A quartet of young footballers from the same Wearside school have been snapped up by professional clubs in the space of three weeks.
Jonny Langley, Steven Bolam, Patrick Grooms and Matthew Williamson, of Kepier School in Houghton, are all part of the Kepier Elite Football Academy programme, run by Improtech Soccer.
The dedication and improvement they have shown saw Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool all come calling last month.
Jonny, a Year 10 pupil, has joined Hartlepool Under 15s and Matthew has gone to Newcastle U13s, while Patrick and Steve have been picked up by Middlesbrough U13s and U12s respectively.
It’s also a feather in the cap of both Improtech Soccer, run by former Sunderland full-back Martin Scott, and Kepier School, with almost 40 per cent of the intake placed at professional club academies.
Martin told the Echo: “I’m absolutely delighted for the boys. All four have demonstrated the desire and the ability needed to progress and it is no surprise clubs have taken an interest in them.
“It is unusual though that four youngsters should be signed up in such a short space of time.
“It was a bit odd having one after the other coming in with their good news week after week, but we were thrilled for them”.
“They’re a credit to themselves, their families and their school, but they know that this is just the start for them and they have to keep working to improve.”
Improtech Soccer is now in its fourth year at Kepier. A steady stream of players have gone on to be picked up by Sunderland, Newcastle, Middlesbrough an Hartlepool.
Improtech has just launched after-school Development Squad sessions for youngsters from five and upwards who want to test and improve their football skills.
For more information, go to www.improtechsoccer.com, email @firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Simon on 07717 707 952.