Ex-Arsenal trialist wins scholarship

A talented teenager has beaten off competition from a host of budding footballers to land a place at a top football academy

Former Arsenal trialist Brandon Taverner has won a scholarship worth £42,000 with the FootballCV Academy.

The 17-year-old’s talent had previously earned him trials with the Gunners and League Two side Barnet, but he failed to secure a contract with either club.

More after the break

Undeterred Taverner continued to work at his game and it’s paid off with the left-footed forward earning another shot at football stardom.

After coming through regional trials in Manchester, the Midlands and London, 24 finalists were put through their paces at the Borderville Sports Complex – the home of the FCV Academy – last weekend and it was Taverner who stood out from the crowd. 

The Tottenham fan - who cites Gareth Bale as his hero - impressed in a series of drills and tests designed to measure the finalists’ skills and personalities, before scoring twice in a showpiece match on Sunday. 

His performance caught the eye of a judging panel that included former West Ham, Everton and Leicester City striker Tony Cottee, earning him the two-year scholarship. 

“We all unanimously agreed on Brandon,” said Cottee. “He scored the first goal and was a real threat; he's got a fantastic left foot.

“He was the real stand-out player - there were two or three other good performances, but he was consistently the best player.”

For Tavener the hard work starts now. “I’m excited, this is the break I’ve needed for such a long time and I’m going to keep working to get to the level I want to,” he vowed. 

"I went to a couple of trials at Barnet and Arsenal, I didn't get picked up but I didn't give up; I knew an opportunity would come around again and it has. I can't wait to get started.”

The FootballCV Academy opened in 2007 and offers academic football courses for aspiring footballers aged 16 and over.  A number of graduates have gone on to play professional football in the UK and Europe.

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