Teen pair on pathway to turn professional
Two Bermudian footballers are on a pathway to turn professional at Bournemouth after being awarded pre-scholarship agreements by the English Premier League club.
Ajani Burchall and Remy Coddington, who play for the club's under-14 and under-15 sides, respectively, will be offered two-year scholarships when they reach the under-17s should they continue their progression.
Joe Roach, the Bournemouth academy manager and head of coaching, says the pre-scholarship agreements represent a show of faith by the South Coast club and described Burchall and Coddington as “excellent ambassadors for Bermuda”.
“In essence, the pre-scholarship agreements will allow them to continue their development before being offered a two-year scholarship at the end of their under-16 year,” Roach said.
“We believe they have the potential to pursue [the scholarship] pathway. Obviously they have got to continue their development.”
Roach said Burchall and Coddington, who have attended school in England for the past few years, fit the bill in terms of their technical ability and physical prowess and have adapted well to the English academy level.
“Athletically and technically they are above where some of our other young players are at their age,” Roach added.
“They have all of the things we are looking for otherwise we wouldn't be offering them a pre-scholarship agreement. They have impressed with the way they have approached training, approached the games and their day-to-day regimen.
“They have had to adapt to the football environment and the school environment, and everything else that goes with it. We're pleased to have them at the club for the foreseeable future.”
Although the pre-scholarship agreements provide a degree of security for Burchall and Coddington, knowing they have a sufficient window in which to fulfil their potential, Roach has urged them to stay grounded and not rest on their laurels.
“We've opted to make sure that they cannot so much relax as really focus on the opportunity that they have got,” he said.
“They know we're committed to them and they now have to be committed to us.
“These sort of contracts are not given out willy-nilly. We've probably given a handful of players over the years this type of opportunity.
“The concern sometimes is that the players can step off the pedal a little bit, thinking that they're OK, but the boys haven't done that and we're really pleased with their progression.
“We look forward to working with them for the short, medium and hopefully long term.”