DEDICATED Improtech Soccer student Sam Greenwood has signed a five-year deal with Premier League giants Arsenal.
The 16-year-old from Murton, a long-time member of the academy at Sunderland AFC, had a chance of a two-year scholarship at the Stadium of Light but turned it down.
And once word got out he was leaving Sunderland there was a queue of domestic clubs – including Liverpool and Man United – interested in his signature, while abroad, German side Stuttgart led the chase.
But Sam eventually decided Arsenal were the club where his long-term future would lie, announcing on his Instagram account: “Today is the start of a new chapter in my life signing for Arsenal and I can’t wait to get started. “I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“Leaving Sunderland after 10 years at the club I love and support was a very hard decision, I have met some special people along the way.
“Big thanks to all coaches past and present for everything they have done for me . I will never forget my roots.”
A natural attacker, Sam came to Improtech Soccer sessions from the age of eight.
From the age of 10 he would come to sessions an hour early and practice his set-piece work.
Improtech coach Stuart Brand said: “Sam has got many strengths – he has goal-scoring ability and a good passing range but he also has quality on the ball, touch, is strong with both feet and has a hunger to improve.”
The Monkwearmouth School pupil has played for England numerous times at different levels and is currently playing for England Under 16s.
Sam trained throughout June alongside Improtech’s very first student, Sunderland AFC first-team squad member Ethan Robson, but the teenager’s future now lies at the Emirates rather than the Stadium of Light.
Improtech Soccer managing director Martin Scott said: “I’m absolutely delighted for Sam – what an achievement it is to sign a long-term contract with one of the most famous names in world football!.
“It is well-deserved because I’ve coached Sam for many years and can testify to the fact that he works as hard as he possibly can at his game.
“He’s very dedicated to his dream and of course, as we always say, you need dedication as well as talent to succeed in professional football.
“Congratulation to Sam and his family from everyone at Improtech Soccer.”