Harvey Rhoades can’t wait to be “living and breathing football” for the next two years after securing a scholarship with Aston Villa
He is delighted to have achieved his goal of the full-time placement, having been working towards it for the last nine years.
And it will mean Harvey, 16, will move into a host family in Birmingham in July ready for the next exciting stage of his sporting career.
“It’s going to be my job playing football for the next two years and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Harvey, who knows there is still a long road ahead on the way to achieving his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
“I’ll need to step up the levels as I’ll need to try and force my way into the Aston Villa under 18s first.
“Then I will then need to fight for a pro-contract, which is what the last eight or nine years have been about.”
He signed his first junior contract with the club back in 2013 when he was an eight-year-old pupil at Rokeby Junior School and has continued to impress with his skills and attitude ever since.
Parents Marc and Claire are extremely proud of his achievement, being offered the scholarship following a meeting with the Academy Manager and other high profile coaches, who all gave feedback on his development over the last two years.
Dad Marc explained: “This has been a tough couple of years for Harvey as he must train three times a week and play a game on a Saturday at Bodymoor Heath – or anywhere down as far as Brighton.
“With the added pressure of GCSEs and the pandemic to contend with, Harvey deserves a massive amount of credit for keeping everything going.”
Harvey is a student at Bilton School, who have supported him when he needed his day a week at Villa and ensured that if needed schoolwork was sent with him.
Marc added: “One aim he had back in 2019 was to have no regrets, so to train hard, wanting to learn and never give up as scholarships are the ultimate, especially after being at Villa for the last nine years. As his dad I have seen his improvements on the pitch and how he has improved physically and become harder to beat.”
He said over the season Harvey has played left or right back and on the odd occasion centre back and never looked out of his depth in any position, always looking comfortable on the ball.
He added: “All of his family are immensely proud of his achievement as scholarships are so hard to come by. Harvey’s dream goes on!”
l On Sunday in the Rugby & District Football League, results were: Hillmorton 2 Rugby Celts 1, George 1 The Bell 0 and Webb Ellis 1 Royal Oak 2. This week: Royal Oak v Community Relations, Celts v George and Bell v Hillmorton.