September 30 2014 Latest news:
Robin Cottle, Reporter
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Teenager Jake Burgess has won a contract at Leyton Orient after beating off more than 5,700 other hopefuls in the Samsung Win A Pro Contract competition.
The 16-year-old from Salisbury in Wiltshire made it through a series of regional trials and assessment days before competing in an 11-a-side match at Orient’s Brisbane Road ground last month.
Burgess was one of two players selected for an intensive boot camp training session with the first team squad and Russell Slade chose him as the O’s latest signing.
He said: “I didn’t expect to win so when I was told by Russell I was shocked.
“It’s an absolute dream come true to be a professional footballer. I got straight on the phone to tell my grandparents the news.
“I can’t wait to get started. For now I’m going to be dedicating my time to working on my fitness in the gym and playing as much football as possible before joining with the squad when the real work starts.”
Burgess, who is currently on the books of Conference Premier outfit Salisbury City, will join up with the first team squad in the next couple of months before signing his professional contract in June.
Slade said he selected Burgess because of his “attitude throughout the whole process.”
He added: “When he came in to train and play with us, he showed that he had ability to work with and hopefully we can develop it.
“I’m really pleased for Jake and his family and hopefully he seizes the opportunity with both hands.”
Burgess follows in the footsteps of Jack Sherratt, who won last year’s competition. The midfielder is currently on loan at Stalybridge Celtic in Conference North.
Two youngsters will also win contracts at partner clubs Swindon Town and Wycombe Wanderers.
Sky Sports will be showing a three-part documentary on Samsung’s competition later this year.