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Player profiles: The nine Exeter City players who have been offered scholarship forms

28 February 2017

Ampadu, Belsten, Dean, Dodd, Dyer, Gardner, Simpson, Sparkes and Williams

Ethan Ampadu: Ethan became the club’s youngest ever player to make a competitive first team appearance when he played for Exeter City against Brentford in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, August 9. He was aged 15, 10 months and 26 days and that broke a club record help by the legendary Cliff Bastin for 83 years. Son of former City player Kwame Ampadu, Ethan started in the Grecians academy younger than anybody else. He was playing in the under-9 age group as an under-7 and has regularly competed above his age bracket right throughout his time at the Cliff Hill training ground. The Exeter-born player attends St Luke’s School and can play in central defence or central midfield.

Joe Belsten: Joe is a tough tackling no-nonsense full-back who has earned good reviews in the academy for his reliable performances. He is a dependable character who can play at right-back, right wing-back or right midfield. Joe joined the Exeter City academy seven years ago as an under-10 and goes to school at Torquay Academy.

Will Dean: Will, from Exmouth, started playing for the Grecians academy a year early as an under-8 in the under-9 age group. His best position is in central midfield, but he can also play in central defence. The Exmouth College student had a brief spell away from the academy when he went back into club football, but that only spurred on his desire to rejoin Exeter City and he came back with a renewed desire and enthusiasm. He has put in an excellent two years at the club since his return and has already started to make some appearances for the under-18s this season.

James Dodd: Exeter-born James is a promising central attacking midfield player who can also play in wide areas. He signed for Exeter City academy at under-9 level, attends West Exe Technology College and has already made an appearance this season with the under-18s.

Jordan Dyer: Jordan signed for the academy at under-11s and attends Isca College in Exeter. He can play in central defence or central midfield. He is a leader on the pitch and has captained the under-16s through an unbeaten league campaign this season as well as to two cup finals.

Harry Gardner: Originally from the Hampshire area, Harry moved to Somerset the age of 11 and progressed through the youth system at Exeter by graduating from the club’s development and performance centres. Signed as an academy player as an under-12, Harry has had five successful years at the Cliff Hill training ground. He is a right-footed player who often plays off the left side of midfield. Harry, who attends Millfield Senior School, is a quick and athletic wide player who can also play full-back.
Theo Simpson: Based in Cornwall, Theo is a quick, strong and powerful centre forward. Having had a successful trial at Exeter City’s academy towards the end of the 2012/13 season, Theo initially started out as a central midfield player before moving further up the pitch. He has had to deal with some serious illness this season, that has meant he has missed five months of football, but he is getting back to full fitness and everyone at City is keen to see him play his part with the under-18s over the next two years. 

Jack Sparkes: Jack is a wide attacking player who has performed very well for the under-18s this season, scoring in the FA Youth Cup matches against MK Dons and Wigan Athletic. The Exmouth Community College pupil joined the City academy as an under-8 playing at under-9 level. He is a quick, left-footed player who often plays off the right side, but can also play as a wing-back or a full-back.

Josh Williams: Josh joined the Exeter City academy at under-13 level. He lives in Weymouth and attends Wey Valley School. He is a competitive central midfield player who has a good work-rate. He has been praised this season for his solid and dependable performances.

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