Cambridge United are pleased to today confirm that Academy products Lewis Simper and Tom Dickens have both penned two and a half year contracts, with the exciting talents committing their future at the Abbey Stadium until 2022.
Central midfielder Simper, 18, joined the U's academy at the age of six having been spotted at his local Ely Development centre and has since shone during his progression through every age category of Cambridge United's youth system. During his scholarship with the Club, he has been a regular goalscorer from midfield for the Youth Team, with a number of his most spectacular efforts earning nominations in the LFE Goal of the Month Award.
Like Simper, 18-year old defender Tom Dickens also joined the U's having been picked up at Ely Development Centre, where he moved straight into the Club's Academy at the age of seven. Raised locally in Soham, Dickens has also developed through every age category and has been an ever-present for the Youth Team during his scholarship. Last year, he was named in the LFE 11 which acknowledged his excellent level of work on and off the field, including his academic progress through the scholar's education programme.
With the pair now putting pen to paper on their first professional deals, both will join Colin Calderwood's first team squad at the conclusion of their scholarships having already participated in first team training and been named on the bench to supplement first team squads during the current campaign.
Cambridge United Academy Manager Tom Pell commented: "Firstly, I want to congratulate both Lewis and Tom on what is an excellent start to hopefully two long careers in the professional game. I would also like to thank their parents for the endless miles clocked up, taking them to and from training and fixtures over the years, and hope this is reward for their commitment to their son's development.
"Player's respective journeys can be very different, but to have two promising youngsters develop all the way through our scheme from such a young age is very satisfying for all the staff that have played a small part in their development.
"Both Lewis and Tom are fully aware of how hard they need to work and what improvements they need to make in order to breakthrough at the next level. Having known them for so long personally, I am extremely proud and also confident in their ability to give their all, on and off the pitch, to get there and feel they will grasp every opportunity with both hands."
Head of Football Ben Strang added: "As a football staff, we felt it appropriate to acknowledge Lewis and Tom’s progress during their scholarships and secure both on professional contracts at this earlier stage. There is a collective belief, given both players’ continued work ethic and professionalism that they can continue to develop into exciting prospects for the Football Club. Both Lewis and Tom are a fantastic reflection and testament to the committed work of our Academy Staff over the years.”