A Buckswood School student has signed a professional contract with one of the top clubs in Latvia.
Hyeokjun Lee, from South Korea, returned to the Guestling-based school this week for a grand farewell after a successful trial for FK Ventspils, the national champions of 2013 and 2014.
I’d really like to thank Buckswood for making my dream a reality.Hyeokjun Lee
The club has won six league titles and six Latvian cups, and in 2009 Ventspils became the first Latvian club to participate in the group stages of a UEFA competition.
Lee is the youngest player in the team and has been living with other squad members in Latvia since his trial in early January. He has impressed the coaches and featured on national television after scoring a blinding goal.
Lee and his family visited Buckswood last Friday and the whole school was very proud of its latest footballing star.
“Buckswood has really helped me prepare for this,” said Lee. “Most of the other players are Latvian, but I am having no problems in training or living with my team-mates as we all speak in English.
“Going to an international school has meant that this huge step has been much easier for me to cope with as I am already used to working with peers from different backgrounds and cultures.
“I’d really like to thank Buckswood for making my dream a reality and my coach Daryl Willard has really brought my game on to the point where I have signed a professional three-year contract.”
Buckswood School is home to two successful football academies. The junior academy is run by Chelsea Football Club Foundation, and offers coaching for girls and boys aged 11-13.
The junior football academy feeds directly into the senior academy for players aged 14-18 run by Buckswood director of football, UEFA pro licensed coach Willard.
Willard previously worked at Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur before moving to Azerbaijan at the invitation of ex-England and Arsenal captain Tony Adams to coach a top flight club. He subsequently became sporting director at the Football Association.
“With Daryl’s contacts across the professional football spectrum, Buckswood’s academy scholars are being seen regularly by Premier League scouts, and the opportunities and experiences that those connections bring means that the academy players are really living the football dream,” said Buckswood headteacher Mr Redsell.
“We have already had seven Premiership and Professional trials last term, and this year looks more promising with players taking trials in Europe and beyond.”
To support the football academies, Buckswood has just invested in £200,000 worth of high tech gym equipment and is looking forward to welcoming new players this term, including some from the Under-17 World Cup.
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