Eight new Scholars welcomed into Academy

Cambridge United are delighted to announce that eight young players have signed their full scholarships with the Academy...

Blade Earley, Dempsey Crace, Zak Sowden Fletcher, Samuel Okolie, Jahkyah Ebanks Blake, Lennon King, Jahrel McKoy and Ryan Gray has all been inducted into the Academy Scholarship Programme at a recent welcome evening at the Club's new Training Ground facility.

The players and parents received presentations from Head of Academy Dom Knighton, Under 18s Lead Coach Liam O’Neil and Head of Academy Education Harsh Joshi on what life as a scholar looks like, the standards that they will be expected to meet and the education that they will receive.

Player Care Manager Callum Langley presented to all players who will be moving into accommodation, while those players also met their host families on the evening.

Each player had the opportunity to spend time with all Academy departments and took part in a Q&A with First Year scholars, George Munday and Randy Bulakio.

"It was brilliant to be able to host our scholarship induction evening at the new training ground this season which will be the players place of work on a daily basis next season," Dom Knighton said.

"The evening was a special occasion to first and foremost acknowledge the players and parents for their hard work and commitment, whilst providing an informative evening before the players step into full-time employment for the first time.

"Although all eight players will naturally have their sights set on continuing to progress their footballing careers, we firmly believe that the scholarship programme at Cambridge United opens up a varied number of pathways both within the sports industry and beyond."

Find out more about the players below:

Blade Earley

Born in Norwich and with the Canaries Academy until 2018 before signing for the U’s in the Summer of 2019, Blade is a talented goalkeeper who will be looking to push Jasper Briggs all the way for the U18s number one shirt next season.


Dempsey Crace

A centre-back and natural born leader who has been with the football club all the way through the Academy programme, having started his journey within the Pre-Academy. Dempsey is a United fan who if he isn’t playing for the Academy on a Saturday, can be found at the Cledara Abbey Stadium watching the first team.


Zak Sowden Fletcher

A local boy who also began his journey in the U’s Pre-Academy and has progressed all the way through to this point. A left sided centre back who possesses a real threat in both boxes.


Samuel Okolie

Samuel joined the Academy this season as an U16 after impressing on trial. Australian born Samuel is a striker and has demonstrated an ability to score all types of goal this season.


Jahkyah Ebanks Blake

Local boy Jahkyah has developed all the way through the Academy, beginning his journey in the Pre-Academy before joining the Academy as an U9. Jahkyah is an exciting striker who loves scoring goals. Another U’s fan who has been a regular at the Abbey when not playing for the Academy.


Lennon King

Another player who has progressed right through the U’s Academy from the very start. Lennon is Hertfordshire born but has been a regular at the Abbey over the years, watching the First Team. A player who can play a number of positions through the middle of the pitch.


Jahrel McKoy

Jahrel joined the Academy in 2021 after impressing during a trial period. A player who had to endure a lot of growth during his U13 & U14 seasons, which naturally affected his game. However, his fantastic attitude and mindset allowed him to come through the other side and he has been a consistent high performer within the youth team this season.


Ryan Gray

Norfolk boy, Ryan joined the U’s in 2022 and has a fantastic work ethic and can create a chance out of nowhere. A player who enjoys having space to run at players and creating and scoring goals.


All eight players have been involved within the U18s regularly and will be looking to continue their progress when they return in pre-season.

The Club wishes all of our newest Scholars the best of luck during their time with the U's.