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Former New Forest Academy player Eddie Beach signs for Chelsea

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CHELSEA have announced the signing of former New Forest Football Academy and Milford Youth FC shot-stopper Eddie Beach for an undisclosed fee.

The former Priestlands school pupil, who is a Wales U19 international, joins the West London club’s youth set-up from Southampton FC.

Beach (18) joined New Forest Football Academy in 2013 when he was nine years old and regularly attended their holiday football courses at Woodside Park, Lymington.

Eddie Beach with New Forest Football Academy's Niall Marr and Jamie Wise
Eddie Beach with New Forest Football Academy's Niall Marr and Jamie Wise

In 2015, he became one of the first players to join the academy’s newly established Elite Development Centres running in Lymington. At the time, Eddie was a talented midfielder and did not play in goal until the end of his stint at New Forest.

That same year, Beach played a vital role in New Forest Football Academy’s first fixture against Arsenal Soccer School, where he scored a screamer of a free-kick while playing a commanding role in midfield.

Towards the end of his time at New Forest, Beach transitioned from his preferred midfield position to become a goalkeeper. Due to his ability on the ball and his impressive height, he proved a highly effective goalkeeper. After that, it was not long before Premier League scouts came to watch.

He joined Southampton FC Academy in 2019 and, in 2020, was offered a two-year academy scholarship with Saints. During this time, he returned to New Forest Football Academy’s summer courses.

New Forest Football Academy academy director Niall Marr said: “Eddie was a real leader on the pitch, his passion for the game was infectious and James, his dad, also dedicated hours coaching Eddie’s grassroots team at Milford Youth FC.

“It’s been so fantastic to see Eddie’s footballing journey, from a youngster within our programme, with just pure love for the game, and it shows with the right attitude it’s never too late to take the step into professional football.

“It couldn’t happen to a nicer lad, and special mention must go to Eddie’s parents, Tamsyn and James, as well as his brother Alfie, for all the dedication and support they have given Eddie throughout the journey in fulfilling his dream. We can’t wait for the next chapter.”

The talented prospect spent two years at Southampton, where he was regularly called to international duty with Wales U19s, receiving caps while playing in the U19 European qualifiers.

Academy head Jamie Wise added: “We are so proud to see what Eddie has achieved over the years as a player, and we are very excited to continue following his journey over the next few seasons.

“Eddie has been a fantastic contributor to our academy over the last few years, serving as a player, academy coach and now as an ambassador for New Forest Football Academy.

“Every one of our current academy players really looks up to Eddie as a role model, and they have loved spending time with him at our training sessions over the last seasons.

“His footballing story is really inspiring; achieving your football dreams couldn’t have happened to a more well-rounded lad than Eddie.”

Earlier this year, Beach and his Saints side were crowned champions of the U18 Premier League South and went on to play a full 90 minutes in the U18 Premier League Final against Manchester City at St Mary’s stadium in front of 13,000 fans.

Chelsea’s assistant head of youth development and head of youth recruitment, Jim Fraser, told the club’s website: “We are very pleased to bring Eddie to the club.

“He is a talented goalkeeper with good potential and will join our development squad for the coming season.”

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