'The hard work starts now though' he says.
“I am a happy man. It is a dream come true. I have always dreamt of being a professional footballer and today it has come true. It is all I have wanted since I was about four.
“The hard work starts now though!”
Kennedy first came over from his native Northern Ireland in summer 2013 after Academy Manager Darren Sarll spotted him playing for his country.
“I was playing for Northern Ireland when I was 15 and Stevenage were watching. They gave my Mum and Dad a call and offered me to come and trial. I trained, played a match and they offered me a scholarship.
“I am usually a home boy and normally I would be home sick but I grew into it. I found it hard the first few months but once you get to know the lads, we are all like a mini-family so it wasn’t too bad.”
Always rated highly from within the club, fans got to see Kennedy’s potential during the U18s FA Youth Cup run this season. A stand-out performance against Everton which went to extra-time made the first-team manager, Graham Westley take notice and a couple of days later he was training with the first team.
“It has been mad a few weeks. I think the Youth Cup games have really given me the chance, I performed well in front of the manager and he gave me a chance.”
Was there any hesitancy about signing the contract?
“No, I was always going to take it because as I said, it is a dream come true.
“I just have to continue working hard, doing what I’m doing and hopefully I can push on now.
“It is all about trying to get promotion, scoring goals, working hard and enjoying myself.”
As he moves onto the next chapter of his career, Kennedy is thankful for the help he’s had up to this point.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the coaches, especially Darren who has stuck by me since day one. Robbie O’Keefe, Dean Clark, Tom Hart, all of them. Reiss the physio, they have all helped me get to where I am today. They have taught me and improved me and also a big thanks to my mum and dad and all my clubs back home.”
Links you may find useful:
Ben Kennedy interview post-Hartlepool