Several Vale Academy players have recently made steps towards a career in top flight football by moving to Premier League clubs.
Goalkeeper James Storer has been with the Academy for just over four years, progressing through the under nine to the under 13 teams. He has now joined Wolves for a fee that has been described as 'above the going rate' for a player of his age.
Herbie James, from Congleton, was spotted by Vale scouts playing for Congleton Rovers and signed for the Academy in 2016. The 11-year-old striker received rave reviews for his performances with the Academy junior teams and attracted interest from several north-west based Premier League clubs before deciding to join Manchester City for an undisclosed fee.
Herbie follows in the footsteps of Academy player Joel Ndala who joined Manchester City for a handsome fee in 2017.
Academy FDP Lead Coach Lee Foyle has expressed his delight at the progress made by these players.
He said: “Whilst it might be considered a little disappointing that these young lads have not stayed at the Vale, it is a tribute to our scouts and coaching staff that we can identify and develop talent that is recognised by some of the leading clubs in the country.”
The compensation that the Club receives in situations like this is dictated by a formula set by the Premer League, but for each of these players, Academy Manager Sevvy Aslam has been able to negotiate with the clubs involved to secure payments noticeably higher than predicted.
He said: “We hope that the fees paid for these young lads will not be a burden which will hinder their development.
“If they continue to progress with their new clubs there is a real chance that they could become Premier League stars of the future.”
One ex-Academy player who has already made good progress is Jacob Twyford, who joined the Vale Academy at under 10 level and subsequently moved to Stoke for a modest fee.
Jacob has just signed his first professional contract with the Potters and this has entitled the Vale to a further compensation payment.
The Vale Academy was rated 33rd in the country and 10th for productivity out of 38 category three clubs, as a result of a Football League study last season.
A remarkable achievement for a League Two club and testimony to the dedication and hard work of everyone in the Academy.