Promising young footballer Ben Godfrey has signed for League Two club Mansfield Town.
The 12-year-old joined the Stags’ elite age group squad after impressing at a series of trials.
Ben is an avid Leicester City fan and season ticket-holder with dad Phil, but looked to Mansfield after watching their first team train at Brooksby Melton College during pre-season.
Phil contacted the Nottinghamshire club who invited Ben to shadow squad sessions with their under 13s.
Despite playing up an age group, he was promoted to elite squad training and friendlies where he impressed coaches enough to be offered a place with their elite squad.
Ben said: “I’m really excited and honoured to be part of a professional club.
“I was made to feel very welcome by all of the elite squad players, but I know it’s a lot of responsibility and the hard work starts now.”
Ben, from Great Dalby, started playing football as a seven-year-old with Mowbray Rangers.
He spent several seasons with the Asfordby Hill club before joining local rivals the Melton Foxes at the start of this campaign.
The move also brought a positional change on the field for the Long Field Academy pupil, shifting from his accustomed central midfield role to striker.
The ploy seems to have worked wonders and Ben has already chalked up 18 goals this term.
As wells as his duties with the Foxes, he also travels to Mansfield every Tuesday for two-hour training sessions, which will extend to two evenings a week when 11-a-side football begins next season.
Ben turns out for the Stags against elite age group sides from other clubs and has so far played against Doncaster Rovers, Everton, Boston United and Grimsby Town.
He added: “I hope working with Mansfield will give me the right training and back-up and make sure I continue to improve my skills by playing with and against better players.”
Brooksby Melton College runs a successful academy with Mansfield Town for post-16 elite level footballers who want to study and gain qualifications while developing their game.
The college’s academy allows player to compete in several different competitions, including the Conference Alliance, Football League Youth Alliance, North Midland Development League and FA Youth Cup.