A Salford teenager has signed a contract at Premier League side Everton; Jay Smith, 13, from Worsley, has signed for the Merseyside club after putting in impressive performances for Irlam JFC U14 boys team.
It was while he was playing for Irlam where he was scouted by Everton, following a game between the Salford based club and the Toffees at U14 level.
He then successfully completed a trial to sign for the club and receive his contract.
We are extremely proud to announce Jay Smith from our 14s has signed a contract with @Everton ⚽️🔥
Wishing you all the luck for the future, what an amazing achievement 👏🏽⚽️ pic.twitter.com/HTBcowmxoK
— Irlam JFC (@IrlamJFC) November 12, 2020
Jay, who plays at right-back, also represented the Salford schoolboys team, and parents Roxanne and Dino Smith say they couldn’t be prouder of their son, especially after the disappointment of missing out following a trial at Liverpool last year.
D. Smith said: “We’re over the moon to be honest. He had a disappointment last year with Liverpool last year where he didn’t get in, so we had our guard up thinking it could happen again so we were ecstatic when we found out he got it.
“To have someone else have the believe in your kid like we do is just so, so nice. He fully deserves it.
“I think what makes it more impressive for Jay is that he was scouted from a grassroots team, that doesn’t happen as much any more, the players are usually scouted from other academies.”
Jay has played at Irlam for two years and his manager, Ryan Hutchinson, who is also the chairman of Irlam Junior Football Club has also expressed his pride at yet another player signing for an academy from the club.
Hutchinson Said: “We’re dead proud. That’s what we do it for. It’s our aim to help players play at the highest possible level we can. Jay isn’t the first and won’t be the last.
“I’ve had my U14 team sine U6 and I’ve seen 11 players move into academies, it’s why us coaches do what we do.
“Jay’s now got that opportunity and I was the first to congratulate him. I just told him that the hard work starts now, he’s a top, top kid and he’s got an opportunity now which nobody will ever be able to take away from him.”
Irlam have an impressive name when it comes to grassroots football, with teams regularly invited to Premier League clubs for friendlies, similar to the one in which Jay was scouted.
They have junior sides running from U7 to U16, as well as an U18 and U21 teams, all which feed into the first team who play in the North West Counties League, and are based at Silver Street.
This set up as well as the standard of football was something D.Smith was keen to praise.
He said: “Irlam have been great. Before them Jay played for other grassroots team but once we joined Irlam it was a different level. The standard was a step above and Jay developed even further, learning stuff off the other kids as well as the coaches.
“If you’re not in an academy it’s the best club to be at. The coaches, the kids and the parents are all great and I couldn’t recommend them enough.”
Jay is currently training at his new club, with restrictions in place, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
D.Smith said: “He loves it, he loves the new challenge.”
The future is promising for Jay and he says his dream is to be a Premier League player at some point in his career.
He said: “It’s every kid’s dream, isn’t it? and hopefully one day he can get there.”