Oxford United go with Youth in 2013
Oxford United have offered pro deals for three of their youth players for next season.
Defender and youth team captain Sam Long, left back David Lynn and forward Callum O'Dowda.
All three have been with the club since the age of 9 and will form part of the Development Squad which will operate next season in a matches against 14 other teams.
They will join fellow youth team graduates Max Crocombe and Tyrone Marsh in the first team squad next season.
Simon Lenagan, head of the club's Youth and Community Trust told the official OUFC site:
'It is fantastic news and we offer our warmest congratulations to the three players. It is the result of a great deal of hard work, not only by them but by all of the coaches and staff that have helped them progress over the last few years. That hard work will continue as they make the step up to being professional footballers.
'The development squad is a new stage for players next season. They will play a set number of games against strong opposition and play alongside their peers as well as one or two older players. That will be fantastic experience for them and they are also very much part of the first team squad.
'It is part of the longer term plan that we have for the club. There has been a significant increase in focus aimed at giving players such as Sam, Callum and David a chance to shine. There is now a clear route for players from the younger age groups right through to the first team, something that has not always happened here and something we feel can only benefit the club.
'We firmly believe in investing in the best local young players and Oxford United has a great tradition of bringing youngsters into the team. The fans identify with them and we are sure that they will give them all the encouragement they need as and when they appear in the first team.'
Its great news for the future of OUFC with youth players seeing that there is a clear path from the youth team to the first team squad.