With the 2020/21 season approaching, it’s almost time for a new intake of Chelsea Academy scholars to begin preparations for the forthcoming campaign.
Ed Brand will remain in charge of our Under-18s this coming season and will hope to pick up where he left of with his team last campaign. The youth team reached the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup and were third in the Under-18 Premier League South table with a game in hand over Fulham and West Ham in first and second place respectively, before the curtailment of the Academy season.
All players in their Under-17 year are required to start the season on a scholarship agreement, before they are permitted to sign a first professional football contract on or after their 17th birthday. The intake includes four players who featured for last season’s youth team, including midfielders Harvey Vale and Charlie Webster, who made 13 appearances between them.
After the players put pen to paper in a socially-distanced signing session at Cobham this week - minus the two arrivals from abroad who signed their paperwork remotely - we spoke to assistant head of youth development Jim Fraser for the lowdown on the 14 new scholars...
Jude joined Chelsea as an Under-13 after he left Swindon Town’s Academy. Upon joining Chelsea, he played in a midfield role but it wasn’t too long before he was playing as a forward, the position in which he made his bow for the Under-18s last season. An adaptable player, Jude has been selected for England at Under-16 level and has been part of our full-time school programme at Cobham.
Derrick is an attacking full-back who first signed as an Under-11 from local grassroots football. A hard-working and dedicated player who thoroughly enjoys his football, his energy on and off the pitch is infectious throughout the group. He has also been part of the full-time school programme at the Academy.
Kelechi is a goalkeeper who has been part of the club since the Under-8 age group. A talented goalkeeper who has a younger brother in the Academy programme, he is quick and agile between the sticks and takes pride in his communication skills, often being the loudest on the pitch.
Alfie is a right-footed central defender who we signed as an Under-11 from Queens Park Rangers. From a family of big Chelsea fans, he can play in a back three or back four and is very competitive with an excellent winning mentality.
Josh is a central midfielder signed from local grassroots football as an Under-13. A tough-tackling, defensive-minded player, he possesses great desire, competitiveness and leadership qualities which always serve good purpose to his team.
Harvey is a versatile player who signed for the Academy from Fulham as an Under-13. A talented player who is part of the full-time school programme, he has played in a number of midfield positions as well as being able to play higher up the pitch in attacking roles. An England Under-17 international, he played predominantly for the Under-16s at club level last season and recorded well over 20 goals. A string of impressive performances meant Harvey featured nine times for the youth team and scored one goal in 2019/20.
Prince is a goalkeeper signed locally as an Under-13. A very tall and big presence on the pitch, he featured on the bench in the FA Youth Cup last season and has been involved with the Under-18s on a number of occasions. Prince has been part of the full-time school programme at the Academy.
Silko is a local boy who first signed for the Academy as an Under-10. An attacking player who is comfortable on either wing as well as through the middle, he is exciting to watch, possessing good speed and agility to create goals.
Alex is a defender who joined us as an Under-14 from local grassroots football. A strong, powerful and very quick defensive-minded player, he is equally comfortable in the middle or as a left-back.
Luke is a left-sided central defender who enjoys carrying the ball out from the back. A strong defender who is able to play at left-back, he has had England recognition at Under-16 level and was part of our full-time school programme after joining the Academy from grassroots football as an Under-13. Luke made two appearances for the youth team last season, both in the Premier League Cup.
Charlie, originally from Andover in Hampshire, joined the Academy as an Under-10 and is a talented, adaptable midfielder. Part of the full-time school programme, he has represented England at Under-16 level. His ability to play the role of both a deep and attacking midfielder saw Charlie appear four times for the youth team last season.
Edwin joins from IFK Gothenberg in his native Sweden. A right-footed left-winger who can be either very tricky or direct on the ball, he creates many assists but also enjoys scoring goals. He is another exciting attacking player and has represented Sweden up to Under-17 level.
Malik was signed from Leyton Orient in his Under-16 year. With strong athletic qualities, he is comfortable anywhere across the front three positions and has an eye for goal.
Jimi is a Finnish international at Under-16 level and signs from Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi in his homeland. A left-footed attacking player who prefers playing on the right, he will join up with the youth team this summer subject to international clearance.