Reece Cole and Chris Mepham to join Development Squad next season
Two Brentford youngsters have signed professional contracts to join The Bees Development Squad next season. 18-year-old defender Chris Mepham and 17-year-old midfielder Reece Cole will become part of Flemming Pedersen’s Development Squad in the summer at the end of their two-year scholarships. Courtney Austin, Jordan Carey, Anthony Guppy, Jeremiah Kamanzi, Seth Owens, Romayn Pennant and Thomas Roberts have not been offered contracts.
Central midfielder Reece joined the club as a 14-year-old and was part of the squad that won the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland in 2012. With an impressive range of passing and energy around the pitch Reece made his Youth Team debut in his Under-15 season. He made six appearances for the Youth Team in his Under-16 season before becoming a regular last season, featuring 24 times in all competitions, as the Youth Team made the U18 Professional Development League Two South Play-Off Final. This season Reece has split his time between the Youth Team and the Development Squad, scoring twice in 11 matches for Flemming Pedersen’s side while also contributing three goals in 12 matches for the Youth Team.
Chris Mepham, whose great uncle was on the books at Brentford in the 1960’s, joined The Bees in February 2014 and impressed enough to be given a two-year scholarship just four months later. The tall, ball-playing central defender, who can play at right-back, has made approaching 50 appearances for the Youth Team over the past two years, scoring twice. Chris made his Development Squad debut earlier this season as a 17-year-old and has played 11 matches for the Under-21s so far this season.
Rob Rowan, Head of Football Operations, said: “I am very pleased for Reece and Chris to begin their professional careers with us. They both have lots of potential and most importantly have a strong desire to learn. The staff have now written development plans for both players and they will sit down with them this week to give them a better understanding of what we need from them and for us to understand what they want from the staff. I would also like to commend the departing scholars for their behaviour and professionalism over the last two years and wish them well with their future careers.”
Ose Aibangee, Academy Director, said: “I am delighted to see Reece Cole and Chris Mepham sign their deals with us. They have worked really hard during their scholarships and, coupled with their undoubted ability, they fully deserve this reward. Reece has been with us for four years now and brings great energy and passing to the midfield. Chris impressed us from the moment that he joined and has consistently improved with every test that he has been given. Both players have been part of the Development Squad already this season and they have shown they are capable of playing at that level. They have both done really well to get to this level but now they must work even harder to bridge the gap to the first-team. We will do all we can to help their development and I look forward to watching them improve in the future.