Bath College student Ollie Bassett has signed a professional contract with Yeovil Town just three months after making his debut with the first team.
The 17-year-old became Yeovil’s youngest ever football league player when he played for the team against Crawley Town in September.
He has secured a future with Yeovil Town until June 2017 and will also continue studying for a BTEC Level 3 sports qualification at Bath College.
Bath College lecturer Paul Blenkinsopp said: “It’s really good for him and it’s really good that we can say we have a professional player studying with us.
“I would say he’s very focused as a player. With Ollie, he’s a down to earth kid – there’s no airs or graces about him.
“He comes in to work hard and the staff get on well with him. He’s one of those boys where you’re happy it’s happened to him.”
Bath College runs two football academies in partnership with Southampton and Bath City FC, giving students the chance to play against top teams.
Players at the Southampton academy train with Yeovil two days a week and play for the Yeovil under 18s team on Saturday.
The signing signals a bright future for Ollie, from Packington, Leicestershire, who came to Bath after playing at Aston Villa’s academy.
He said: “After the Crawley game I didn’t know it was coming, but I thought there was a good chance they would offer me something.
“I played the following week against Hartlepool and I was just hoping they would offer me something.
“It’s a good opportunity. I didn’t get a scholarship at Aston Villa so I might have just packed it in, but Southampton gave me a second chance.
“It’s good to get a college course behind you in case it doesn’t work out. I have something to fall back on.
“I’m excited to start full-time next year. I’m looking forward to playing football five days a week.”
Ollie’s signing has created a buzz in the sports department at Bath College and has been an inspiration for other students there.
Mr Blenkinsopp said: “He could at the end of that, if he does well, get offered a three to four year deal. Or another club might see him and want to offer him something.
“As well as educating them, hopefully football-wise we’re giving them some good opportunities to progress.
“Obviously we want to get players back into football. Originally Ollie came from the Aston Villa Academy.
“He’s technically a very good player. He probably didn’t make it at Aston Villa because of his size, but over the next few years he will develop that.
“It’s good for our students here. It shows that it can be done for the ones that work hard there is an opportunity to get back into the game.”