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Ten recruits join Glyndŵr Wrexham Football Academy ahead of new season

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Photo: Back Row (l to r) James Etherington, Trey Anderson, Derice Richards, Connor Roberts, Will Page, Matt Cook, Connor Bell, Liam Sharpe, James Rumsey, Kieron Wolland, Salvyn Kisitu, Dan Collins

Front Row (l to r) Bradley Flay, Ed Busfield, Callum Terrell, Joe Newton, Phil Davies (Physio), Dean Keates (Coach), Liam Walsh, Corey Roper, Jake Cook, Jordan Davies, Yoann Tsamas

20 July 2015

Former youth players from three Premier League clubs have joined a university football academy and four current stars are training with Wrexham FC’s first team ahead of the new season.

Midfielder Jake Cooke and forward DeRice Richards, released by Stoke City, and former Swansea City trainee Bradley Flay are among 10 new recruits to the Glyndŵr Wrexham Football Academy.

Ex-Liverpool academy right back Connor Roberts has also joined for the 2015/16 season after being released by Tamworth.

Former Wolves, Shrewsbury, Halifax Town, Prestatyn Town and Cheltenham players complete the new additions.

Existing GWFA members Corey Roper, Liam Walsh, Liam Sharpe and Joe Newton have been training with the first team squad after impressing new Dragons boss Gary Mills.

Lee Jones, director of GWFA, said: “The new players have integrated really well with the Academy and we’ve made a positive start to pre-season, winning our first game 4-2 against Llandudno.

“The Gaffer [Gary Mills] has been asking about the players’ development and has been down to watch them train a few times. To see four players drafted in to train with the first team is obviously a massive bonus for us and we’re looking forward to the season ahead.”

The Academy squad is now being coached by former Wrexham captain Dean Keates, who is combining the role with studying for a degree in sports coaching at Glyndŵr University.

Keates said: “The players are responding well to everything I’m asking them to do in training so it’s been a good start so far. Pre-season isn’t the nicest time of year to be a footballer but the lads are working hard and for me personally, the coaching complements perfectly my studies here at the university.”

The ten new additions to the GWFA squad and their previous club(s) are:

  • Jack Gibbons, goalkeeper, Wolves
  • Connor Roberts, right back, Tamworth and Liverpool
  • Bradley Flay, centre midfield, Swansea City
  • Ed Busfield, left back, FC Halifax
  • Jake Cooke, centre midfield, Stoke City
  • Trey Anderson, centre midfield, Bristol Rovers
  • Derice Richards, forward, Stoke City
  • Yoann Tsamas, left wing, Shrewsbury
  • Jordan Davies, forward, Prestatyn
  • James Ramsey, centre back, Cheltenham

All of the new players are aged 18 and will be studying at Glyndŵr University while playing for Wrexham FC or a feeder club based in the Welsh football league system. The majority of the players will be studying Sports Science.

With the backing of the Professional Football Association (PFA) and support from the League Football Education (LFE), the GWFA initiative provides players with a unique educational strategy whilst still playing and training within a full time professional football environment.

Ambassadors include former Real Madrid and England star Michael Owen, and Arsenal and Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

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