A dedicated youngster is flying the flag for South Shields FC’s development programme – after becoming the first player to progress throughout the club’s exciting new pathway.
Gabe Young, 11, first worked with coaches from the club’s charitable arm, SSFC Foundation, in school PE lessons before taking part in extra-curricular football sessions.
He joined one of the club’s grassroots sides and took the next step on his journey when he successfully trialled for a place in a newly-formed Academy team ahead of this season.
The East Boldon Junior School pupil was one of the first players to become part of the Mariners’ new Academy set-up for those aged nine to 16, and is a member of the Under-11s side.
Gabe is an example of what can be achieved by aspiring youngsters who join the pathway available at the club, and has his sights set on furthering his progression through the Academy and, perhaps one day, into the first-team.
South Shields FC 9-16 Academy lead and SSFC programme delivery lead Nathan Kew said: “We are delighted that Gabe is the first player to progress through all steps of our participation pathway into the Academy, and he thoroughly deserves it.
“He has worked incredibly hard and is a pleasure to work with and coach. We’re hugely excited about his continued development in the years ahead.
“Our Academy set-up provides children in South Tyneside with the opportunity to progress into a high-quality football setting, and we can already see the benefits of this training in children like Gabe.
“We’re now able to offer talented children like him to take the next step in their development in our ever-evolving Academy system, with high-level coaching and a good games programme to ensure they continue to improve.
“The work we have done over the last few years has helped to mould Gabe into someone who is ready to join an Academy, and we are sure he will take his development further.
“Hopefully plenty more South Tyneside children will follow him on the same pathway.”
East Boldon Junior School headteacher Tim Shenton said: “We are incredibly proud of Gabe and the way he has progressed both academically and in football.
“We thank South Shields FC and the Foundation for helping us with Gabe’s development, and we hope he is just the first of many young people to follow this pathway.”