Brooklyn Ilunga has put pen-to-paper on a new contract to extend his future with MK Dons.
Ilunga, 19, has been with the Football Club since the age of seven and progressed through the Academy ranks before signing professional terms for the first time in October 2021.
“I’m buzzing to sign a new contract,” the versatile left-footer told iFollow MK Dons. “I’ve been here since seven years old so to be able to continue learning and developing here means everything to me and my family.
“It has been good to get some experience and minutes out on loan the last two seasons and I’m grateful to Royston, Hemel Hempstead and Wealdstone for giving me those opportunities.
“I’m focused on a positive end to the season with Wealdstone and making sure I can hit the ground running when I come back for pre-season, so I can give myself the best chance to make an impact at first-team level next season.”
Since his debut against Rochdale on the final day of the 2020/21 season, Ilunga has made 10 senior appearances in an MK Dons shirt, including six starts – one of which came during this season’s Papa John’s Trophy tie with Cheltenham Town at Stadium MK.
He has spent the majority of this campaign out on loan at Hemel Hempstead Town and, most recently, National League side Wealdstone, where he has already registered four assists in six appearances for the Stones.
Sporting Director Liam Sweeting said: “I am delighted that we have been able to reward Brook with a second professional contract.
“This season we have utilised opportunities for players to go out on loan to experience not only a more physically demanding style of football, but also experience the mentality shift in what is required when winning matters at a senior level. Whilst not every player will go out on loan, it provides an important learning experience for our boys to stretch their capabilities in adapting to a diverse environment and learn how to apply their strengths.
“Brook is one of the very best examples to look to with the progress he has made. Since joining us from the age of seven, and working his way up through the ranks to sign a professional contract in October 2021, he has trained with the first team every day and experienced youth loans at Step 3, Step 2 and now, currently, Step 1.
“While Brooklyn has been on loan at these levels, we have adopted a hybrid training programme that has allowed him to train with both our first team and the loan club for the further benefit of his continued development.
“Brooklyn’s mentality and character has played a huge part in this process as he has bought into each club’s culture and applied himself excellently at each level. His success so far has seen him rewarded with a second professional contract and we very much look forward to further developing him towards his goal of establishing himself in the First Team.”
Head Coach Mark Jackson said: “It’s important that we secure the futures of our talented young players and Brooklyn is certainly one of those players with high potential at the Football Club.
“Since I've come in, he has been out on loan but I’ve still been able to see him two or three days a week in training.
“These loans can be really important for our younger players, getting the experience of playing first-team football. Brooklyn is certainly getting that and he’s stepped up and performed at every level during his different loans.
“We’re delighted for Brooklyn and it's been well deserved, but this is just the start of another journey for him. He’s got to keep his work-rate high and make sure he is ready to try and impact the first-team when he comes back to us in the summer.”
Sweeting added: “It is important we’re able to celebrate these stories of development as so many people from Brooklyn’s family, friends, coaches, medical professionals, educators and operational support staff have contributed – and of course, we hope there’s much more to come!”