Chester FC have announced that youth team players Matthew Waters and Kieran Evans have signed professional contracts with the Vanarama National League club
Both players have come through the club’s youth programme and will join the first-team squad for season 2016/17.
The deals have been allowed to happen through sponsorship from principal Academy sponsor Swettenham Chemists, who have agreed to sponsor the boys’ wages for a one-year period.
Swettenham Chemists already sponsor the youth team playing strip and Academy head coach Calum McIntyre.
Waters has made three first-team appearances this season in the Cheshire Senior Cup, getting on the scoresheet against Warrington Town from the penalty spot.
Waters, born in Southend-on-Sea, lives in Chester and has been at the club since he was 15. He is a full-back that can play on either side of the pitch and has scored over 20 goals this season.
Evans has made two first-team appearances at the club, both in the Cheshire Senior Cup.
He made his debut in 2014 against Runcorn Town before representing the senior team again earlier this season against Hyde United.
Evans is another full-back, most comfortable on the left hand side of the pitch.
Evans comes from Wrexham and joined the club at 16 making over fifty appearances for the Blues’ youth team in a two-year period.
Academy head coach Calum McIntyre said: “Working with Matty and Kieran has been a pleasure and I am so pleased for them that they are getting the rewards for their hard work. Our youth development programme is in its infancy and this is great news for all involved with our Academy and the football club in general.
“Producing players for our first-team is the aim of the Academy and we have done this once again in the signings of Matty and Kieran. Both boys are terrific examples of hard work getting rewards and their coaches are very proud of them. We are hugely grateful to Swettenham Chemists for their support and providing the opportunity to ensure there is a pathway for our youth team players through to the first team.
“I am delighted for the players but they have to understand that the hard work starts now to break into the squad and progress further at Chester. Knowing these boys as well as I do, I know they will seize the opportunity and do what they do best.”
Ian Swettenham from Swettenham Chemists said: “Swettenham Chemists are proud to provide the funding to enable Matty and Kieran to further their careers with Chester FC.
“This is a great opportunity for these talented young players to demonstrate how the youth Academy provides a clear pathway through to the first-tteam. I’m sure they will make all Chester fans proud and I look forward to watching their progress over the coming seasons.”
Caretaker-manager Jon McCarthy said: “I am delighted for both players, I was much older, 20, when I signed my first contract. I remember how special a day it is to receive the recognition.
“They have both proven themselves consistently in first team training over the last six months. The partnership with Swettenham Chemists is such a valuable level of support. It guarantees that in the future, academy players will get a first team opportunity which may not have been possible previously.
“It is a real incentive for everybody from the youngest age groups upwards to see what can be achieved at Chester FC. The club now provides a clear pathway from Academy to first-team.”