Cambridge United are proud to announce that four academy youngsters have been offered and signed their first professional contracts following the conclusion of their scholarships, committing their immediate future to the Abbey Stadium.
Goalkeeper Finley Iron from Haverhill, defensive midfielder Sam Squire from St Neots and central midfielder Lee Watkins from Oakington, have put pen to paper on one year deals for the 2018/19 season with the U’s.
All three players have been developed through every academy age group at the Club, with Iron joining United as an eight year old, Squire as a seven year old and Watkins arriving at the age of six.
Meanwhile left back Jordan Norville-Williams, who was recruited by the Club’s academy as a first year scholar following his release from Arsenal’s U16s, has signed a two year professional contract with the Football Club.
Cambridge United Head of Football, Ben Strang commented: “This is a great achievement for all four players concerned. This follows the model of the football club, investing in our academy players and providing further developmental opportunities to a talented group of players. Through the continuity of their time at the club they understand and adopt our culture and values. Whilst a notable feat for them, they are all aware that this is purely their next step and that they must continue to work incredibly hard to realise their future ambitions.”
Cambridge United’s Assistant Head Coach Mark Bonner has worked directly with all four players alongside the U’s academy staff during his tenure in charge of the U’s Academy and youth team. He added: “This is reflective of everything the Academy should be about. In three of these players we see locally born youngsters developing on and off the field from their first steps into football to now, and through our continual recruitment process in Jordan’s case, joining us from Arsenal.
“The combination of excellence in recruitment and development is a pivotal aim of our Academy.
“In all four cases we have signed good characters and players who are continually developing. They must now return to pre-season in magnificent condition and relish the challenges and opportunities that senior football brings.
“We look forward to seeing how all four players continue to progress and embrace the challenge alongside a small group of other young professionals, and will work to ensure each individual is catered for in their training and games programme to support them as they strive to maximise their potential.”
Meanwhile, Stevan Shaw and Prince Mutswungama will leave Cambridge United following the completion of their respective scholarships. Bonner Concluded: “Prince and Stevan leave us, but have our ongoing support through their transition into the next chapter of their lives. Having progressed throughout the age groups, they too are embedded in the club, and will leave having had some wonderful experiences.
“We are proud of how they have both developed as players and young men and wish them the very best in their futures.”