Brighton & Hove Albion academy manager John Morling is thrilled with the latest batch of first-year scholars, as the club seeks to produce more players that are ready for first-team football.
A total of 12 new first-year scholars will challenge for places in Ian Buckman's under-18 squad this season - the fixtures for which were announced earlier today.
Owen Moore (Stanford-le-Hope, Essex), Rian O'Sullivan (Tralee, Ireland), Luis Garcia (Gran Canaria), Jayson Molumby (County Waterford, Ireland), Thomas Byrne (Dunleer, Ireland), David Ajiboye (Croydon) and Daniel Mandriou (Dublin, Ireland) have all arrived at the club this summer.
While Reece Meekums (Brighton), Danny Barker (Brighton), George Hobbs (Southwick), Max Sanders (Horsham) and Archie Davies (St Leonards), have continued their progression through the ranks at Albion's academy.
The 12 first-year scholars alongside eight second-year scholars will form Buckman's under-18 squad, and Morling is thrilled with the newly formed under-18 squad and revealed the impressive efforts undertaken to bring in the new talented youngsters to the club.
He told seagulls.co.uk, "It seems that every year we're getting stronger and stronger. I'm very pleased; it's a very good intake, similar to the quality of last year but a higher number.
"We have a mixture of players that have been at the club for many years as well as recruiting new ones, who in some cases, we had to compete with Premier League clubs for.
“We now have a very exciting group of players at under-18 level and we're still looking to add one or two more defenders."
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Morling spoke about the lengthy process involved in signing players for the younger age groups and explained how it is very much a team effort.
"When signing scholars, we have to consider what players are above them in the same position, as well as the players that are below them in the same position.
"A lot of work goes into signing a player; firstly the recruitment department scout the players and then every other department helps to influence the player to come to Brighton.
"The recruitment, education, sports science, strength and conditioning, coaching, goalkeeper coaching, medical, psychology and administration departments all create one big package to convince them that Brighton & Hove Albion is the place for them."
The structure of the academy coaching staff has changed slightly ahead of the upcoming campaign, and Morling explained how vital it is to have the right staff in the right age groups.
"We have good staff here and that's a big part of our short-term success. Simon Rusk moved up to coach the under-21s towards the end of last season and is assisted by club stalwart Vic Bragg.
"Ian Buckman has done a great job with the 13-16 age group and has moved up to the under-18s. He is assisted by Adam Hinshelwood, who played 113 games for the club.
"They are straightforward progressions in the same way that Ben Smith has done really well for the under-18s as an assistant and is now leading the under-15s and 16s alongside Mark Beard.
"James Baxter has moved up to coach the under-13s and 14s, Matt Dunn has been brought in to oversee the under-9s and 10s and Matt Bennett will be with the under-11s and 12s.
"We now have great staff members in all departments and it promises to be another very exciting year.
"We are now determined to provide the manager with a few more players that are ready to make the step to the first team when required."