Grafton Utd duo off to UK to showcase skills for scouts
LATER this month Hayden Young and Jake Connolly will have a chance of a lifetime to showcase their skills in front of scouts from leading English Premier League clubs.
The Grafton United duo depart on September 29 on the Australian Youth Football Institute tour that will involve playing against and training with academy teams from Manchester United, Manchester City, Stoke City, West Bromich Albion and Everton.
"It's heaps good. I'm looking forward to the experience," Hayden said.
Initially Hayden attended a selection trial where his mother Trish suggested his teammate Jake was worth a look. Sure enough, following a subsequent trip he too gained selection.
Preparation has involved flights to Sydney to train on weekends.
"It's a high standard and very technical. A lot different from what we do down here," Jake said.
Both boys will line up as strikers tonight when their team Grafton United Lights attempts to win a third straight North Coast Football Clarence major premiership when they take on Yamba Breakers in the Under-15 grand final at 6pm at Rushforth Park.
"We've all played together since we started under-6s, which is a major key point," Hayden said.
"We know each other and our weaknesses. Our backs are spot on. They all know each other's games."
Jake scored both his side's goals in last year's grand final win and at 187cm and rising is an ominous target up front. The Grafton High Year 9 student justified giving up his place in the 15yrs boys 800m at NSW CHS Athletics to play the final.
"We're going for three in a row and have beaten them every time we've versed them," Jake said.
The UK trip has a pricetag of $7260 and to help raise funds raffle tickets will be on sale for a signed Sydney FC jersey donated by StarTrack at the grand finals at Rushforth Park tonight and Saturday.
Both boys' families would greatly appreciate any support. Call Leisa Connolly at Purple Haze on 6642 8866 or Trish Winters on 0428 881 908.