A group of 16 new scholars have arrived back at Cobham ahead of the new campaign and signed their agreements during an event at Stamford Bridge this week...
Ed Brand is back in charge of our Under-18s for a fourth season and will be assisted by Andy Ross and former Chelsea Academy graduate Jimmy Smith. Ross will spend the remainder of the calendar year in a secondment role at Norwegian second tier side Sogndal, working alongside head coach Tore Andre Flo.
All but three of the new scholars experienced youth team football last term as Brand’s boys finished seventh, reached the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup and lifted the Under-18 Premier League Cup following a win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. Meanwhile, the Under-16 age group were victorious in the Premier League national finals.
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.
After the players put pen to paper, we spoke to assistant head of youth development Jim Fraser for the lowdown on the new scholars and you can take a glimpse at the Stamford Bridge signing event in the video below...
Josh first joined us in our development centre programme as an Under-8 and has the capabilities of playing in multiple positions across the backline.
With experience as a central defender, a full-back and at wing-back, Josh has a fantastic attitude towards developing further and is strong mentally. These qualities have also been identified internationally as he represented England at Under-16 level this past season.
Travis was signed as an Under-16 from Watford in January this year. He is a very exciting central defender who has a great physical and imposing presence on the pitch. In addition to this, he is very comfortable with playing out from the back.
Travis has also represented England at Under-16 level and made four appearances for the Under-18s following his winter arrival.
Ato is a very quick and dynamic attacking player who can play in a number of forward positions. With the ability to play off either wing or as a number ten, Ato regularly showcases his confidence and trickery in one-v-one situations.
He was signed as an Under-11 from grassroots football and made his debut for the Under-18s side last year, making five appearances in total.
Somto is a versatile player who was signed from our local scouting network as an Under-9. He can play as a left-back or left wing-back and featured for our Under-18s side last season. In his schoolboy years, he was also used as a central defender.
He featured regularly for the England Under-16s team last term as they were triumphant at the Val de Marne tournament, as well as most recently for the Under-17s in a double-header against Scotland in February.
Luke was signed at the beginning of his Under-9 season and is a tall, athletic and agile goalkeeper who has already developed a reputation in his young career for being a very good penalty-saving specialist.
He is a massive presence on the pitch and commands his penalty area, as well as being able to play out efficiently from the back when using his feet.
Chinonso joined at the end of his Under-10 season from Fulham and is a direct, powerful attacking player who prefers to play as a right winger but has the ability to play as a striker.
He scored a high number of goals throughout his schoolboy years and was another who made his debut for our Under-18s last year.
Teddy first joined us in our development centre programme signing as an Under-9. He is very confident with the ball at his feet when playing out from the back and is a very good shot-stopper which he has shown throughout his schoolboy years.
He played consistently last year for our Under-18s as he made 14 appearances for the youth team as an Under-16 schoolboy. The past season saw Teddy involved in three trophy successes: Under-16 Premier League national finals and the Under-18 Premier League Cup, as well as being a part of the England Under-16 squad that won the Val de Marne trophy last November.
Tyrique is a tricky and exciting player who joined us as an Under-8 after coming through our development centre programme. With the capability to play off either wing or as a number 10, Tyrique possesses a high level of technique and skill which allows him to excel in one-v-one situations.
He represented England at Under-16 level frequently last season and was another one who was part of the Val de Marne winning squad for that age group.
Michael is a central midfielder we signed from AFC Wimbledon at the end of his Under-12 season and who can play both attacking and defensive roles. He possesses good leadership skills which have also been identified at international level where he has captained the England Under-16 side on a number of occasions and helped win the Val de Marne tournament.
In addition to this, he won the Player of the Tournament award at the Under-16 Premier League national finals last term, which our young Blues won.
Noah was signed late in the schoolboy programme as an Under-15 from grassroots football after successfully coming through our integration recruitment programme. He can play as a right-back or a right wing-back and has a fantastic work ethic and attitude towards developing further.
He has shown himself to have a great mentality throughout the 2021/22 season and featured for our Under-18s on two separate occasions.
Harrison is a player who can play in a deep defensive midfield position or as an attacking number 10 but can also perform as a box-to-box player. He was signed at the beginning of his Under-15 season from West Ham.
The midfielder has been unfortunate with a number of niggling injuries over the last two seasons, but he has always been determined and shown a great desire to returning back to full fitness.
Donnell is a very fast, powerful and direct attacking player who was signed as an Under-12 from grassroots football.
He is an assured finisher, who primarily plays as a striker but possesses the ability to play as a left winger or a number 10. He scored and assisted an incredible number of goals last season and finished his Under-16s year as the team’s top goalscorer.
Max is a goalkeeper who signed from grassroots football late into the programme during his Under-13 season, following a successful trial.
He is a quick and agile keeper who commands his box well. In addition, he also has the ability to play out of the back comfortably when using his feet.
Harrison joined as an Under-8 and is a versatile defender who featured as a centre-back and full-back last season.
He is a confident ball-playing defender who has shown a good work ethic and great leadership qualities throughout his schoolboy years. In addition, he featured for our Under-18s last season on six occasions.
Reiss Alexander Russell-Denny
Reiss is a deep-lying central midfielder who is skilled in taking quality free-kicks and corners and joined as an Under-8. He was another to feature for our Under-18s last season, making four appearances for our youth team.
He has had a number of injuries which have hampered his development to date, but we look forward to him returning to full fitness in pre-season.
Kaiden was first identified by our national scouting team in south-west England as an Under-14 and was signed from grassroots football in Bristol at a local tournament.
He excelled at his trial and has continued to show his ability in the years after. He is a very quick and aggressive one-v-one defender capable of playing a number of roles across the backline, which include the centre-back and full-back positions. He played four times for the Under-18s as a schoolboy last season.
Prince Adegoke is embarking on loan for the first time, joining National League South side Welling United. He was the goalie with the most appearances for Chelsea Under-18s last season, and had a run to the FA Youth Cup semi-final.