Southampton Football Club is pleased to announce Olufela Olomola, Alfie Jones, Richard Bakary and Ollie Cook have all signed their first professional contracts.
The quartet, who have all featured for Southampton’s Under-18s and Under-21s during the 2015/16 campaign, have agreed terms of professional deals ahead of joining up with Martin Hunter’s development side full time next season.
Defender Jones, who was crowned Young Player of the Season at last week’s Player Awards, has impressed throughout the campaign at both levels, training with the first team on a number of occasions throughout the season.
Fellow defender Cook also featured regularly for the Under-21s throughout the campaign, making 15 appearances in total for Hunter’s men, scoring in a 2-2 draw with Sunderland towards the end of the campaign.
Olomola, who captained Craig Fleming’s Under-18s during the opening months of the campaign before moving up to the Under-21s, was named on the first-team bench for their 1-1 draw with Sunderland at St Mary’s.
Right-back Bakary is the fourth youngster to sign a professional deal. The Benin-born defender made 22 appearances for the Under-18s this season, while also representing the Under-21s on four occasions.
Academy Manager Matt Hale said: “It’s the pinnacle really when you’re in this position, but it’s also great for the staff when you see the young lads progress through and sign their first professional contracts.
“That’s what we’re here for, and I’m extremely proud of the lads who have achieved that. It’s a great day for them and their families.
“They have all played up in the Under-21s group this season, which shows how much we think of them and how well they’ve done. They’ve all progressed over the last 18 months.”