Every year across Scotland, a handful of young men fulfil their boyhood dreams when they sign full-time for a football club. Here at YFS we're putting the spotlight on the new kids on the block who've just made the grade from youth academy level to the professional game, as they make the next step in their promising careers.
Raith Rovers are a club who have often looked to their academy and promoted promising young players. These players have often broke into first team positions and have been fan favourites ever since. Players such as captain Ross Callachan, this season’s top scorer Lewis Vaughan and now Rangers defender David Bates all progressed through Raith’s academy.
This season three young and promising players have graduated from Raith Rovers' youth academy. Whether the players will feature for the club's Development sides, go out on loan or even break into the first team it will certainly be a valuable experience that will impact the rest of their careers.
16 year old defender Valentine signed a two year contract and was part of the Under 20 side who won the Scottish Development League East. Under 20’s manager Craig Easton told Raith Rover’s website: “He’s a tenacious full-back who takes a pride in defending, but he loves to get forward and join in the attack and delivers dangerous balls from the left hand side. His attitude and determination is superb and he’s exactly the type of character we’re looking for at Raith Rovers.”
Euan Valentine started his youth career at Hutchinson Vale while he was 12 years old. He found success there and won the Under 13 Stewart Brien Cup.
Another player who graduated from the Raith Rovers academy is 17 year old striker Kieran Dall. Dall also signed a two year contract on the same day as Valentine and he will be a part of the Under 20 side. Easton referred to Dall as a “forward with good ability and excellent work rate who can play anywhere across the line” in an interview with Raith Rovers’ website.
Dall was playing in the Fife Elite pool and played for local Fife side Glenrothes Strollers.
Finally, Raith Rovers also promoted 17 year old striker Jack Smith from the club’s academy. Additionally, Smith signed his two year contract at Starks Park on the same day as Euan Valentine and Kieran Dall. Easton, when speaking to Raith Rover’s website, said: "He’s a clever striker that can score goals and also drop deeper to link the play.” Prior to signing for Raith Smith played for Easthouses FC, of Dalkeith.