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Protec Success Stories

Protec Success Stories

Many boys who trained with Protec have moved on to sign contracts with professional clubs.

Read more about our rising stars »

Player Profiles

Luke Medley

Luke MedleyLuke started playing football at school and as he progressed through the Sunday Leagues in Long Lane South East London and Maidstone in Kent, he started thinking seriously about taking the first step towards a professional football career.

He applied to join Protec and after two trials was given a place, starting at Protec after finishing school in June 2005. In the first year he did well with his studies and scored a few goals while playing. He was offered a two week trial at Watford FC and also a trial at Reading FC, which gave him much more experience of the reality of football. His third trial was with Tottenham Hotspur FC and after three days he was signed up with a contract. Luke explains:

"The experience with Tottenham was a great for me, but as sometimes happens they didn't extend my contract. However, they arranged for me to go to Lilleshall to do Exit Trials and scouts from all over the UK and Scotland were there. I got a few clubs interested in me including Bradford FC and I went up to Bradford for a week and was offered a contract after my first trial game."

At the age of just 18, Luke was given a one year contract with Bradford FC and settled down into life away from home, working hard to get into the team. He played in pre-season reserve games and was called up for the first team where he came off the bench and scored the winning goal! During his time as a striker with Bradford FC Luke scored 10 goals in the reserves and 2 goals for the first team.

However, as an Arsenal supporter he missed home and family down South, so when Barnet FC approached him with a place in the first team he jumped at the chance.

"I had friends, family and a place in the first team in London. The Barnet team is a great young team and I can easily relate to them."

Luke, then 19 years old, left Valley Parade for Barnet in July 2007 and has settled into life as a successful professional footballer.

Protec was a great experience for Luke. He says:

"It is so good to have an education as well as football in your life when you're young. At Protec you need to work hard - if you don't do the college work you'll don't get played so you have to knuckle down. Protec is a great place to be, they don't make empty promises. If you go there and work hard, they will sort you out and you will make something of yourself."

 

Steve Morison

Steve MorisonSteve Morison plays with Stevenage Borough FC and was the leading goal-scorer in the Conference League.

Steve started playing football for Enfield Eagles, who later changed their name to Whiteweb Eagles, where he was spotted by a local scout and signed to Tottenham Hotspur FC. He was released at 15 so applied for trials at Protec and spend two and a half years honing his skills. Steve says:

"Protec gave me another chance, it was hard work but a really good laugh. Along with the school work we'd go training and I gained a diploma and a coaching badge."

While at Protec he played against Leicester City FC and Northampton Town FC and both teams offered Steve a trial. He spent one month in Leicester living the professional life and then two weeks at Northampton. On his 18th birthday he signed a two year professional contract with Northampton Town FC.

While at Northampton Steve added to his qualifications with a National Diploma in Sports Science. A youth team player he regularly played in the reserves and by the end of his first year he'd also played a couple of games for the first team.

After four years, Bishops Stortford FC made an offer for Steve who had a tough decision to make:

"I had worked with six managers in my time at Northampton and when Bishops Stortford made the offer I decided to drop down to get the opportunity to play each week."

However after less than a season there he signed for Stevenage Borough FC early in the 2006/7 season. In his third season at Broadhall Way the lethal striker has grown into the skipper's role and has also established himself in Paul Fairclough's England 'C' squad.

Stevenage Borough FC's manager Graham Westley said:

"Steve Morison has shown how hungry he is to do well for Stevenage Borough and long may that continue. His work ethic is awesome and when you have someone captaining a side with that level of leadership he is always going to be an important player."

Pete Edwards of Protec added:

"Steve is the hottest property in the Conference League and a lot of clubs are interested in him. He always gave 110% at Protec and we're delighted to watch his progress and impressive goal-scoring record."

Steve Morison - Norwich City's new Welsh international striker

 

Steve Morison goal, Stevenage v Woking

 

Nile Ranger

Nile RangerIn July 2008, then Director of Football of Newcastle, Dennis Wise brought the raw talent to Newcastle United. Ranger made his academy debut against Leicester City on 23 August 2008 and made his debut for the reserve team against Sunderland at St James' Park on 1 September 2008.

He impressed hugely in these levels, finishing with fifteen goals for the Under-18s and seven for the reserves in his first season on Tyneside. That resulted him
in winning the "Wor Jackie Milburn Trophy" in 2009. He was subsequently rewarded by then-manager Alan Shearer with a new and improved three-and-a-half year contract.

Nile RangerRanger's Newcastle debut came as a second-half injury-time substitute for Shola Ameobi against West Bromwich Albion in the Championship on 8 August 2009. He made his first senior league start against Leicester City on 31 August 2009, where he won the man of the match award.

He played just over 84 minutes before been substituted and received a standing ovation from fans. He scored his first senior goal for the club in a 2-0 win over Coventry City on 9 December 2009. Ranger scored his second goal of the season in a 2-0 home win against Crystal Palace.

Nile RangerRanger made his debut for the England U19 on 25 March 2009 against the Czech Republic U19s and came very close to breaking the deadlock in the dying minutes of the game with a shot that hit the post.

He got his first goal for the Under-19s in his second match, against Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a fine headed effort. He helped his team to the final of the UEFA U-19 Championship but his team eventually lost the final to host
nation Ukraine 2–0.

 

 

Ajet Shehu

Ajet ShehuTwo years ago Londoner Ajet Shehu applied for a National BTEC Sports Course at Southgate College and it was suggested he trial for the Protec Academy due to his football skills.

He got through his trials and was accepted into the Academy. After playing just one game in his position of Centre Half, Ajet was offered trials at three different clubs - Reading FC, Watford FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Ajet says: "My decision was based on where I would improve most as a player therefore I decided to go to Tottenham"." Ajet signed a two year professional contract and has had a great start to his professional career.

About his time at Protec, Ajet now 18, says:

"Protec is a brilliant place, it helped me out a lot and gave me a career. It's a really good place if you're serious about a career in professional football."

 

Kezie Ibe

Kezie IbeKezie Ibe, 25, was a talented young football player picked up by Arsenal FC from age 11 to 15. Then, like many other young lads, he was release. Disappointed and disillusioned, he dropped out of football for a couple of years.

He was referred to Protec by a friend and at age 17 applied for a place. He was interested in Protec particularly because by this stage he knew how precarious a career in football was and wanted to study as well as play football. His parents thought it was an 'either or' choice of one or the other so Protec was the perfect solution. Kezie explains:

"It really was a second chance for me. Protec gave me the opportunity to study and also get full time quality football training. I studied an AS Level in Physical Education and it was definitely a really big thing to study as well as play football."

During his course the Protec coaches advised Kezie that he should be playing as a striker rather than a midfielder and he really reaped the benefits of the change by being picked up by Staines and then Yeovil Town FC after just two years on the Protec course.

Kezie now runs a coaching business and says:

"If it wasn't for Protec I would never have had the chance to play professional football. It was a great experience and I'd really recommend it if you are serious about your football."