Over the past 2 seasons, the GFA have been lucky enough to witness 2 talented players go on to receive professional contracts. As much as an honour it is representing your county at U18 level, playing counties from all across the country allows players to showcase their talents to a wide audience, therefore creating a platform for players to make a name for themselves and building a bridge between grass roots football and the pro game.
Tom Harrison of SGS Filton College and Yate Town FC was the first of the two recent players to be offered a professional contract. Tom was offered an 18 month Pro contract at Bristol City back in February 2018, and has gone on to be a regular centre back for their U23s squad. Tom represented both the U16 and U18s GFA Rep team, of which he was also named captain by managers Adam Coyle and Calum Wands. “Playing for the GFA was an amazing experience and an amazing opportunity. Playing under Adam and Calum really helped me get my confidence back, and got me back playing at my best”.
Tom was a great character to have in the team, and giving him the armband really helped him excel into a more mature and disciplined player. He was a leader on and off the pitch, and always ran through brick walls for the team, which is a characteristic which I believe is paramount in County Rep team. “It was a great honour to represent the county, and to captain the team is something ill never forget".
“Playing for the GFA is a great opportunity, where young players like myself could make a name for themselves and prove that they deserve an opportunity in the pro game”
Dan McBeam is the 2nd player to make the journey through the GFA Rep team and land himself a pro contract. Dan, of SGS College, signed pro with Barnsley FC back in November 2018 after an almost perfect season with the GFA u18s. Dan was a labeled as a ‘box or tricks’ by other County Rep team managers, as his undeniably brilliant technical ability made life very difficulty for all opposing teams the GFA faced. Dan was a key part of the GFAs FA County Youth Cup Semi Final reaching team, in which he lit up the show with a moment of magic after taking on the whole Norfolk FA team to set up a fellow team mate for a tap-in finish. Unfortunately, the GFA bowed out to Norfolk, but McBeams performance was highly praised by their staff and supporters.
“I loved playing for the GFA. The coaches created a professional environment and a great atmosphere which I think developed us as players well as people, hence why we went far in both the FA County Youth Cup and the League”.
Dan played as a No.10 and was always in the mix with goals and assists. His creative intelligence and ability to take players on labeled him as a real asset to the team. He could change a game completely with a moment of genius, as well as work and demand perfection from each team member. “Adam and Calum really helped me and the team, and if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have has such a great team spirit”.