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Teenager fights back from football rejection

Matlock Town football club academy. Harry Wood.
Matlock Town football club academy. Harry Wood.

For any player released by a professional club as a youngster, it can be a heartbreaking experience and leave them scarred.

It can leave many contemplating a life away from football or having to start again at a new club in search of achieving their goal of being a professional footballer.

Eighteen-year-old Harry Wood knows the feeling of being released by a club — his local side, Chesterfield — but he has shown determination to fight back.

After being released at 16, Wood admits he was in a dark place.

“Yeah it was heartbreaking, I am not going to lie,” he admitted.

“I was at Chesterfield from about eight years old and went all the way through.

“I thought I was going to get a scholarship, but it doesn’t always work out for you.”

The rejection left Wood wondering whether his next career choice would be in football or not.

“I was upset and I stopped playing football, but not for too long,” he said.

“I was just contemplating doing sixth-form (at school or college) or other things, but then I just thought there was no point in giving up. I was only 16 and told myself to just keep going.”

That determination and decision to keep going in football paid off as Matlock Town Development offered him a chance to be involved in the sport again.

Harry has nothing but praise for his current employers and really has a lot to thank them for.

“When you come out of an academy and you go semi-pro, there are other people watching and there is a chance of going pro. There are plenty of opportunities,” he said.

“Take Max Hunt (who left Matlock’s academy for Derby County), for example. Look at what has happened there. It just shows that people are watching at whatever level you are playing at.

“Coming to Matlock and all the coaching, all the lads and all the training has got me proper going again. I am buzzing to keep going and seeing where I go.”

Matlock Town academy coach Jamie Yates is delighted with Wood and how he has applied himself.

“We got him fit, set him targets, gave him a platform to play on and, to be fair, in his first year he really got stuck into it,” said Yates. “I think he made a first team appearance in his first year and we are quite pleased with him.”