Guernsey football will see not only one, but two young starlets take a huge steps in their career with confirmation that Ben Acey and Tim Ap Sion are both heading to Bristol City, following in the footsteps of Alex Scott.
Midfielder Acey, who came through the youth system at Northerners and has made some Priaulx League appearances, made his Green Lions debut in their first game of this season against Sutton Common Rovers in October. He soon broke into the first XI and has caught the eye in a creative midfield role, scoring three goals including one against Staines Town in December that was voted Goal of the Season at last weekend's End of Season Awards Dinner. He was also named Young Player of the Season.
He has signed a one-year professional contract after impressing at a trial at the Robins High Performance Centre, including playing for City’s U18s against QPR and Swansea City and for the U23s against Charlton Athletic in January.
Ap Sion will join the Championship club as a first-year scholar in the academy. He has featured regularly for Sylvans' first team this season, getting a late call-up to Tony Vance's squad in April, coming off the bench against Chipstead and scoring less than 10 minutes into his debut. He made one further appearance before the end of the season.
The pair will take inspiration from Scott, who has become a first-team regular under Nigel Pearson at Ashton Gate and is reportedly on the radar of high profile Premier League clubs.
Vance paid tribute to both North and Sylvans for their invaluable roles in bringing the two players through to senior football.
“I am delighted for Ben and Tim, they both have a great opportunity," he told Bristol City's website. “Alex has proven that there is some serious talent in Guernsey and whilst these two will have to work very hard and develop fast to emulate Alex's achievements, their signings has cemented our pathway link that Brian [Tinnion, Bristol's Academy Director] and myself have worked at over the past few years.
“Both Ben and Tim are in very good hands, it is over to them now. It is incredible how many people follow Bristol City now on the island and I'm sure Steve Lansdown will be a proud man!
“Playing men's football for Guernsey FC is now a proven development tool for all to see and hopefully over the coming years there will be more following in these boys’ footsteps.”
Everyone at Guernsey FC wishes Ben and Tim the best of luck on this exciting new venture.