A hugely promising teenage footballer from Rye has signed a contract extension at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Lewis Carpenter, 14, was snapped up by the Seagulls in June 2012 and has now been asked to extend his stay at the Championship club for another two years.
Proud mum Kerry said: “Lewis is a very modest child and has never once gloated about his ability. He has made huge sacrifices that I believe should be applauded.
“He travels a lot to train and play matches which leaves him very little time for friends. His motivation and dedication to Brighton is astounding; very early starts very late finishes and keeping up with his usual school work.”
Lewis has played football since the age of five, representing Tilling Green Infant School (where his mum was the coach) through Freda Gardham Primary School and now for Rye College.
Lewis began playing for Rye Bay FC when he was six and has had many a great season with the club. He was then approached by Andy Stoodley at Albion in the Community to have extra coaching sessions with them and through this he was asked to trial for Brighton aged 11.
After completing what ended up being an eight-week trial, Lewis was offered a place on the team. Sadly, and with a very heavy heart, his mum declined due to transport and other family commitments.
Lewis continued playing for Rye Bay for another two seasons and helped them twice win their league and cups. In his last season he scored a massive 103 goals, a figure not including any tournaments they also entered.
Lewis was then asked to attend Albion in the Community invitation-only training sessions with Chris Agutter and he subsequently joined Agutter’s Best Academy team, briefly playing a year up and excelling in every avenue.
This was when he again heard from Brighton and was invited to the American Express Community Stadium.Lewis was on the spot asked to join the academy without even trialling.
He signed a year’s contract last June for the under-14s and has since played against teams such as Millwall, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Southampton, Portsmouth and QPR. He also travelled to Lisbon in February to play against Benfica.
Kerry added: “As a single mum, I struggled with funding and time to commit. But after declining the offer two years previously, I felt this was an opportunity my son could not miss.”