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Grecians hand six young starlets professional terms for next season

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 18, 2012

Jamie Reid (right) is one of six players to have been offered professional terms by Exeter City for next season picture: MATT AUSTIN

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Exeter City have awarded professional contracts to six of their current Under-18 squad for the 2012-13 campaign, while two others have been given a chance to further their development after suffering long-term injuries this year.

Striker Jamie Reid, winger Jake Gosling, defenders Jordan Moore-Taylor and Jacob Wannell and midfielders Jacob Cane and Ollie Knowles will all join Paul Tisdale's first-team squad for next season, along with midfielders Jamie Micklewright and Luke Roper, who missed almost all of this season with injuries.

Six of the club's current first-team squad – Liam Sercombe, Chris Shephard, Scot Bennett, Elliot Frear, Aaron Dawson and Tom Nichols – are home-grown youngsters, which underlines the Grecians' commitment to youth.

"We are delighted to be able to congratulate those who have been offered professional contracts," Exeter's head of youth, Simon Hayward, said. "The majority of those boys have been with us through our system from the under-nine age group and have now spent ten years with the club.

"Thanks to the boys and parents for the efforts they've put in over the last ten years, and also to the centre of excellence coaches that have worked with them through the system. A lot of thanks and credit has to go to [coach] Kwame Ampadu for the work he has done in the last two years working with them on a daily basis."

It is the highest number of youth graduates to be offered professional terms by Exeter, and is a reflection of the success the youth team have had this season.

They are currently third in the South West Conference of the Football League Youth Alliance and have reached the final of the Youth Alliance Cup, in which they will face Doncaster Rovers at St James' Park on Tuesday, May 1 (7pm).

"The Under-18s this year have probably been the best we've ever had," Hayward said. "While it's great as a team that they've got good results, they've gone and performed on a Saturday, week in, week out. They've scored by far more goals than anyone else in our league and have worked themselves through to the national cup final.

"If you want to see what is hopefully the next group of stars in our first team, then you can see them play in the cup final, but the real success comes when individuals get offered professional contracts, and that is far more important than the team's success."

Hayward added: "I'm delighted for the team and delighted for the way they've played football this year, and more than that I'm delighted that so many of these lads are going to have an opportunity to make a career in professional football, hopefully in our first team at Exeter City."

One player who will not be kept on is goalkeeper Jake Viney. Hayward said: "Jake is a bright young man and a great character who has always worked very hard.

"He has always put the effort in and I couldn't really have asked much more of him. He has just fallen a little short in terms of the level required.

"We think he's a great lad who has been with us all the way through the system and we wish him all the best."

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