In the latest part of our series looking at the upbringing of our Academy youngsters, midfielder Xavier Simons talks trialling at Chelsea, footballing memories and signing pro.
How did you end up at the Academy?
Unfortunately, Brentford shut down their Academy. I went to a variety of clubs and at the end I signed for Chelsea. I came here and was on trial for one day and then I went away on tour to Holland. When I came back, I trained for another two weeks and went on another tour to Spain. Then when I got back they offered me a contract.
That wasn’t the first time you trialled at Chelsea…
I first came here when I was quite young, aged seven I think. I did okay but the coaches said I wasn’t ready at that time.
What was the biggest difference in academies after you signed for the Blues?
The facilities. The great facilities here at Chelsea allow you to improve your game and reach your highest potential.
Did you have any idols as a youngster?
In life, it’s obviously my dad. I’ve always looked up to him and want to be like him. But in football it would’ve been Steven Gerrard - watching him as a youngster, I wanted to be a player like him, a box-to-box midfielder and base my game around him.
Did you play any other sports in school?
I played quite a few. Rugby, tennis and athletics but the main one was football. I wasn’t too bad at the other sports, good at rugby and I still play tennis with my dad sometimes. I knock him about a bit!
What footballing memories come to mind?
I’ve got two – a bad one was having a big knee injury after coming here. It kept me out for nine months so that will stick with me for a very long time. A good one would have to be signing for Chelsea and getting my scholarship.
How does it feel to have signed a professional contract at Chelsea on your 17th birthday?
It’s an amazing feeling, I can’t really put it into words. It’s something I’ve been working towards ever since I was young – it’s a great achievement for me and my family.
Chelsea Football Club can also confirm the signing of Bryan Fiabema from Tromso IL in Norway. The 17-year-old signed a professional contract with the club this week.
An Under-17 international for Norway, Fiabema is very good with his back to goal and is capable of bringing others into the game with his link-up play and intelligent movement. Comfortable leading the line as the central striker, Fiabema has scored goals at all levels. He is in contention to feature this evening when Brighton & Hove Albion visit Cobham to take on Ed Brand’s Under-18s.