Weston youngsters Ryan Jones and Ben Griffith sign first senior contracts
PUBLISHED: 15:15 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:16 26 May 2020
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Weston have awarded Academy graduates Ryan Jones and Ben Griffith their first senior contracts with the club.
Winger Jones made 14 appearances after being drafted into Scott Bartlett’s first-team set-up last summer where he scored three goals and assisted a further two.
Striker Griffith gained playing time with Western League sides Clevedon Town and Cheddar last season, as well as making five appearances for the Seagulls, including all of the second half of their Somerset Premier Cup quarter-final victory over Taunton Town.
“We are delighted to hand Ben and Ryan their first senior contracts,” said Bartlett.
“Both have spent a lot of time with us during last season and fully deserve the opportunity to continue their development within our first-team environment.
“Both are exciting prospects and have shown a good mentality since joining the group and grew in confidence as the season progressed, which is credit to them.”
The Seagulls have set up a programme with Weston College to help the under-19s balance football and education and Bartlett has said there will be opportunities for the teenagers to come into the side like Jones has.
“Ryan has benefited from full-time coaching within our under-19 programme with Weston College and represented his country at college level,” Bartlett added.
“As part of our under-19 programme, our players train twice a week with the first-team group so it’s a great opportunity for them to play with and against the likes of ‘Lairdy’, Symons, Knowles etc.
“As we continue to piece together next season’s squad, we will be speaking to other members of the under-19s. We have some talented boys throughout the youth system.”
Jones, upon signing his first contract with Weston, was left delighted that all the hard work he has put in had been rewarded.
“I was surprised to begin with but extremely happy, I’ve worked really hard to impress,” he said.
“The gaffer and Lairdy said at the start of last season that if I keep working hard, I will get my rewards and I am looking forward to it.
“Our under-19 programme is brilliant and I learned a lot last season being involved with the first-team squad and staff and from Macca (Mark McKeever) and I can’t wait to get back playing again.”
Griffith, who has been with Weston since he was 12, says it is a dream come true to sign for his childhood club.
“It feels great to have signed after coming through the youth set-up and being around the club for so long,” he said.
“It’s been an enjoyable few years and hopefully there is more enjoyable moments to come.
“The first-team lads treated us really well and helped us settle in. The manager and Lairdy have created an atmosphere that is easy to come into and I can’t wait to get going.”
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