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Home / News / Interview / Academy Starlet Delighted With Deal

Academy Starlet Delighted With Deal

Academy Starlet Delighted With Deal

Margate FC’s new Under 19s Academy in partnership with Herne Bay High kick-started earlier this month. Welcoming players from across Thanet, the Academy offers young people an opportunity to study, train and play full-time.

Accepted into the National League Under 19s Alliance, the Academy players showcased their potential with an opening day victory away at Dulwich Hamlet. An impressive 90 minutes saw the Academy side edge a competitive contest 2-1.

Beside this promising start, further good news from the Academy was confirmed last weekend, when young starlet Gabe Harrison signed a deal with the First Team.

Gabe was immediately handed a place in the squad for the trip to Concord Rangers in the Emirates FA Cup and we caught up with the 17-year-old after an exciting few days in his career.

Talking about his journey into the Margate FC Academy, Gabe said:

“I started playing football at age five and began at a club called St.Neots FC. I then moved to Cambridge Academy and played until I moved with my family down to Ramsgate at around the age of 13.”

“I have played in a number of positions during my career so far; striker, a winger, attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder, defender. But finally, have settled at attacking midfielder!”

One of the inaugural players in The Gate’s Under 19s Academy, Gabe gave interesting insight into the academic and sporting demands of being involved with the club and is loving every minute.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the month I have spent at the Margate academy so far. The level of football is very high, and the academic level is also high.”

“There is a lot of freedom and you are treated like an adult, so the environment created is very relaxing and a refreshing change to secondary school. I would certainly encourage any student who plays football or wants a change from the school they are at to think about the Margate Academy.”

Progression routes for talented players into the First Team was always an aim and ambition when the Academy was created. Gabe’s accomplishment so soon into the new Academy’s launch is testament to his hard work and application.

Speaking about how the deal came around, Gabe explained:

“The deal for the first team came about by playing for the Academy at a high level and training hard. This was recognized and I was offered to have a trial training session in which to show what I could do. I performed well at the training session and was offered to sign for the club the next day.”

“I was thrilled signing for the first team as this has been a goal of mine for a while. Playing and training at Hartsdown will be massively beneficial to my game as I can train my hardest to reach the best level of football as I can.”

“Then I can put that into matches to get the best results possible for the team. It also means I can study hard and get the best grades I can to attend the best university possible.”

No sooner was the ink dry on his deal when Gabe received the call into the First Team squad for a tough trip to Concord Rangers, safe to say it proved a memorable occasion.

“The experience on Saturday in the FA Cup was like no other footballing experience I have had. The level of professionalism and support for both teams was unlike any I've witnessed playing at U18 level.

“I recognise it’s going to be very difficult for me to break into the team but it’s a fantastic opportunity for me to learn and hopefully I’ll get my chance.”

A final word of encouragement remained for any other aspiring young players considering their options for the future. Gabe’s message was clear.

“For any younger players thinking of joining the academy, my advice would be to train as much as possible to get to the highest level you can not only on the field but off the field studying as well.”

“I joined the academy from Chatham House after spending five years there and have never regretted the decision.”

“The Academy has provided me with so many opportunities I simply would not receive anywhere else and has set me up very well with what I want to achieve in my next step in life which is getting a scholarship to the USA to play football and study for a degree.”

To find out more about Margate FC's full-time academy, please click here.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018
By Charlotte Richardson

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