Extremely exciting news for former New Forest Football Academy player Harry Thomas, who has signed a 2-year Professional Contract with Peterborough United FC until 2024!
Harry joined Peterborough United Under-18's as an Academy Scholar following several seasons at AFC Bournemouth Academy. Harry has been a regular at the heart of the U18 Squad this season and has been called up several times to play in Matthew Etherington's U23 Squad. 
“I am absolutely buzzing,” Harry said. “It is a really proud day for me and my family and I am really happy. When I had the opportunity to join Peterborough United, it was one that I wanted to grasp, you only have to look into the first team to see that there is a real pathway from the Academy and the under 23s.
“I didn’t have any second thoughts when I was offered the opportunity to come to the club and I have really enjoyed it. It has been a busy schedule but a real learning curve. At under 23s, there is a much more of a physical challenge, the intensity is a bit different, but I have tried to do my best and I am learning all of the time.
“I am a defender that likes to play when I can, I look at someone like Ronnie Edwards who has done so well in the first team and it can be an inspiration. The challenge is to become a regular in the under 23s next season and keep learning and improving,” Harry said.
Academy manager Kieran Scarff added: “Harry has all the attributes to be a real prospect for the future. He has a good attitude on and off the pitch, we have spoken with him about using his size and being aggressive in his defending and he is getting that now. We want our centre halves to be cultured when in possession and play out from the back and he has those attributes. We are looking forward to helping him develop over the next few years.”
Harry joined New Forest Football Academy in 2015 and attended our Elite Development Centre in Lymington when he was 11 years old, working directly with Coach Niall & Coach Hugh. In 2016, Harry was offered a six-week trial with AFC Bournemouth following Coach Hugh's recommendation to Carl Robson, Head of Player Recruitment at the time. AFC Bournemouth also monitored Harry in during our Academy fixtures where he performed exceptionally well. Graham Mills, the Head of Academy Phase at AFCB at the time was very impressed with how quickly Harry slotted into their U12 Squad, commenting on Harry's professionalism and the way he conducts himself at training as one of his real strengths. Harry was then offered a Two-Year Academy Contract with AFC Bournemouth and went from strength to strength from then on in. Coach Niall, Hugh and Jesse played a very influential role in Harry's journey to Academy football, not only giving Harry the development tools to perform as a player but also giving him opportunities to be seen by Academy Scouts and referrals to Head of Player Recruitment. The coaches at New Forest Football Academy supported Harry during his time at AFC Bournemouth particularly in the early stages, as Coach Niall recalls driving Harry to some of his trial sessions at AFC Bournemouth and being on the sidelines to support him during sessions and fixtures. 
Everyone involved at New Forest Football Academy would like to say a huge congratulations to Harry, as he now embarks on his career as a Professional Footballer. We cannot describe how proud we are to see one of our former players signing a professional contract, the work rate and commitment that Harry and his family have made over the last few years are extremely admirable and we are so happy to hear the amazing news! Out of all the players that sign an Academy contract at a Professional Football Club from age 9, less than 1% will make it as a professional footballer at any level. Given these numbers, it makes Harry's recent achievement even more impressive!! 
Everyone at New Forest Football Academy will be cheering Harry on during the next steps of his footballing journey next season, Harry is a fantastic role model for every player in our Academy!!
Harry Thomas... remember the name!!