On the back of the Island’s recent run in the English Schools’ Football Association’s Inter-Association Trophy, where they reached the quarter-finals, midfielders Jake Baker and Marco Zocchi have signed to play for Portsmouth and Bournemouth, respectively.
Baker (15) is an attacking-midfielder who plays for St Paul’s while Zocchi (13) is a utility player who is registered with First Tower United.
Grainville School student Baker said: ‘I’ve been to Portsmouth a few times already and I’ve signed to play for them for the 2008-2009 season.
‘In order to play and receive coaching it will mean going out on a Friday and returning on a Monday.
‘I’ve been several times already, including a week at the recent half-term and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
‘I’ve been involved with the under-18 team; it’s a big step up but my fitness level is good. Last weekend I played in a 2-0 defeat by Chelsea; I played okay but I’m sure I have more to offer.
‘Obviously I want to play well every time I go away and hopefully feature in every game. I know it will be hard work and I hope to do well and secure a scholarship contract for the following season.’
Baker is due to play for Pompey away to Cardiff today before returning to Jersey tomorrow morning and then play in the Star Trophy against Guernsey at Springfield at lunchtime.
Zocchi, meanwhile, has signed to play for Bournemouth’s School of Excellence for two seasons.
The Le Rocquier School pupil’s father, Eddie, said: ‘Marco is to feature with the under-14s and under-15s to start with and it’s not a problem because he is a tall lad and he has already settled in well.
‘He played four games in nine days over the recent half term and he enjoyed the experience and he is happy there.
‘It’s early days and so far so good; the club are happy too as they have told me Marco has good ability, attitude and commitment.
‘Marco is aware that there is a lot of hard work ahead of him; this is a big chance for him and hopefully he can go on and take it.’