Youth team goalkeeper "deserves deal", says boss Awford
Youth team goalkeeper Liam Gooch achieved a schoolboy ambition today when he put pen to paper on his first professional contract with Luton Town.
The 18-year-old signed his contract in Kenilworth Road’s Trophy Room this afternoon, then told lutontown.co.uk it capped a dream season in which he played a key role in the Under-18s’ Football League Youth Alliance double success.
“Being a professional footballer is what I’ve dreamed of doing,” said Gooch, who signed academy forms with the Town in 2012. “When I was really young, it was what I wanted to do.
“To be part of the youth team that did so well, and then to get a pro at the end of it, has been really good. It was a dream season.”
The Hatters’ academy and development manager Andy Awford believes Gooch’s contract is well deserved after his impressive displays in the South-East Division title success, the run to the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals and the Football League Youth Alliance Cup win
“Liam has shown a massive improvement over the last year to 18 months,” said Awford. “He was an important cog in the youth team’s league and cup double success last season with numerous clean sheets.
“He’s not the finished article, but we can see lots of potential in him and it’s an opportunity he fully deserves.”
Gooch watched on at the end of last term as his fellow youth teamers Frankie Musonda, James Justin and Tyreeq Bakinson were introduced to League Two action by Town boss Nathan Jones.
The Stotfold-based stopper says his peers act as an inspiration for him ahead of 2016-17.
“They’ve done really well this year, especially Tyreeq, being a year younger,” says Gooch. “He’s done really well to step up to the first team squad, and I’m glad that they all made their debuts. I’d like to be where they are, but that’s only up to me.”
While at the stadium with mum Carmel and dad Alan, Gooch took the opportunity to pop into the Eric Morecambe Suite to look at the models of the proposed new ground at Power Court, which the Town hope to be playing in by 2020.
The man who recently showed his commitment by jet-washing the seats in the Kenilworth Road stand added: “The plans for the new stadium look great, so in four years’ time when it does get built, I hope that I am playing there wearing the number one shirt. It’s a big thing to be able to aim for.”