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Dons starlet Leo shines brightly to earn award

Leo Young is inaugural recipient of academy honour

1 November 2021

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Fifteen-year-old defender Leo Young has been hailed as an example to all our young prospects after he won the inaugural Nigel Higgs award.

Named after the man who founded AFC Wimbledon's academy, the award recognises excellence both on the pitch and off it. As well as developing players good enough for our first-team, Nigel's vision was to build an academy that also developed them as people, so that the club and our community could be proud of them.

Academy Mananger Michael Hamilton said: “Our job is to produce professional footballers, but we place a high tariff on personal development and Leo Young is a deserved first winner of the Nigel Higgs award. He is a credit to himself, to his family, and hopefully this sets the tone for the younger lads, in terms of what they can achieve.

"Leo signed his scholarship with us in December 2020, so that means he's committed to us for the next two years. He's a centre-back, and a leader. Leo is quite recognisable on the pitch because he wears goggles for his vision. That's something we've told him to maintain because it's him. He has been with us since the age of eight, and he embodies everything that we are about. Leo is Wimbledon through and through."

After meeting Leo, Nigel Higgs said: "I'm delighted to give you this award. I've heard a lot about you from teachers and coaches, including how you are a very good player, but also great off the pitch. You are a top student and very collaborative in helping out at school. We feel you are the best candidate to get this award. 

“I am very honoured to be asked to present this award in my name. I was quite surprised when it was suggested that there would be this award, but I’m happy to keep supporting the development of the academy. It’s something that’s close to my heart, as you can imagine.

“What has pleased me about the academy is that we’ve continued to emphasise that we want the boys to develop on the pitch as players for Wimbledon, but also off the pitch to be good people, so that they represent themselves and the club well.”

As part of the award, Leo got to train with our first-team on Friday, before being presented with a signed shirt by Mark Robinson. Rob Cornell followed Leo's day at the training ground, and you can watch the full video by clicking on the link below.

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