Gills youngster Tommy Lamb moves Stateside
Gills youngster Tommy Lamb moves Stateside

As the end of the football season comes around, naturally, contracts come to an end. Most notably in the professional game – but it’s no different for young talents hoping to make it in football.

Gillingham are a club that, usually, offer two-year scholarships to young men and boys, concluding when the players reach the age of 18 or 19. This year, as ever, a number of youngsters will be signing pro, getting released, or venturing off elsewhere.

The Gills haven’t yet revealed the fate of their current scholars, but we’re led to believe decisions have been made. 

Players are having to think of their next move; step forward Tommy Lamb. 

Lamb, a midfielder, had been a scholar in ME7 since 2017. With his scholarship coming to an end at Priestfield this summer, he’s decided to take his career abroad – to the States.

“The opportunity to go to Florida first came about just before Christmas, through one of my old team mates, Charles Noyelle, who is currently in Oklahoma” said Lamb, 19, speaking exclusively to KSN.

“I spoke to Oliver Templeton, my player consultant, and he introduced me to many different coaches from America who had all watched videos of me playing. 

“Oliver helped guide me with what colleges he felt would suit me most, but, ultimately, the final decision was up to me.

“The more I looked into Eckerd College, and other players’ experiences out in the States, the more appealing it all became.”

It is indeed Eckerd College that Lamb will be attending for the next four years, joining up with their men’s soccer team along the way. 

The team compete in the NCAA Division 2 league. Each college soccer team is part of a regionalised conference, with the winner going through to the Nationals. 

It seems Lamb has thought a lot about his future. With the coronavirus pandemic causing plenty of uncertainty in the game, it’s hard for a young player to commit to, or rely on, anything in the country right now.

“It would’ve been hard to turn down four years in Florida!” Lamb admitted.

“The recent uncertainty of football in England helped finalise the decision for me.

“I felt that the chance to combine playing regular football at a very high standard along with achieving a degree was a great option.”

Although he will give himself more options by getting a degree – a ‘back up plan’, and possibilities when making a living from football is no longer possible, perhaps – Lamb still wants to be a professional footballer.

“I hope to continue to improve myself as a player so that I can strive towards becoming a professional footballer” said the youngster, who had been at Priestifeld since under-eight level.

“I hope that, by the end of the four years, I will have opened a lot more doors and created a lot more opportunities for myself, with a chance of becoming a professional footballer in either America or England.

“Like any other boy in an academy, my goal was always to achieve a professional contract and become a first team player, but I know how important my education is, as a career in football doesn’t last forever. 

“I still want to achieve that professional contract that I have worked so hard for. But, by also working towards a degree, I hope to give myself a lot more options, should things not work out for me. 

“Anything can happen, so it is important that I always have options.”

Although he’s now moving on, Lamb insisted he will always have fond recollections of the club that provided his football education for over a decade.

He came through the ranks at Priestfield, and made memories to last a lifetime.

“I loved my time at Gillingham Football Club” he said.

“I made so many memories and gained so many experiences, such as competing in tournaments in the Cayman Islands, Holland, and France. I have also made really good friends at the club who I will stay in contact with. 

“I will always remember Gillingham Football Club in a good light – they helped me to become the player and person I am today. 

“I have grown up supporting the Gills and I will continue to support them when I’m out in America, as I owe a lot to the club. 

“Without Gillingham Football Club, I would never have had this opportunity.”

Picture supplied by Gillingham Football Club.