There are eight new scholars at Cobham ahead of the upcoming season and they officially signed their agreements in an event held at Stamford Bridge last week.
Hassan Sulaiman takes charge of his first full season as the Under-18s head coach and he will be assisted by former Chelsea Academy graduates Andy Ross and Jimmy Smith.
Six of the eight players joining his squad have experienced youth team football already – and two players, in particular, have been regulars in the Under-18s set-up in the past year.
Before being eligible to sign their first professional football contract, all players in their Under-17 year must commence the season with a scholarship agreement.
Once the players completed the necessary paperwork, we caught up with Jim Fraser, head of youth development and recruitment, to gain an insight into the new group of scholars…
Genesis was signed as an Under-12 and is an attacking full-back. Displaying his prowess as a right-back or wing-back, he impresses with both speed and power on the field, and featured in the Under-18 Premier League last season
Leo is an exciting and talented player who was signed from West Brom as an Under-15. He plays predominantly as a right winger or an attacking midfielder. Having represented England and Portugal at schoolboy level, Leo stands out with his impressive dribbling and technical ability. He featured last year in the youth team in the FA Youth Cup and the Under-18 Premier League.
Kai is a goalkeeper who came through our development centre programme. He has great agility and possesses impressive shot-stopping abilities and reflexes. He has represented England in the Under-15 and Under-16 age groups, and also featured for our youth team towards the end of last season in the Under-18 Premier League.
Kiano is a bright and intelligent footballer who joined us at the end of his Under-14 season from West Brom. Demonstrating versatility across various positions in midfield, as well as exceptional technical skills, he has represented England at the Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 age groups. Kiano featured heavily for the youth team last season in the FA Youth Cup and the Under-18 Premier League, as well as making his debut for our Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League.
Saheed is a left-sided central defender who signed from Charlton Athletic as an Under-12. Standing tall and displaying impressive athleticism, he defends the box effectively while also showcasing excellent leadership skills. Technically proficient in playing out from the back, Saheed is a confident player.
Frankie is another one of the scholars who came through our development centre programme from the age of eight. His versatility allows him to thrive in various attacking positions, be it out wide or in the centre of midfield, and he also has remarkable quality on free-kicks. He has represented England at the Under-15 and Under-16 age groups. Frankie was a big part of the youth team last year, playing in various competitions, but above all he became the youngest-ever Chelsea UEFA Youth League goalscorer at the age of 15 with a strike against Dinamo Zagreb.
Shaun is a quick and direct winger who joined us from Bristol City at the end of his Under-14 season. He exhibits an unrelenting desire to take on opponents and contribute to both the creation and scoring of goals. Having represented the Republic of Ireland at the Under-16 and Under-17 age groups, Shaun has already shown great promise so far in his career.
Marcell is a confident player who joined late in his schoolboy years from grassroots football through our local recruitment team, initially signed as a left winger. Displaying great adaptability, he has also proven his worth as a left-back and as a wing-back. Having represented England at the Under-15 and Under-16 age groups levels, Marcell’s versatility and talent make him a valuable asset to our youth team.
Congratulations to all our new scholars!