Hartpury College student, Joe Parker, has signed a pre-contract agreement with League Two side, Newport County.
The 18-year-old Level 3 Extended Diploma Football student will link up with the Exiles from January after impressing with Conference North side, Gloucester City.
Hartpury’s Director of Football, Tom Radcliffe, was delighted to see Joe’s potential being recognised.
“Joe has been excellent ever since joining us both on and off the pitch, and has worked hard both here and with Gloucester to establish himself in the top sides. He has shown great potential and it’s no surprise to us that a league side have swooped to sign him.”
He’s another example of how our programme here helps to develop individuals, both in a football and academic sense, and give them the opportunity to get back into the professional game.”
Joe becomes the latest player to sign professional terms with a club after spending time studying at Hartpury. He joins the likes of Ghana internationals, Abdul Majeed Waris and David Accam as well as Australian A-League player, Matt Smith, and Exeter City’s Jake Gosling.
Hartpury’s football programme has now seen more than twenty players move back into the professional game, as well as a Champions and Europa League footballer and five internationals, two of whom have a shot at next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
With eight goals in six games this season for Paul Tassell’s Hartpury side, Joe has also been in impressive form for the Tigers, bagging four goals in eight games.
“We are immensely proud of Joe for achieving his ambition and this is just reward for the hard work he has put in. We have always seen and believed in his potential and have challenged him to push himself and with the character he is, he has worked tirelessly,” Paul said.
“With the support he has had around him he is well on the way to a very successful career in professional football. Joe epitomises the football programme here at Hartpury where he is producing in and out of the class room. He will be an asset to the club as he has talent and ability that will be developed further and as a person he has a positive influence on people around him which is a special quality in our squad and he has helped continue our programme’s success.”
City boss, Dave Mehew, confirmed that Newport had had their eye on Joe for a while and were watching as he bagged a 19 minute hat-trick in the preliminary round of the FA Cup.
The striker also bagged the equalising goal last season at St. George’s Park as Hartpury came from 1-0 down to win the British Colleges Sport National Cup for the first time in their history.
Already the majority of the way through his course, Joe will continue his studies at Hartpury after being loaned back to Gloucester for the remainder of the season.
Newport have described Joe as “one for the future” and have urged fans to “watch this space.”