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.
If you were to ask a group of supporters which Scottish club has produced the best talent from their youth academy in recent years, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear plenty answers of Dundee United. Stuart Armstrong, Gary MacKay-Steven, Johnny Russell and John Souttar are just a few examples of the clubs best products, with the club also attributed plenty of credit for the development of Barry Douglas and Andrew Robertson, who both kicked on after being signed from Queen’s Park.
There are plenty more promising young talent hoping to make an impact at Tannadice in the next few years and here are five players who have just signed their first professional contracts for the Dundee club.
Powerful 17 year old centre back Luc Bollan looks to be an exciting prospect, towering over many strikers at six foot and two inches tall. The son of former United player, Gary, Luc began his footballing development at Fairmuir FC and even played for city rivals Dundee FC before joining the United developmental squad in 2015. Luc, who has been capped for Scotland school boys in the Centenary shield is commanding in the air but also has the ability to play out from the back and presents a threat in the opposition’s penalty area.
Edinburgh born Declan Glass is a pacey number ten who is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet. The 17 year old also made appearances in the Centenary shield and was signed from Hutchison Vale by United after a string of impressive performances. Initially a Loanhead player, Glass signed for Vale after scoring twice against them in a losing effort in the 2013 Under 13 Stewart Brien Cup Final. Declan’s not only dangerous in open play but also brings a specific threat from set pieces.
Local lad Kieran Inglis attended St John’s High School, and the 17 year old knows the club well having been with United since the age of eight. The central midfielder has shown he is comfortable in possession of the ball and has excellent ability when it comes to dictating the game and setting the tone of a match. Kieran has been a part of the SFA performance school through his time in high school.
Signed this summer from another well regarded youth academy, 18 year old Archie Thomas has found himself at Tannadice after leaving Southampton. Having begun his career at Torquay the Plymouth born midfielder spent the previous two seasons on the south coast. Comfortable anywhere in the midfield, Archie is not fazed by being put under pressure when in possession. Archie has already made his debut for the United first team, playing against Raith Rovers in the league cup group stages in July. United manager Ray McKinnon said to the Evening Telegraph: “He’s been at Southampton and he’s been training with the first team here and doing well”.
With the club from age nine, 17 year old Jake Davidson is born and bred in Dundee having played for his school side Harris academy alongside his development with United. Jake is primarily a centre back but his ability to use both feet allows him to play across the entire back four. Standing at just over six foot tall, Jake is a player that inspires confidence and calmness from the rest of his team and has already played for the Under 20s side multiple times.