In association with MONDO Sports Management, Hastings United Football Club are happy to announce Benn Ward has signed a two-year scholarship with Premier League’s Burnley Football Club and will join their Academy with immediate effect.

Following on from an impressive pre-season, Benn aged 16 stormed into the Hastings United First Team making 10 appearances in the 2020/21 season. The ‘U’s before another forced lockdown are sitting top of the table of Isthmian South East Division, a position also held in the 2019/20 season. Benn was also a student in our full time football and education programme with East Sussex College Hastings.

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Benn Ward: “I am absolutely delighted to have signed for Premier League Club - Burnley FC. Last summer, I joined back up Hastings United (my hometown club) after chats with Chris, appreciating his philosophy and the role he saw for me in the First team at just 16. I’ll always be extremely grateful to him, the Club and the fans for believing in me and giving me the opportunity.

I also want to thank my parents and family for everything, without their support I wouldn’t be here today. And the same goes to my agents at MONDO Sports Management who worked hard to get me scouted and then pull the deal together with Burnley.

I can’t wait to get started and do everyone proud!” _

Billy Wood, CEO (Hastings United FC): “I would like to congratulate Benn on such an exciting move. Since coming to The ‘U’s he has shown maturity above his years around the club, both on and off the pitch. Benn’s move is another shining example that Hastings United Football Club not only trusts young players to grasp the opportunity but is a club very much on the radar of professional football clubs, highlighting the talent within our First Team and Academy.

Over the last few years we have had players out on trial at Premier League and Championship clubs and have seen a handful make the step up to professional football, however Benn’s move will be seen as the most prolific so far and we are all behind him.

I would like to put on record the support and work of MONDO. Player representatives sometimes get tarnished by the nature of the business, however the team there have been a pleasure to deal with. A team dedicated to their players but with an understanding of where they are coming from, quite a delight to what I have had to deal with previously. Both MONDO and Burnley Football Club have shown class throughout this process, the way it should be done.

Benn go wear the Claret and Blue with pride and make this town proud! Be an example to your generation and the next at the Hastings United Academy.

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Chris Agutter, First Team Manager (Hastings United FC): “I am so happy for Benn, he is such a hungry and hardworking young man who from day one has put his personality and will on the team. Benn is a very likeable man who we all will be willing on to do his absolute best at Burnley. Whilst Benn will be missed, the amazing work within the Academy continues meaning we have no short of supply of talented young men striving to take his spot.”

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Elliott Raggio, Director (MONDO Sports Management): “The whole team at MONDO Sports Management, are extremely proud to announce Benn’s move into the Premier League. Benn is one of the hardest working, most focused young prospects we have had the pleasure in working with, and this move is nothing less than thoroughly deserved for his dedication and patience.

We would like to thank Billy and Chris at Hastings United for always putting Benn and their players first. Nick and Jon at Burnley FC for really believing in Benn and giving him the opportunity. And thanks, must also go to Benn’s previous coaches; Gary Mansell and Sas Parsad for giving Benn their support over the past couple of years. It has been an enjoyable and seamless transfer, and this is a credit to all parties involved.

Congratulations again to Benn and his family - he will no doubt go on to inspire the next generation of local talent in Sussex to make it into the elite Professional game.”

Craig Ottley, Curriculum Lead for Sport at East Sussex College Hastings: "Everyone at East Sussex College, especially the Hastings Sport department, wants to say a huge congratulations to Benn and his family. To secure a move to a Premier League football team is every young footballer's dream, and we're extremely proud of his achievements. Benn has shown, both on and off the pitch, that he is a hardworking, dedicated young man - a credit to all the people who have helped him in securing this move.

The hard work begins now, and we wish him well in his footballing career. We're looking forward to welcoming him back to the Academy to speak to our young aspiring footballers sometime in the near future."

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Hastings United Football Club would like to put on record it’s thanks to Burnley Football Club and wish them all the best for the rest of the 2020/21 Season.