Luis Fernandez and Jack Smith have spoken about their joy upon signing their first professional contracts with Stevenage FC…
The 17 year old pair have become the latest Academy Scholars to turn Pro, following in the footsteps of the likes of Harry Draper, Liam Smyth, Arthur Iontton, Ben Wilmot and Androncios Georgiou in the last two years alone.
After a rash of defensive injuries hit the squad early in the season, Fernandez has been thrust into the deep-end, already playing nearly three full 90 minute matches in Sky Bet League Two and the Carabao Cup.
“It feels really good,” Fernandez said. “Especially at a Club I have been at for a long time now and I am just feeling very proud. It has been a hard time for the team with all the injuries so I have been a bit lucky to get my chance, but I have been trusted by all the great staff here to come into the First Team and it has been an amazing experience.”
Fernandez has already played himself into becoming a fan-favourite on the terraces, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the young defender.
“The fans have been magnificent. They have really helped me settle in and I just feel proud to be playing in-front of them and representing the Club.
“Whatever happens for the rest of the season, whether I am playing every week or not, I will still be training every day, trying to better myself and will be doing all I can to put myself into the Gaffers mind.”
Smith, says that the moment which set the ball rolling for him, this summer’s Pre-Season Tour of Jersey, came as a huge surprise to him.
“I reported with the youth team and did all the testing as normal for the first week back at the Academy. Then, the day before Jersey, I got called in and was told that they wanted me with them to fly the next day!
"I had to run home, get packed, go to the airport and the tour was brilliant. It was so good getting to know the lads on and off the pitch and it made being involved with the team much easier since.
“It feels amazing. It is a dream come true and I didn’t expect it at the start of this season so everything has happened very quickly but I am over the moon, really.”
Finally, both players had plenty of people to thank on one of the most significant days of any professional footballers career.
“I would like to thank my family for supporting me,” Fernandez said. “Plus, all my friends who are close to me and everyone at the club, the fans and the staff for trusting in me.”
Smith said, “My whole family for taking me all over the place from the age of eight. It has been a nightmare for them at times and they have seen me have some real downs, but now they are seeing me have some real ups so it is good to see.”