A teenage goalkeeper who briefly played for Cambridge FC has signed a professional contract with English Premier League club Aston Villa.
Jamie Searle landed his dream contract this week after impressing as a trialist in the Villa U-23 side’s pre-season matches.
Searle, who kept goal for St Peter’s Cambridge first XI last year, was registered with Cambridge FC, Tauranga City and Melville United as he developed through youth ranks and into senior football.
He played most of his senior football for Melville United, featuring for their third team in the WaiBOP Premiership in 2017.
Since heading overseas, the tall shot-stopper got the chance to try out for Villa and in the past month, he played for their U-23 side in pre-season games against non-league sides Redditch United, Stratford Town and Tamworth.
He saved two penalties in Villa’s 4-1 win at Tamworth and produced a string of saves that earned him Man of the Match.
Searle joins a line of goalkeepers working to reach the first-team spot at Villa. He’s behind Tom Heaton (an £8m signing last week from Burnley), Jed Steer (first choice at end of last season), Lovre Kalinic (Croatian international), Orjan Nyland (Norwegian international) and Matija Sarkic (on loan to Scottish club Livingston).