Archie Procter has signed his first professional contract after an impressive rise through the ranks at AFC Wimbledon.
The 17-year-old, who joined us at the age of 11, has been rewarded for his progress a year early as he was due to start the second season of his scholarship.
Speaking after Archie signed the pro deal, Wally Downes said: “It’s great news to sign Archie. He’s a very mature boy, very solid, and he’s a leader with the youngsters. He has stepped into the pro group now and we will be looking to get him playing. We might even get him out on loan to step-up his development. It’s a very proud day for Archie and his family and we are happy to have him here at Wimbledon."
Described as “a ball-playing left-sided centre back”, Academy Manager Jeremy Sauer said that Archie’s leadership qualities have set a fine example to others at youth level since he joined us from Esher Wizards.
It’s an aspect of the game that Archie thrives upon and he’s delighted to get the opportunity to progress with the first-team squad at Wimbledon.
“I like to think that I’m a leader on the pitch, I try to help out my team-mates,” said Archie. “When times are difficult I want players to be able to come to me and know that I’m here to help. I want to be one of those players on the pitch. That’s one of my strong points.
“This (signing a pro deal) is everything I had ever wanted. I can’t believe it, but I know I’ve worked hard so I think I deserve it. I was hoping it might happen next year, but everything I’ve worked for in every training session has now come to this point.
“I played for Esher Wizards in Sunday League, but since I was 11 years of age I’ve been at this academy and this is massive for me. I know I’m young, but I have to show the manager and Glyn what I’m about and I have to earn the respect of the players. I’ve been able to train with the first-team recently so that’s what I’m trying to do. I have to keep learning every day and keep working hard, that’s all I can do.”
Click on the link below to watch a video interview with Archie. A more extensive interview with the young defender will follow later, along with the thoughts of Academy Manager Jeremy Sauer.