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Youssef signs pro deal

14 February 2013

French forward on signing for Wimbledon and his future aims

Youssef Bamba has signed a professional contract at AFC Wimbledon after a string of impressive displays for the club’s Under-18s.

The 18-year-old French forward, who has been in prolific form at youth level for Mark Robinson’s side, has been rewarded for his persistence after he turned up at Neal Ardley’s first training session as manager in October.

Speaking to Dons Player, Youssef (pictured above with Mark Robinson) said: “I am very happy to get this deal. It is something I have dreamed about since I was very young. To have signed my first contract is very exciting and promising. I am just grateful that the club have enough trust in me to give me a contract.

“I have to keep working hard and hopefully if I do that then Neal Ardley will give me a chance and I can score goals like I have been doing lately. My ambition is to get into the first-team squad and take it from there.”

Youssef, who played youth football for OGC Nice in his homeland, decided to try his luck with Wimbledon after an internet search for clubs in the area.

“After moving back to England to live in Clapham with my mother I went on the AFC Wimbledon website and managed to find out where the training ground was,” he added. “When I turned up at training it was Neal Ardley’s first day as the new manager. I spoke to him and he said he was not going to be able to give me a trial, but I did not take ‘no’ for an answer. I stuck around and because I was so keen, ‘Coxy’ said it was worth giving me a chance. I did okay and here I am today.”

Neal Ardley said: “Youssef came in on my first day and he was looking for a trial. Mark Robinson has done really well with him and gave him a chance. Since then he has got fitter and stronger and I watched him score two goals against Cheltenham Town in the FA Youth Cup. He put on a very good performance that night and Mark has been very impressed by him. He was not on a contract and we just felt it was a no-brainer to sign him up and see how he develops.”

 Dons Player subscribers can watch a full video interview with Youssef Bamba on signing a professional contract at Wimbledon. 

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