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[Albion] The 2024-25 1st-year scholars and U-18s match thread



AZ Gull

@SeagullsAcademy Threads: @bhafcacademy
Oct 14, 2003
12,250
Chandler, AZ
There has been no announcement as yet by the club, and I have no idea if there ever will be, but I believe that 14 first-year scholars have been taken on by the Seagulls for the 2024-25 season. All 14 have been promoted from last season’s U-16 group (meaning that only four of that 18-strong cohort were not offered a scholarship).

The new 1st-year scholars for 2024-25:-

Sebastian Ademola
Isaiah Alakiu
Adam Brett
Billy Cullinane
Tate Ferdinand
Harry Howell
Younes Ibrahim
Darius Lane
Jesse Middleton
Theo Outen
Will Rutter (GK)
Tyler Silsby
Freddie Simmonds
Finley Taylor (GK)


By my records this group of 14 represents the largest intake of scholars/trainees/apprentices in the club’s history, beating the 13 who were taken on for the 2015-16 season.

This intake may also be the strongest collectively in the club’s history; five of these lads have already earned caps for their respective countries and a sixth has been called up for a national team training camp. [When you also factor in that Shim Mheuka and Tayo Subuloye were a part of this group until they found their way to Chelsea – where they are also just beginning their scholarships – there must have been something extraordinary going on in Sussex about 17 years ago!].

It is worth pointing out that five of these scholars have been with the club all the way from U-9 level (which is the earliest that clubs can officially take on academy youngsters). Another item worthy of note: six of these lads started for the Sussex Schools FA U-14 side that beat Kent Schools in a penalty shoot-out in the ESFA U-14 Inter-County Champions Cup Final at Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium on May 14 2022 (and a seventh, Theo Outen, was a starter for Kent!).

Just a word about the four U-16s from last season who failed to make the cut:

Leeyon Phelan (whose father of the same name made a couple of sub appearances for Wycombe Wanderers during the 2000-01 season) has started a scholarship at Cardiff City.
Eden Ormonde was playing for the CCE Academy last season after being released.
Arthur Gregory and Jackson King were also released; I’m not sure if they have been successful in finding alternative opportunities.

In the next few posts I’ll provide a bit more background detail on our new full-time recruits.
 




AZ Gull

@SeagullsAcademy Threads: @bhafcacademy
Oct 14, 2003
12,250
Chandler, AZ
First, a pic - many of these new scholars played for the Albion in the SuperCupNI in Northern Ireland last July - a long-running and very well known pre-season tournament that Albion were competing in for the first time. This is the line-up for one of the matches:-

U16SuperCupNIJuly2023.jpg


Back row: Tyler Silsby, Sebastian Ademola, Adam Brett, Will Rutter (GK), Darius Lane, Cristiano Anah (who will be an U-16 in 2024-25) and Tate Ferdinand.
Front row: Billy Cullinane, Jesse Middleton, Theo Outen and Zebedee Lawson (another U-16 in 2024-25).
 


AZ Gull

@SeagullsAcademy Threads: @bhafcacademy
Oct 14, 2003
12,250
Chandler, AZ
Scholar profiles:-

Will Rutter – Goalkeeper

Rutter joined the Albion during his U-11 schoolboy season of 2018-19. He was named in a matchday squad for the U-18s during 2022-23, his U-15 season, but has yet to make his debut for the side.

Finley Taylor – Goalkeeper

Taylor played for the Woodingdean Wanderers U-13s in 2020-21 and joined the Seagulls at U-14 level the following season. He was a member of the mainly U-16 squad that travelled to Northern Ireland last July to compete in the famous SuperCupNI tournament for the first time in the club’s history. He was named in a matchday squad for the U-18s last season but has yet to make his debut for the side.

Theo Outen – Right-back

Outen attended Ravens Wood School in Keston, Bromley. He played for Bromley FC Ravens U-12s in 2019-20 and joined the Albion the following season. He has yet to feature for the U-18 side.

Freddie Simmonds – Centre-back

Simmonds attended Patcham Junior School in Brighton. He has been with the Seagulls right through from U-9 level. He made three appearances for the England U-15 side in April 2023 and last season scored two goals for the England U-16s in nine appearances (usually captaining the side) and he netted once in two appearances for the England U-17s.

He has already made 15 appearances for the Albion U-18s and five appearances for the U-21s. There were reports last season that he had been invited to train with the Albion first team. It is fantastic news that he has chosen to continue his development at the club.

Sebastian Ademola – Centre-back

Ademola attended school in Eastbourne. He played for the All Star Soccer Academy in Eastbourne before joining the Seagulls during his U-12 season. He qualifies to play for Norway and was called up for an U-15 training camp in March 2023, going on to make a couple of appearances for the side the following month. He earned a cap for the Norwegian U-16s against Hungary in April of this year.

Tate Ferdinand – Centre-back

The son of Rio and the younger brother of goalkeeper Lorenz. He was previously in the Albion system, left but subsequently returned to the club.

Isaiah Alakiu – Centre-back

Alakiu has Filipino heritage. He played for Oakwood FC at U-8 level before joining the Albion as an U-9. As well as being a very good footballer, Isaiah is also a very good basketball player and developed through the youth ranks at the Crawley Storm basketball club. He received an invitation to the Philippine’s U-18 National Team training camp in that sport. Unfortunately he now has to focus full-time on his footballing career.

Alakiu.jpg
 


AZ Gull

@SeagullsAcademy Threads: @bhafcacademy
Oct 14, 2003
12,250
Chandler, AZ
Scholar profiles continued:-

Billy Cullinane

Cullinane is another who developed through the All Star Soccer Academy in Eastbourne from the age of 7 before joining the Seagulls during his U-13 season. He was one of the starters for the Sussex Schools FA U-14 side in that ESFA final at Stoke City in May 2022.

Harry Howell – Midfielder

Howell is the son of Jamie and the cousin of Jack Hinshelwood. Harry attended St Philip Howard School in Barnham. He is another who has been with the Seagulls from his U-9 season. He captained the Sussex Schools FA U-14 side in their success over Kent Schools in the ESFA final at Stoke City.

He was only 14 when he came on as a sub with his dad for Bognor Regis Town in Gary Charman’s testimonial match against Horsham in June 2022 and he scored Bognor’s sixth goal in a match that finished 7-7.

Howell has won caps for England at both U-15 and U-16 level. He has already made 25 appearances for the Albion U-18 side and he has netted two goals for the U-21s in six appearances.

Darius Lane – Midfielder

Lane joined Albion around his U-14 season. He is a French-American, box-to-box, all-action central midfielder. In March 2024 he was called up to the US Men’s U-17 Youth National Team for a 24-player training camp in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Jesse Middleton – Midfielder

Middleton attended Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton. He played for Hollingbury Hawks before joining the Albion at U-9 level. He is very versatile and can play many different positions, including central defensive midfield and right-wing.

Tyler Silsby – Left winger

Silsby attended Peacehaven Community School. He had previously played for Albion and Spurs but had developed a reputation for having some disciplinary issues. However, he rejoined the Albion academy (from Burgess Hill Town) at the beginning of his U-14 season. I don’t think there is any doubt about his footballing ability.

He was called up to an England U-15 training camp in December 2022 and made five appearances for the England U-16s last season. He also made four appearances for the Albion U-18 side last season, scoring two goals (in one match he came on as a sub after an hour, got booked, scored two goals and provided an assist!).

Adam Brett – Forward

Brett attended Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton. He is another who has been at Albion from U-9 level. He made his debut for the U-18 side in April.

Adam qualifies to play for Wales through his grandfather. He has been capped at U-15, U-16 and U-17 levels.

Younes Ibrahim

Ibrahim was born in Australia. At the age of 6 he joined the Futboltec academy (a Sydney-based football programme run by two brothers) where he spent a number of years before moving to England with his family when he was 10.

He spent some time at the academies at Luton Town and Chelsea before joining the Garuda Select academy in December 2022. In the summer of 2023 he joined the Albion and was a member of the mainly U-16 squad that competed at the SuperCupNI tournament.

 
Last edited:






Zeberdi

“Vorsprung durch Technik”
NSC Patron
Oct 20, 2022
5,699
Excellent work AZ - good to see our Academy having such a successful window and well done to our own lads that have moved up.
 


Rookie

Greetings
Feb 8, 2005
12,255
As always amazing knowledge, thank you.
Darius Lane is an interesting one, guessing he didn’t move from America to play for us at u14
 














Change at Barnham

Well-known member
Aug 6, 2011
5,115
Bognor Regis
Thank you AZ for the time you have taken gathering and sharing this information for us and all the other stuff you do.
It's an outstanding effort and provides a warm glow of satisfaction just thinking about how well the foundations are being laid for the future of our little club.
A top effort both in Arizona and Lancing!
:dunk:
 




Jimmy Grimble

Well-known member
Isaiah Alakiu played for the same youth club as a certain Lewis Dunk.
 




Braggfan

In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded
May 12, 2014
1,901
There has been no announcement as yet by the club, and I have no idea if there ever will be, but I believe that 14 first-year scholars have been taken on by the Seagulls for the 2024-25 season. All 14 have been promoted from last season’s U-16 group (meaning that only four of that 18-strong cohort were not offered a scholarship).


By my records this group of 14 represents the largest intake of scholars/trainees/apprentices in the club’s history, beating the 13 who were taken on for the 2015-16 season.

This intake may also be the strongest collectively in the club’s history; five of these lads have already earned caps for their respective countries and a sixth has been called up for a national team training camp. [When you also factor in that Shim Mheuka and Tayo Subuloye were a part of this group until they found their way to Chelsea – where they are also just beginning their scholarships – there must have been something extraordinary going on in Sussex about 17 years ago!].

It is worth pointing out that five of these scholars have been with the club all the way from U-9 level (which is the earliest that clubs can officially take on academy youngsters). Another item worthy of note: six of these lads started for the Sussex Schools FA U-14 side that beat Kent Schools in a penalty shoot-out in the ESFA U-14 Inter-County Champions Cup Final at Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium on May 14 2022 (and a seventh, Theo Outen, was a starter for Kent!).

You're posts on the youth set up are really interesting.

What you say about something extraordinary going on in Sussex 17 years ago is particularly interesting because I think its a product of modern football coaching . My best mate's son is at the academy, and I know that the level of detail the club invest in the youngsters is astonishing. Football coaching in general seems to have moved on light years from when I was a kid. I think about being 7 years old and playing on 11 a side pitches. Nowadays, as I'm sure most parents know, football at the age group is much smaller sides and pitches and the kids become more technical because they have more time and space on the ball. Add into that the the standard of coaching has improved with better access to materials. If coaches want to tell a player to play in a certain position they can show them video clips of premier league players doing the things they want them to do. All of these things incrementally have improved the standard, in my opinion. You will still get year groups that are better than others, like this group you've written about. But I think in general we will see start to see the frequency of excellent crops of players increasing.
 


AZ Gull

@SeagullsAcademy Threads: @bhafcacademy
Oct 14, 2003
12,250
Chandler, AZ
Goalkeeper Ethan Pike was a member of this age group in the Albion academy at U-10 and U-11 level (he was also the goalkeeper who started for the Sussex Schools FA U-14s in that final against Kent in May 2022). Yesterday he signed his scholarship with League One side Leyton Orient.

Another goalkeeper, Jake Hopper, was in this group with Albion from U-9 to U-11 level. After leaving Albion he moved to QPR; he got released there but has just signed his scholarship with Championship side Hull City.

As mentioned in the opening post, Leeyon Phelan (who spent three seasons with Albion before being released last season) has signed a scholarship with Championship side Cardiff City.

And, of course, Shim Mheuka (who spent 7 years with Albion before being lured to Chelsea) and Tayo Subuloye (who spent a couple of years with Albion) are just beginning their scholarships with Chelsea.

That makes a total of 19 players from this age group, who are either still with Albion or have passed through the Albion academy, who have earned scholarships with either Premier League or EFL clubs, a frankly astonishing number.
 




CheeseRolls

Well-known member
NSC Patron
Jan 27, 2009
6,092
Shoreham Beach
Mods - could we have this thread pinned for a week please?
So much info here I can't imagine there is much more to add. If this then drops down the board many will miss it.
 




dazzer6666

Well-known member
NSC Patron
Mar 27, 2013
53,601
Burgess Hill
Goalkeeper Ethan Pike was a member of this age group in the Albion academy at U-10 and U-11 level (he was also the goalkeeper who started for the Sussex Schools FA U-14s in that final against Kent in May 2022). Yesterday he signed his scholarship with League One side Leyton Orient.

Another goalkeeper, Jake Hopper, was in this group with Albion from U-9 to U-11 level. After leaving Albion he moved to QPR; he got released there but has just signed his scholarship with Championship side Hull City.

As mentioned in the opening post, Leeyon Phelan (who spent three seasons with Albion before being released last season) has signed a scholarship with Championship side Cardiff City.

And, of course, Shim Mheuka (who spent 7 years with Albion before being lured to Chelsea) and Tayo Subuloye (who spent a couple of years with Albion) are just beginning their scholarships with Chelsea.

That makes a total of 19 players from this age group, who are either still with Albion or have passed through the Albion academy, who have earned scholarships with either Premier League or EFL clubs, a frankly astonishing number.
There’s a significant financial benefit to the club in all this as well……….even if players don’t make it with us, we get payments (based on appearances and the club tier) by players who end up at other clubs.
 


GT49er

Well-known member
NSC Patron
Feb 1, 2009
47,655
Gloucester
@AZ Gull - another thanks for all your detailed research, and for putting it out on NSC.

Now, can I ask a question for those of us - well me, actually - who don't know (but probably should). Could you tell us the link between first year scholars and the age group? Are they U17s, having turned 16, or are they in the U18 year group (I know they might play in the U18s, or even the U21s if they're exceptionally talented, but what age group are 1st. and 2nd. year scholars actually in?)

'Scuse the ignorance, but would really appreciate your answer.
 


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