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Dons announce new scholars for 16/17

26 April 2016

The Academy has confirmed its first-year apprentices for the 2016/17 season.

Bradley Bell, Joe Evans, Tommy Hope, David Kasumu, Finn Tapp and goalkeeper Nathan Pickworth will all become full-time scholars after the summer break.

After finishing their GCSE exams in June, the players are likely to have a week off before reporting to Woughton on the Green to commence their apprenticeships with the Dons.

The group will join the second-year scholars Peter Kioso, Oran Jackson, Hugo Logan, Juma Omar, Andrew Osei-Bonsu, Sam Nombe, Harry Stratton and Brandon Thomas-Asante to form a 14-man Under-18s squad for next season.

Director of youth Mike Dove explained why it will be a testing and fast start for the youngsters.

“We try very hard to make that as smooth as we can,” he told “My job is to make sure they make the transition from schoolboy part-time to full-time apprentice.

“They come in on their school holidays and on day release at the moment so they can get used to the scholar environment. Then in the summer they will be provided with a fitness plan, which should make it a little easier to get to the level that is required for pre-season.

“They will get introduced to the League Football Education side of things with Simon Dwight – they’ll get on with an induction programme and then they will start their level two coaching badges in August.”

The players will also quickly realise – if they haven’t already – that a lot of sacrifices have to be made in the quest to becoming a professional.

Dove added: “The big issue we have is, when we offer apprenticeships, we normally have families requesting time off for the boys over the summer so they can have a family holiday – unfortunately that’s not possible.

“It’s a taste for the apprentices of some of the sacrifices you have to make if you want a professional contract.

“In Brendan Galloway’s first year as an apprentice we had a request for him to join the whole family in South Africa for a big family get together – he wasn’t allowed to go and, as it happened, he got an international call up during that time.”

Picture (l-r): Tommy Hope, Nathan Pickworth, Finn Tapp, David Kasumu, Bradley Bell and Joe Evans.

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