Ronnie Sandford has put pen to paper on his first professional contract with MK Dons.
Sandford, 17, joined the Club at the age of nine and progressed through the Academy ranks before signing scholarship terms in August 2021.
The goalkeeper, who spent the majority of last season training with the first-team, has also completed a season-long loan move to Southern League Division One Centreal side Hertford Town.
“I have been at the Club since I was nine so to sign my first professional contract here is a dream come true,” Sandford told iFollow MK Dons.
“I have loved my time here so far so I am delighted to be extending my stay at the Club. I am very excited for this next chapter and hopefully what is to come.
“I feel I have matured as a player and a person during my time training with the first team. I still have a long way to go so I am looking forward to going on loan to experience men's football and continue improving.”
Sandford joins Jack Davies, Brooklyn Ilunga and Lewis Johnson to make it four MK Dons Academy graduates in the current senior squad, and becomes the Club’s first home-grown goalkeeper to sign professional terms since Charlie Burns in 2014.
Sporting Director Liam Sweeting said: “Ronnie has had a unique experience by being around the First Team continually for the last 12 months and that, coupled with his progress through the age groups in our Academy, has seen him earn this next step in earning a professional contract with us.
“Myself, Liam, Lewis Price and Jon Goodman have discussed what is next for Ronnie, and that included a loan opportunity to experience competitive football at a senior men’s level. He is certainly ready for that and I look forward to watching his development as he continues his journey towards our First Team.”
Head Coach Liam Manning added: “This is a special moment for Ronnie and his family and comes as a result of hard-work and a fantastic attitude during his time in and around the first-team last season and this summer.
“He is a player with a lot of potential and, working with Lewis Price and the other goalkeepers, we are looking forward to seeing him progress and develop at the start of his professional journey.”
Goalkeeper Coach Lewis Price said: “Ronnie has shown real progress since coming into the first-team environment. He is young lad but he has done really well and coped with everything that has been thrown at him.
“First and foremost, I love his attitude and his willingness to learn. His distribution is excellent and while I think he can improve on his right foot, he has shown real bravery and quality on his left. His shot-stopping is very good for a player of his age and that will only improve as he gets further experience in Men’s football.”
Academy Jon Goodman also commented: “We are delighted that Ronnie has signed a professional contract with the Club.
"His progress with us has been rapid, especially since working with Liam Manning and, in Ronnie's case in particular, Lewis Price. He is on an accelerated learning programme but has demonstrated maturity beyond his years.
"He is well aware that he has a lot more developing to do but he's in a brilliant place to do so and we are looking forward to seeing him fulfil that potential."