The class of 2014 officially signed their new deals at a special event at the Etihad Stadium, before returning to pre-season training this week as part of Jason Wilcox’s under-18 squad.
The event was an opportunity to celebrate their achievements with proud family and friends, while the youngsters also listened to inspirational speeches from Academy Director, Mark Allen and their new Head Coach, Wilcox about the challenges and rewards that await.
Mark Allen said: “Being a scholar here and being part of this club is about being one family, being one team and it’s about belonging to a club that fights to the very end.
“Work starts now, and it’s going to be hard. But it should mark the start of probably the most remembered, happiest times of your lives. You’ve got the chance to play football on a daily basis for a football club that wants to develop you, and wants to see youth progress.”
Jason Wilcox added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the lads on becoming first year scholars.
"It’s a marvellous achievement and one which must not be underestimated, especially at this football club where the standards are extremely high.
“Appreciate the opportunity you have been given, always remember who you’re representing and make sure at the end of the two years of your scholarship that you live the rest of your life with no regrets. That means working hard every day.”
This is the first age-group to benefit from City’s ground-breaking partnership with St Bede’s school, which was designed to blend daily football training alongside first class academic education.
A record-breaking year for the Academy suggests the programme is already beginning to bear fruit. City became the first club ever to see seven boys capped for England at u16 level during a single season, and a number of the new scholars made their City u18 debuts while still at school.
Aaron Nemane, who was involved in the u18 North Division title run-in last season, told mcfc.co.uk: “I am so happy and proud to sign this scholarship. City have got such high standards and I think they will become one of the best clubs in the world with the facilities and players that we have.
“After playing in the u18s last season I know the team so I hope it will be an even better season for me. I just aim to play well and get plenty of game time.”
England youth international, Tosin Adarabioyo, who was a regular at the heart of the u18 defence last term revealed: “I’m delighted and this is just the start for me.
“I love City and always have so it’s really special to have signed as a scholar here. I just want to get going now and have a great season.”
Defender Cameron Humphreys captained England u16s last term, and relished the opportunity to take the next step in his career in a City shirt.
Cameron said: “This is all you could really ask for, and it feels even better because City is such a great club, they won the league last year and it’s exciting to be part of it. I hope to keep doing what I’m doing so more great nights like this can come along.”
We’ll be bringing you full coverage of the u18s throughout the season on twitter and right here on mcfc.co.uk.