A smile breaks over 17-year-old goalkeeper Liam Wilson’s face as he remembers being offered his first professional contract with Farsley Celtic’s first team this summer.

“I was playing some friendlies and I must have impressed [Director of Football] Pav Singh. I was over the moon when they offered me a one-year professional contract and I rang my mum and dad straight away. They were so pleased!” he said.

Liam, whose main aim is to secure another contract and hopes to make his first team debut, has been training with Farsley’s first team goalkeepers, including Slovenian U21 stopper Zan-Luk Leban, who is on loan from Premier League Everton.

“I’m learning lots from Zan-Luk, I am lucky to be able to train with him. I get tips from him every session about how I can improve or do things differently,” Liam added. “I feel I’m improving every session.

In Safe hands: Farsley Celtic ETS keeper Liam Wilson. Photo: John Baron/Farsley Celtic

“Training with the first team is great but it’s different being a goalkeeper as you’re away from the main group of players. But when you play in a practice match with the first team the shots are more powerful and it’s more intense as I’m up against men. It is great experience for me.”

Liam hopes for a career in football but also says he has the option of perhaps going on to university after his journey with the ETS ends.

“The ETS facilities in Farsley Sports Hub are very good,” he says. “We have careers lessons in our classroom where we get advice on things like updating Linked In, or having universities come to visit us so we aren’t just concentrating our careers on football.”

Farsley Celtic chairman Paul Barthorpe said when Liam signed in July: “Liam is the first in what will be a long line of highly talented young players to progress through our new elite pathway to the first team.

“We wanted to create a clear and visible pathway for the best young talent to progress into our first team setup, and have worked very hard to make sure we get this right. So for this to start providing results so soon is a testament to all involved, from the talent scouts all the way through to the coaches and management, and is hugely positive and exciting news for the future of the club.

“Liam’s progression to the first team setup, and signing a professional contract shows all of those players that if you work hard enough the opportunity is real and can be achieved!”

Director of Football Pav Singh added: “We have spent a lot of time, effort and resources in putting together what we believe is one of the best development sections around. It was hugely important to us that what we created was not only of a very high specification but also provided results. Liam’s fast progression is dedication to not only our efforts but also his ability, attitude and application.

“We believe Liam has the potential to develop into a top player for this club, and it also gives all of the other players we have something to aspire towards.

“Expect over the season and seasons to come more and more of these talented young players developing and making their way into our first team set up.”

The Farsley Celtic Emerging Talent Squad coaching team all hold UEFA A or B license qualifications, and have a vast amount of experience in the professional and semi-pro game  – as well as in professional academy environments.

The ETS take on the first team in a friendly at The Citadel on Saturday, 14 October 2023, 3pm kick off. The following Wednesday he will hope to be in FA Youth Cup action when The Celts entertain Wythenshawe at The Citadel on Wednesday 18 October, 8pm.

More information on Farsley Celtic’s Emerging Talent Squad can be found here.