Bath College second year sports student James Ollis has taken the next step in his football career and has signed for Bath City FC’s first team.
James joined the college as part of the Bath City Football Academy – set up for young players interested in developing a professional sports career.
He has been working hard to impress and make the most of opportunities to play for Bath City FC.
The 17-year-old shone during a cup game against Cheddar FC, and as a result, was asked to be on the bench for the league game against Dartford.
He said: It’s amazing really because I’ve been working for something like this pretty much my whole life.
“Over the last two years especially, it’s been the goal I’ve been trying to achieve. Hopefully I can push on for years to come with Bath City.”
James, from Bristol, will be training regularly with Bath City FC’s first team, and will continue to train with the Bath City Football Academy.
Students at the football academy complete a national diploma in sport at Bath College and play at least one match every week.
The two-year programme prepares students for higher education or for employment in the sport and fitness industry.
Last year, Bath College footballer Saikou Janneh was offered a three-month trial with Bristol City.
James, who has been playing football since the age of four, said: “Since I’ve come to Bath College I’ve progressed a lot.
“I’ve been playing in the positions I want to play in, and having team mates believe in you gives you the confidence to start believing in yourself.
“We’re training every day. At the start it can be quite a lot of work, but then your body gets used to it and that’s when you start to improve.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to train with Bath City FC and getting more opportunities to play. The more you play, the more you’re able to manage your nerves and perform under pressure.”
Former Bristol Rovers player Billy Clark is head coach at the Bath City Football Academy, and has been impressed with James’ progress.
He said: “To sign to play for Bath City FC, you need to be a player with outstanding ability because you’re going into a tough league where you’re playing against semi-professional players.
“James has an outstanding attitude. He has worked hard and I’ve seen him improve, in terms of his character and his playing over the last year.
“It’s a long process and it’s just a question of staying with the academy programme, listening and learning, and applying yourself in the right way.”