Brandon Taverner was playing Sunday League football when his father stumbled across an advert in FourFourTwo magazine about FCV Academy’s scholarship competition.
The striker had been training with various semi-professional clubs, but his ears were perked when he learned of the opportunity being presented in Stamford.
The competition? A full-time scholarship at FCV worth in excess of £15,000. It would provide the winner with the opportunity of chasing their dream to a career in professional football.
“My dad saw the advert and immediately knew the opportunity would be great for my future,” Taverner explained about the day he realised the possibility of going full-time.
“I already knew about the Academy having been to a few different trial days with them before. I researched the scholarship, and agreed it was a much better pathway, and I’ve never looked back.
“Signing up for the scholarship trials was very simple – just a matter of filling out a few forms and attending regional trials. They went well, and I made the finals.”
That day of judgement was the next step, and Taverner had to prove himself against the other regional winners.
It was spread over a couple of the days and the entrants were marked on all aspects of their game in training, and the Showcase Match – an opportunity for players to prove their ability at Stamford’s Borderville home.
Watching on were all the FCV coaches, and even a special guest. Former West Ham United striker Tony Cottee was casting his experienced eye across the talent on show, so players were keen to impress.
“You always have to be confident that you have a chance of winning,” said Taverner when asked if he fancied his chances going into the competition.
“The final was on the impressive first-team pitch at Borderville. The whole trial process tested your range of skills.
“It was great to play in front of Tony Cottee; he was a striker too so I wanted to make an impression. My dad overheard him talking about a left-footed striker and I knew that I’d done well.
“Fortunately for me I’ve won an incredible opportunity. Even if I hadn’t, it’d be worth the money to come here. The facilities are brilliant, the coaches have been great and it’s a fantastic environment to be in.”
Since winning the competition, Taverner has been one of the Academy’s stand-out performers, scoring regular goals and forever being a thorn in the side of opposition defences.
But the goal is clear for this young man. FCV has provided him the pathway to professional football, it’s down to him to walk it.
“Football is all about stages,” he explained.
“The aim now is to perform well enough here to get signed by a team, which I fully believe can happen with the support I’m receiving at FCV.
“I’ve been awarded an incredible opportunity. Even if I hadn’t, it’d be worth the money to come here. The facilities are brilliant, the coaches have been great and it’s a fantastic environment to be in.
“You should enter this competition. You learn so much at the trials just from being in a professional environment.”
Want to emulate the steps of Brandon Taverner and get on the pathway to success with FCV Academy?