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Lopez, Cottrell, Hillson sign first pro contracts

Academy trio

Young players Ben Cottrell, James Hillson and Joel Lopez have been rewarded with their first professional contracts for the club.

Our under-18s were crowned champions of the U-18 Premier League South last term, with Cottrell and Lopez playing integral roles, while Hillson signed on loan during the season. 

Ben Cottrell is a young attacking midfielder and an Arsenal Academy graduate, who scored five and assisted three in 21 league appearances last season.

Ben also made his debut in the Premier League 2 last April, with the 17-year-old starring in a 5-0 win over Derby County. Ben, who is also an England youth international at under-18 level, joined our Hale End Academy as an eight year-old.

James Hillson is an 18-year-old goalkeeper who joined the club on an initial loan deal from Reading in February 2019. During this time, James featured regularly in matchday squads, including being an unused substitute in the Premier League U18 National League Final against Derby County. Although not making an appearance for the club last term, James impressed with his professional attitude and reliable performances in training. 

Joel Lopez joined us as a scholar in July 2018 from Barcelona. The 17-year-old left-back is a product of Barcelona's La Masia academy. He impressed for the under-18s last term making ten appearances during the title-winning campaign. Joel also featured in the FA Youth Cup last season. 

Everyone at the club would like to congratulate Ben, James and Joel on their first professional contracts with the club and we look forward to their continued progress with us.

All deals are subject to the completion of regulatory processes.

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