A VALE footballer is celebrating after he secured his first professional contract.
Former Ysgol Bro Morgannwg pupil Wesley Burns, 18, recently put pen to paper on a two-year deal with Championship side Bristol City FC.
Wesley, from St Athan, had been an Academy product at Cardiff City, but was released at the age of 16. However he bounced back to secure a two year scholarship at Bristol City. And the teenager, who plays as a right winger and striker, was surprised to be offered professional terms before he had even finished the scholarship.
"I was really happy and didn’t expect it to come so early in the season," he said.
"It was a nice thing to happen just before Christmas.
"When I first got there the coaching staff were very welcoming and I settled down quickly," he added.
"I’m enjoying things now and am getting regular game time and scoring lots of goals."
Wesley, who also represented his school at football, is harbouring ambitions of playing for Wales.
"It would be a dream to play for Wales and get my first cap," he said.
"But for the time being I would just like to try and get into the first team at Bristol City, or at least get on the bench."
Wesley played for Barry Athletic FC up until Under 8s, and Llantwit Major FC in the Under 11s and Under 12s.
Proud dad David Burns - a former coach at Barry Athletic FC - said he is delighted that his son had secured a professional contract.
"It’s fantastic," he said.
"From the moment he joined Bristol City he made a massive improvement in his game, and it was like we had a different player on our hands."
Willie McStay, head of coaching at Bristol City, praised the improvements Wesley had made in the last few months.
"He started well but the progress he has made over the last four or five months has been excellent," he said.
"We are delighted to secure his signature for the future.
"The manager has always identified him as someone he would like to work with in the future."
He added: "We are there to produce young players for the football club and Wesley is one of the players developing well for the moment.
"We are delighted to have him."
He said that he had also been in contact with the Welsh international team selectors.
"They are very keen to come and watch him and I have given them a list of games," he added.
"It would be great to have him capped at international level.
"It would be a great opportunity for Wesley and the football club, whether that is the Under 19 or Under 21 age groups."