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Josh signs for Blackpool

Anthony Godfrey says Josh Miles’ move to League One outfit Blackpool shows how 7 Elite Academy is offering young people a route into professional football.

The 17-year-old forward signed a three-year professional contract with The Seasiders this week, following an 18-month spell with 7 Elite Academy in Liverpool.

Miles joined 7 Elite Academy after leaving Everton Academy and thrived under its Player Pathway, scoring a string of spectacular goals for AFC Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup.

josh miles signs for blackpool

As 7 Elite Academy Director, Anthony Godfrey has overseen the development of the Player Pathway programme, which includes regular exchange visits with partner academies in the United States and Africa.

And he expects the youngster to fulfil the potential he showed at 7 Elite Academy: “Josh is a very hard working player and fully deserves this opportunity at Blackpool.

“He is the latest player to move from 7 Elite Academy to a professional club and shows how we are providing a consistent pathway into senior football from the grassroots game.

“When Josh joined us, he immediately saw the benefits of our development  programme, and regained the spark and love football that all professional footballers have.

“He recognised the opportunities our Player Pathway offers and made a big impression with AFC Liverpool and then Southport. I am so proud of how far he’s come with 7 Elite Academy.”

Josh regularly travelled to the United States to play in college showcase and leading regional tournaments, starring for 7 Elite Academy’s Under-18 teams in Utah.

“The tournaments in the United States were a real turning point for Josh,” Anthony added.

“He saw the high quality of football in those competitions and worked hard to raise his game. Then, when he returned to the UK he was able to impress in senior football.

“Our close contacts with AFC Liverpool and Southport opened doors for Josh that eventually led to the contract with Blackpool. This is a very exciting opportunity for him.”

Josh also attended Steve Gerrard Academy in Liverpool, which works in partnership with 7 Elite Academy to identify and develop young talent in a post-16 educational setting.

Todd Blayney, Head of Football at Steven Gerrard Academy, said: “Josh has worked so hard for this contract and he is a great example of how young people can achieve new opportunities within professional football.

“He showed great dedication in every subject during classroom sessions and that was reflected in his performances on the pitch during training and games. This is his reward for that approach.

“His attitude and humble approach to the game sets the standard for other learners in our programme. I am so proud of him and he full deserves this opportunity at Blackpool.”

Josh will take up his place at Bloomfield Road after a spell with Southport and is looking forward to making an impression: “It’s so exciting to get this opportunity with Blackpool and I can’t wait to get started, but I know the hard work will go on.

“As part of 7 Elite Academy’s Player Pathway, I played for AFC Liverpool’s senior side, which got me noticed by Southport. From there, Blackpool became interested and we agreed a move.

“It’s been a great 18 months with the coaching staff at 7 Elite Academy. I can’t thank Anthony and the rest of the coaches enough for the work they’ve done with me, on and off the pitch. 

“I’ve travelled to the United States with 7 Elite Academy and seen how impressively the game is developing there, which has also inspired me to work even harder. 

“Whenever I’ve needed advice, there has always been someone there to help me. I would definitely recommend the academy to any young player is passionate about playing professional football.”

Blackpool FC Academy Director Ciaran Donnelly said: “Josh has senior experience at a young age, showcased by his first team appearances with Southport. We jumped at the opportunity to bring him to the Club as he joins up with the Development Squad for the upcoming season.

“Josh has plenty of personality on the pitch and is an exciting player to watch, something which made him an instant fan’s favourite with Southport and we hope to give him the platform to show similar here.”


James Shaw