HARRY DARLING SIGNS THREE YEAR PROFESSIONAL CONTRACT WITH U'S
Cambridge United are delighted to announce that 17-year old defender Harry Darling has signed his first professional contract with the club by committing his future to the U's until June 2019.
Living in Burwell and a student of Bottisham Village College, Darling first joined the U's Academy at Under 13's level.
The following year, Harry decided not to continue in the Academy but returned to Cambridge United's youth system at 16 years old, being selected for our Shadow Scholarship while playing for Newmarket Town.
He was due to start in this scheme, delivered in conjunction with Cambridge Regional College, but a number of impressive pre-season performances with the Youth Team earned him the offer of a full-time Academy scholarship.
Darling gained valuable experience as a member of the travelling first team squad that toured Holland/Germany in July and featured heavily throughout the U's pre-season schedule ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.
More recently, the 17-year old centre back has played a key role in Cambridge United U18's strong start to the Youth Alliance League season, captaining the team and producing a string of impressive performances.
Cambridge United Academy Manager Mark Bonner commented: "Harry has made huge strides in the past 15 months since the beginning of his scholarship and it is a real credit to him that the Football Club is backing his potential.
"Harry has so much development left in his game both technically and tactically and is still a long way from fulfilling his physical potential, but he has an enthusiasm and drive which will propel him towards his desired target."
Meanwhile Cambridge United CEO Jez George added: "We are absolutely delighted that Harry has signed his first professional contract. His story shows the value of our extensive and multi layered youth system.
"It is credit to this structure that Harry has been able to develop at his own pace and still achieve the aim of every player within our Academy so soon after starting his scholarship. In 15 months, Harry has progressed from starting a Shadow Scholarship at CRC to signing his first professional contract, which is great credit to him and all the coaches.
"We have a huge amount of talent across the whole Academy, including the Youth Team, and we have a genuine expectation that Harry is one of many young players with the potential to progress into the first team at Cambridge United. This is an absolute aim of the club."