Aldershot Town Academy midfielder Jay Welch has today signed his first professional contract.
The Reading-born 17 year-old, who has been with the Club since the age of 11, has been rewarded for a series of impressive performances this season with promotion to Andy Scott’s first-team squad. Although primarily a central midfielder, Welch has recently also played a number of games at centre-back.
“Jay has done really well and he deserves it,” praised Academy Manager Scott Harrison. “He’s a very good midfielder but he also gives us something in defence. He’s adaptable, he’s got a good footballing brain and can play both positions comfortably. He reads the game well, he anticipates things and has good technique and passing ability – he’s got everything.
“This shows that our programme is working really well. The first-team have been really good to us, we’ve had a lot of boys being given opportunities. We hope that Jay is just the first player to make that step-up. We’ve already had another two or three players involved with the first-team this season.”
“I’m so chuffed. I’ve been waiting so long for this moment and all of my hard work has paid off,” said Welch. “But now all of that hard work starts again. Scott (Harrison) and Marc (Wardley, Academy Coach) have really pushed me, and this is thanks to them. I hope to be on the bench tomorrow (against Torquay United) and that would be a great experience for me. I would be so proud.”