A 17-year-old footballer from Jersey has signed a professional contract with Premier League team Fulham FC, just days after receiving his first senior call-up to the Welsh national team.
Midfielder Luke Harris, who also played internationally for Wales at under-19 level, had long been touted as 'one to watch'.
Last season, he scored 13 goals across 18 appearances for Fulham in its Under-23 team, making him the fourth highest scorer in the division.
As a result, he was called to take part in pre-season friendlies with the senior team, notably winning a penalty in a 2-0 win over OGC Nice.
This performance, as well as a later hat-trick against Chelsea’s U21 side, caught the attention of Wales coach Rob Page.
???????????????????????????? Senior @Cymru call-up.— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) September 16, 2022
???? Goal in the #PL Cup.
✍️ First professional deal at #FFC.
A week in the life of Luke Harris. pic.twitter.com/YiZ9ZIYgJT
Harris’ footballing journey started in Jersey.
Before joinig the Fulham Academy, he played a key role in the St. Clement’s Primary School team.
Richard Heaven, who then managed the team and is now the school’s headteacher, recalled: “He was such a skilful player.
“He could play with his left and right foot - his skills and ball control were fantastic.
“He was one of those people who was just a sporting talent - I think if you gave him a badminton racket or table tennis bat, he’d probably pick them up in an instant.
“He won the primary school cross-country championships in both the autumn and spring races, and the long-distance race in the primary school athletics championships too.”
One of the most memorable Jersey footballing wins was the Danone Nations Cup in 2016 (pictured top is Luke lifting the cup), when the team became first side from Jersey to win that competition.
“We were losing 2-1 in the first group game, and I remember, in the last minute, Luke scored a thumping header. It just showed his determination to play right to the final whistle,” Mr Heaven said.
“That goal had a real impact on the whole team: it galvanised and lifted the team for the rest of the day, and we went on to win our quarter-final, semi-final and the final, which we won on penalties.”
Speaking about his professional signing to Fulham’s club website, Harris said: "I'm really pleased to extend my time here at Fulham having been here from a young age."
A pro deal for @lukeharris2005! ????????????????????????????— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) September 16, 2022
Ours until the summer of 2025. ????#FFC
He continued: "I couldn’t have done it without my parents who sacrificed a lot for me, driving me away on the weekends as a young kid, so they deserve a lot of credit. I’m enjoying my football and I'm very excited for what lies ahead.
"The Club means a lot to me and my family. I’m grateful to Fulham as they’ve given me opportunities and helped me progress from the Academy right through to the First Team."
From open-bus to top-flight: the rise of Jersey's Luke Harris
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