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Three academy scholars sign professional contracts

9 June 2021

Three Newport County AFC academy scholars have signed professional contracts with the club.

Joe Woodiwiss, Lewys Twamley and Ryan Hillier have made the transition from the academy to the development squad after putting pen-to-paper on their first professional deals at Rodney Parade.

Hillier, 18, made his first-team bow for the Exiles in the 2019/20 campaign and scored on his debut against West Ham United in the Papa John's Trophy.

The striker, who has already made six first-team appearances, scored 11 goals and provided 10 assists for the academy side last term.

Woodiwiss was given the nod for his first senior start two seasons ago, and also enjoyed first-team exposure last term after featuring in the Papa John’s Trophy. He was also named on the bench for County in two Carabao Cup games and a Sky Bet League Two fixture

The 18-year-old, who plays as a defender, has already featured six times in the first team.

Twamley, meanwhile, made his first senior appearance as a substitute in the Papa John's Trophy clash against Cheltenham Town last season before starting against Norwich City's Under-23s and Plymouth Argyle.

The midfielder netted 20 goals for the academy side last term and was rewarded for his performances with a call-up to the Wales under-18s side, making his debut against England in March. 

The trio also helped the Exiles reach the third round of the FA Youth Cup for the second consecutive time in last season's campaign.

Woodiwiss said: "It still hasn’t sunk in properly because it’s a massive achievement for me, but I’ve got to keep working hard now and see what next season brings. My dad told me that I’m living his dream, so I’m glad that I’m making my parents proud. 

"I’ve been lucky to have a taste of what it’s like in the first team with the cup games that I’ve played in, and I knew, as soon as I first stepped on the pitch, this is what I wanted to do."

Twamley said: "I can’t really sum up what this means because it’s a day that I’ve wanted since I was a little boy.

"It’s good to see all the hard work that I’ve put in is paying off, and I want to thank all the coaches and everyone who has helped me get here.

"It’s a proud moment for everyone in my family and it’s a real achievement for me. The manager has given loads of opportunities to younger players, so I’m thankful to him and I’m looking forward to next season now."

Hillier said: "After growing up in Newport and coming to all the games as a season ticket holder, it’s a dream come true for me. I managed to play in the first team when I was a scholar and it was a surreal experience.

"It’s been a long two years leading up to this and my parents have supported me all the way through it, so it’s nice to see how happy they are for me now."

Newport County AFC Academy Manager, Damien Broad, added: "This is a huge achievement for everybody involved at the academy and club. Signing Ryan, Lewys and Joe from our own academy shows the club’s commitment to identify, retain and develop from within.

"We are all delighted for the lads and it’s great to see their efforts now being rewarded."


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