Tunstall footballer signs for Sunderland academy

Richmond School and Sixth Form college student Josh Coburn, 14, of Tunstall.

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Richmond School and Sixth Form student Josh Coburn has signed a two-year deal with Sunderland Football Academy.

The 14-year-old, of Tunstall, near Catterick garrison, has played with the club’s academy side since the age of 11 and impressed coaches after finishing the season with a total of 34 goals, scoring in his final game at Elland Road against Leeds United.

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Centre forward Josh, who began his footballing career with Richmond Town Under 7s said: “I was so pleased when my contract finally came through the door.

“I knew a few people in my year group had been released and heard that others had already received their contracts but I hadn’t heard anything.

“Now I can concentrate on my game and hopefully push to secure a scholarship at 16 and then a full professional contract.”

Josh, who also plays for the school’s Year 9 team, helping them to secure double success in the league and area cup this season, travels to the Academy of Light four nights a week after school to train and attends a day-release session at the club, for additional academic studies, every Wednesday.

“Because I live so far away I have to stay overnight near the academy every Tuesday,” said Josh.

“It’s hard work fitting in all the training after school but my teachers and parents, who come to watch as many games as they can for the school and the academy, have been really supportive.

“My ultimate aim would be to one day emulate my sporting hero Wayne Rooney and maybe play as a striker for my favourite team Man United.”

PE teacher Jonathan Kellett added: “Josh has done fantastically well this season; 34 goals for Sunderland is a massive achievement.

“He is a great athlete, never misses training and loves to represent our school and his club. His attitude and behaviour are exemplary and he is a real ambassador for our school and for Sunderland and I hope that he pushes on to even greater success.”