Buckswood student Hyeokjun Lee, originally from South Korea, has begun his professional football career after a successful trial for Latvian Premiership side FK Ventspils. Based in Ventspils Olimiskais Stadion in Ventspils, the team are one of the most popular football clubs in Latvia. The club play in the Latvian Virsliga and were last year’s league champions.
Lee is the youngest player in the team and has been living with other players in the squad in Latvia since his trial in January. Lee has impressed the coaches to secure a professional contract and wears the number 8 shirt on the pitch. Lee has already played for the team and been featured on national television scoring a goal that took Ventspils through to the second round.
Talking about his experience so far, Lee said: “Buckswood has really helped me prepare for this. Most of the other players are Latvian, but I am having no problems in training or living with my teammates as we all speak in English. Going to school in an international school has meant that this huge step has been much easier for me to cope with as I am already used to working with peers from different backgrounds and cultures. I’d really like to thank Buckswood for making my dream a reality and my coach Daryl Willard, has really brought my game on to the point where I have signed a professional three-year contract”.
Buckswood School is home to two Football Academies. The Junior Academy is run by Chelsea Football Club Foundation and offers Chelsea coaching for 11 – 13 year old girls and boys. The Junior Football Academy feeds directly into the Senior Academy run by Buckswood Director of Football UEFA PRO licence coach Daryl Willard for 14 – 18 year olds.
“With Daryl’s contacts across the professional football spectrum, Buckswood’s Academy scholars are being seen regularly by Premier League scouts and the opportunities and experiences that those connections bring means that the Academy players are really living the football dream,” said Buckswood headteacher Mr Redsell. “We have already had seven Premiership and Professional trials last term, and this year looks more promising with players taking trials in Europe and beyond.”