Hastings United prospect signs for Premier League club
Hastings United prospect Benn Ward has signed a two-year scholarship with Premier League Burnley.
Following an impressive pre-season, the 16-year-old midfielder stormed into the Hastings United first team making ten appearances this season to help the team to the top of the Isthmian south east division before non-league football's latest shutdown.
Ward will join the Clarets' academy with immediate effect in a move that's in association with MONDO Sports Management.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted to have signed for Premier League club Burnley. Last summer, I joined Hastings United (my hometown club) after chats with Chris (Agutter - first team manager), appreciating his philosophy and the role he saw for me in thefiirst team at just 16. I’ll always be extremely grateful to him, the club and the fans for believing in me and giving me the opportunity.
"I also want to thank my parents and family for everything, without their support I wouldn’t be here today. And the same goes to my agents at MONDO Sports Management who worked hard to get me scouted and then pull the deal together with Burnley.
"I can’t wait to get started and do everyone proud!”
Billy Wood, CEO of Hastings United, said: “I would like to congratulate Benn on such an exciting move. Since coming to the Us he has shown maturity above his years around the club, both on and off the pitch.
"Benn’s move is another shining example that Hastings United Football Club not only trusts young players to grasp the opportunity but is a club very much on the radar of professional football clubs, highlighting the talent within our first team and academy.
"Over the past few years we have had players out on trial at Premier League and Championship clubs and have seen a handful make the step up to professional football, however Benn’s move will be seen as the most prolific so far and we are all behind him.
"I would like to put on record the support and work of MONDO. Player representatives sometimes get tarnished by the nature of the business, however the team there have been a pleasure to deal with - aA team dedicated to their players but with an understanding of where they are coming from, quite a delight to what I have had to deal with previously. Both MONDO and Burnley Football Club have shown class throughout this process, the way it should be done.
"Benn - go wear the claret and blue with pride and make this town proud! Be an example to your generation and the next at the Hastings United Academy."
United manager Agutter said: “I am so happy for Benn, he is such a hungry and hard-working young man who from day one has put his personality and will on the team. Benn is a very likeable man who we all will be willing on to do his absolute best at Burnley.
"While Benn will be missed, the amazing work within the Academy continues meaning we have no short of supply of talented young men striving to take his spot.”
Elliott Raggio, director of MONDO Sports Management, said: “The whole team at MONDO Sports Management are extremely proud to announce Benn’s move into the Premier League. Benn is one of the hardest working, most focused young prospects we have had the pleasure in working with, and this move is nothing less than thoroughly deserved for his dedication and patience.
"We would like to thank Billy and Chris at Hastings United for always putting Benn and their players first. Nick and Jon at Burnley FC for really believing in Benn and giving him the opportunity. And thank must also go to Benn’s previous coaches; Gary Mansell and Sas Parsad for giving Benn their support over the past couple of years. It has been an enjoyable and seamless transfer, and this is a credit to all parties involved.
"Congratulations again to Benn and his family - he will no doubt go on to inspire the next generation of local talent in Sussex to make it into the elite Professional game.”
Hastings United thanked Burnley FC and wished them all the best for the rest of the 2020-21 season.