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Nine from the Academy given FT Contracts


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https://www.heartsfc.co.uk/news/article/nine-starlets-pen-pro-terms-with-hearts

 

Nine of Hearts' brightest academy talents have put pen to paper on their first professional contracts at Tynecastle Park.

Zach Paris, Adam Forrester, Gregor Crookston, Kai Smutek, Kenzi Nair and Harvey Chisholm will step up to the professional ranks this summer - with Rocco Friel, Mackenzie Ross and Bobby McLuckie set to sign when the trio turn 16 at later points in the year.

The nontet were honoured at a signing ceremony at Tynecastle with Chief Executive Andrew McKinlay and Sporting Director Joe Savage in attendance as the players and their families raised a toast to the next chapter of their careers.

This move marks the latest development at academy level after a successful campaign that saw a Youth Cup Final apperance alongside debuts at first-team level for Murray Thomas and Makenzie Kirk.

Academy Director Frankie McAvoy said: "I'm absolutely delighted that a number of our players have been given a chance to step into the full-time environment. Hopefully within that environment they can flourish and become proven players.

"Our aim, hopefully, is to get them ready for Robbie's first team. Murray and Kirky got a chance in the latter part of last season which was great to see. Now this group have a chance to push forward and thrive."

Sporting Director Joe Savage added: "We want to be building our academy and producing players. With Frankie, Steven Naismith, John McLaughlan, and all the guys we have in the academy - we feel like we've got a coaching group that can really develop these players and push them into the first team environment.

"These players understand the demand we're setting on them and the need to get to that level. We can coach them to become the players we know they can become."

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Footballfirst

All these guys should be playing U18 football next season with the possibility of stepping up to the B team if they are good enough.

 

The absence from the list of Ewan Simpson would suggest that he is on his way to Aston Villa.

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Is 9 a higher than normal amount ? Rena so but no idea. Hopefully an indicator that things are getting better at the academy. 

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The Wrinkly Ninja
2 minutes ago, Dazo said:

Is 9 a higher than normal amount ? Rena so but no idea. Hopefully an indicator that things are getting better at the academy. 


It’s maybe more an indication that we will have an 18s and B team next year. 

 

Well done laddies, stick in, make the most of the great opportunities you now have, and hope to see you in the first team.

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Footballfirst
2 minutes ago, Dazo said:

Is 9 a higher than normal amount ? Rena so but no idea. Hopefully an indicator that things are getting better at the academy. 

It is a higher number than we have seen in recent years. More likely a reflection of seeking to operate teams at U18 and U20 (B team) next season and the need to keep squad numbers up.

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True, hadn’t considered the B team factor. Hopefully a mixture of everything including increase and of better quality coming through. 

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wavydavy
3 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

It is a higher number than we have seen in recent years. More likely a reflection of seeking to operate teams at U18 and U20 (B team) next season and the need to keep squad numbers up.

 

Do you consider these guys to be any better than those we have offered full time contracts to in the past FF ?

 

I know it is always hard to predict how young players will progress or not but just trying to understand if Frankie McEvoy is improving things yet or is it maybe just a bit too soon to say?

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Footballfirst
2 minutes ago, wavydavy said:

 

Do you consider these guys to be any better than those we have offered full time contracts to in the past FF ?

 

I know it is always hard to predict how young players will progress or not but just trying to understand if Frankie McEvoy is improving things yet or is it maybe just a bit too soon to say?

It's definitely not the strongest age group at the academy, so to me it looks like numbers over quality at this stage. However there is nothing to stop any of those guys making it if they put everything into it. The hard work starts now.  Some will relish the opportunity to train and play full time and reap the benefits of that, while others may struggle to adapt.  It will be down to the individuals.

 

The following four years' age groups look to have more individuals whose ability makes them stand out above their peers, but we will have to wait and see if they earn international recognition as U16s or are part of any future contract announcements.

 

I hope that the club (Frank McAvoy/Joe Savage) gets into negotiations early with some of these guys, to avoid the best of them being lured south of the border the moment they turn 16, e.g. Wilson, Stevenson, Plesiewicz and others

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Armageddon

Unlucky boys.

 

Some nice suits, some shocking suits.

Some belting haircuts, some not so.

All great potential and all very proud/excited families and parents.

 

Whatever happens I wish you the greatest of success.

 

Heart of Midlothian FC on Twitter: "Eight Hearts Academy players sign  full-time contracts with the club | https://t.co/nWUENFA2T3  https://t.co/A6kb1HK5EO" / Twitter

Five Hearts academy players are latest to sign professional deals |  Edinburgh News

Heart of Midlothian FC on Twitter: "📝 Nine academy players sign  professional contracts at Hearts 👉 https://t.co/UPCQh2uCeS 📷 courtesy of  Ron MacNeill https://t.co/68HFSZSOyr" / Twitter

image.png.6cb76e2c57b914e4f1b1684f8cb87cf8.png

 

 

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jamboinglasgow
5 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

It's definitely not the strongest age group at the academy, so to me it looks like numbers over quality at this stage. However there is nothing to stop any of those guys making it if they put everything into it. The hard work starts now.  Some will relish the opportunity to train and play full time and reap the benefits of that, while others may struggle to adapt.  It will be down to the individuals.

 

The following four years' age groups look to have more individuals whose ability makes them stand out above their peers, but we will have to wait and see if they earn international recognition as U16s or are part of any future contract announcements.

 

I hope that the club (Frank McAvoy/Joe Savage) gets into negotiations early with some of these guys, to avoid the best of them being lured south of the border the moment they turn 16, e.g. Wilson, Stevenson, Plesiewicz and others

 

You would hope the players see a clear pathway to the first team now that we have the B team. Perform well for the U18s, then you can get into the B team, do well with the B team and you can move up to the first team. It doesn't happen overnight but if Robbie demonstrates that he will use players doing well in the B team in the first team, then it will provide something we haven't had for a while.

 

Speaking of which, I see Celtic are trying to rejig their B team. Read an article in the Athletic where Ange is not happy with how the club brings through young players. They are changing training for the B team to be the same as the first team as a problem last season was when B players came into the first team training were off the pace. Also they are doing that as they fear they are losing too many young talents.

 

https://theathletic.com/3362195/2022/06/20/celtic-academy-ange-postecoglou/

 

Just interesting to see and perhaps lessons Hearts should take now there is a B team.

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wavydavy
59 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

It's definitely not the strongest age group at the academy, so to me it looks like numbers over quality at this stage. However there is nothing to stop any of those guys making it if they put everything into it. The hard work starts now.  Some will relish the opportunity to train and play full time and reap the benefits of that, while others may struggle to adapt.  It will be down to the individuals.

 

The following four years' age groups look to have more individuals whose ability makes them stand out above their peers, but we will have to wait and see if they earn international recognition as U16s or are part of any future contract announcements.

 

I hope that the club (Frank McAvoy/Joe Savage) gets into negotiations early with some of these guys, to avoid the best of them being lured south of the border the moment they turn 16, e.g. Wilson, Stevenson, Plesiewicz and others

 

Cheers FF thanks for the update. You are right about negotiating with the younger ones early so that if they do go south later then we can benefit finacially just like Rangers and Aberdeen have recently.

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Pans Jambo

Great news that.

 

Good to see the young-uns kicking on and now they have the opportunity to go even further.

 

Potentially the start of something fantastic. I hope they all take the opportunity!

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RustyRightPeg

First crop under the new B team Era. 
 

Some could be thrown into first team football against men (regardless of level) and thrive, some may sink. 
 

Best of luck to all, hope to see some on the main stage in coming years. 

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Did notice in the article that Kai Smutek the Centre half is down as one of the fastest players in the academy, either he's very quick for someone playing that position or the rest of the academy aren't actually very quick?

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Spellczech

The names people give their kids these days. Not one of them called Gary...

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Niemi’s gloves
2 hours ago, Footballfirst said:

It's definitely not the strongest age group at the academy, so to me it looks like numbers over quality at this stage. However there is nothing to stop any of those guys making it if they put everything into it. The hard work starts now.  Some will relish the opportunity to train and play full time and reap the benefits of that, while others may struggle to adapt.  It will be down to the individuals.

 

The following four years' age groups look to have more individuals whose ability makes them stand out above their peers, but we will have to wait and see if they earn international recognition as U16s or are part of any future contract announcements.

 

I hope that the club (Frank McAvoy/Joe Savage) gets into negotiations early with some of these guys, to avoid the best of them being lured south of the border the moment they turn 16, e.g. Wilson, Stevenson, Plesiewicz and others


I don’t know how realistic your last point is about getting in negotiations early with the most promising players. In particular, does the announcement that not-quite 16 year old players have “committed” to signing a pro-contract have any legal validity? Normally this happens for players turning 16 before the end of the year and allows them to have something approaching a two year contract while still being able to play U-18 for those 2 seasons. I think the only time we have done that with a younger player was with Marc Leonard in 2017, who wasn’t 16 until following February. In the event, his “commitment” to sign never came to anything and his and/or his parents’ enthusiasm for signing for Brighton outweighed the threat of not being able to play for a few months.

 

I fear that the most outstanding prospects will always find their way to bigger clubs offering a clear development path. It obviously doesn’t help when youth development beyond 18 is a mess as in Scotland, particularly compared to England. Historically, there has also been the issue of inducements to parents and although the rules may have been tightened up, I’d guess that major clubs still have ways of getting the very best youngsters with a little help to their parents along the way. 

 

 

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Footballfirst
Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Niemi’s gloves said:


I don’t know how realistic your last point is about getting in negotiations early with the most promising players. In particular, does the announcement that not-quite 16 year old players have “committed” to signing a pro-contract have any legal validity? Normally this happens for players turning 16 before the end of the year and allows them to have something approaching a two year contract while still being able to play U-18 for those 2 seasons. I think the only time we have done that with a younger player was with Marc Leonard in 2017, who wasn’t 16 until following February. In the event, his “commitment” to sign never came to anything and his and/or his parents’ enthusiasm for signing for Brighton outweighed the threat of not being able to play for a few months.

 

I fear that the most outstanding prospects will always find their way to bigger clubs offering a clear development path. It obviously doesn’t help when youth development beyond 18 is a mess as in Scotland, particularly compared to England. Historically, there has also been the issue of inducements to parents and although the rules may have been tightened up, I’d guess that major clubs still have ways of getting the very best youngsters with a little help to their parents along the way. 

You are correct in that we can't give 15 year olds professional contracts, although we can give them a promise of one as soon as they reach 16.  That gives the lads some certainty and allows Hearts to talk to their schools to facilitate one or two days "day release" per week to train with the full time lads as part of a preparation for work programme.

 

Marc Leonard's 16th birthday was in the December of the year that he was earmarked for a contract.  His age was a factor in him not being able to make the breakthrough as Harry Cochrane had done at 16 (although both were in the same age group).

 

Others who have had their FT contracts offered in advance of their 16th birthdays include Liam McFarlane, Callum Sandilands, Macauley Tait and Ethan Drysdale.

 

There are many instances of youngsters being recruited by big clubs down south with offers of housing and jobs for their parents. In some cases their agents have touted them round clubs seeking exactly such a deal. I know of one currently with a weegie club where that happened.

Edited by Footballfirst
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Niemi’s gloves
2 minutes ago, Footballfirst said:

You are correct in that we can't give 15 year olds professional contracts, although we can give them a promise of one as soon as they reach 16.  That gives the lads some certainty and allows Hearts to talk to their schools to facilitate one or two days "day release" per week to train with the full time lads as part of a preparation for work programme.

 

Marc Leonard's birthday was in the December of the year that he was earmarked for a contract.  His age was a factor in him not being able to make the breakthrough as Harry Cochrane had done at 16 (although both were in the same age group).

 

There are many instances of youngsters being recruited by big clubs down south with offers of housing and jobs for his parents. In some cases their agents have touted them round clubs seeking exactly such a deal. I know of one currently with a weegie club where that happened.


Yes, you’re right on Marc Leonard’s birthday. I misread the Hearts June 2017 announcement. It was Connor Smith who “committed” to signing then even though his birthday wasn’t until the following February. 

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tartofmidlothian

Commentary teams better be sharp if Alan Forrest and Adam Forrester end up in the same team.

 

Thought the guy on the left in the main news page photo was Sir Paul for a minute.

 

https://www.heartsfc.co.uk/news

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Footballfirst

Here's an example where the reach of Rangers allows them to draw on a wider pool of talent.

 

 

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Costanza
2 hours ago, Spellczech said:

The names people give their kids these days. Not one of them called Gary...

I loved this article, mainly because Gary is my brother's name.

(mind you mine which was a top 10 mainstay in the 70s and 80s is now down in the two hundreds I think)

 

High noon for Gary: why is the once-popular name on the verge of extinction? | Parents and parenting | The Guardian

 

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Seymour M Hersh
1 hour ago, Footballfirst said:

Here's an example where the reach of Rangers allows them to draw on a wider pool of talent.

 

 

 

Belfast is a bit of a given as t's really just a suburb of Glasgow. :laugh2:

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Footballfirst

Three of Hearts U16s took part in Scotland U16 trials at the weekend (out of 30).

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3 hours ago, Smithee said:

Aw look at wee Aaron!

Ha!  Thought that myself when I saw that photo.  Who'd have thunk that a few years later he'd be tearing it up in Serie A?

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Armageddon

I’m still of the opinion we have a very very pointless youth system that Robbie does not see as a route for a better first team squad.

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