentices to introduce themselves…

Jack Collins
From: Rustington, West Sussex
Position: Goalkeeper
I want to take this apprenticeship opportunity to work hard with the coaches in order for me to progress and enhance my technical skills, and also to gain the relevant academic qualifications. Furthermore, I look forward to experiencing and learning the life of a footballer, and hopefully achieve my ultimate aim of becoming a professional footballer for Portsmouth FC.

Dan Smith
Position: Attacking midfielder
I went to school first in Warsash and then in Hamble. I started at Portsmouth in the development centres at U8s and signed to Portsmouth at U9s. I’m now about to sign my scholarship with Portsmouth and hope to improve as a person and a player and by the end of the two years to have achieved my goal of becoming a professional footballer.

Matthew Casey
Position: Centre-back
I am from Botley and attended Wildern Secondary School. I have been playing centre-back for five years with Portsmouth Academy. From my apprenticeship, I hope to gain more of an understanding of the football working environment, as well as an educational aspect.

Jordan Brooks
From: London
Position: Central midfield
I want to gain a pro contract in order to continue playing for the club I love and help Pompey gain promotion.

Jack Chandler
Position: Right-back
I attended Priory School in Portsmouth and have been at Portsmouth Football Club for three years. I am hoping to become a better and more independent person and achieve my dream of becoming a professional football player.

Matt Mayes
Position: Centre-forward
I was born in Portsmouth in a room overlooking Fratton Park. I now live in Warsash and the primary school I went to was called Hook With Warsash. The secondary school I went to was called Brookfield. I have played for Portsmouth since I was eight. From my apprenticeship, I expect to embrace any opportunity and make myself the best player I can be. 

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