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Former CIYFC Keeper Turns Professional

Former Canvey Island Youth FC goalkeeper Jack Sims has signed a professional contract with Sky Bet League Two side Blackpool.

Jack, photographed second from left, joined the Tangerines after a spell with Southend United who spotted him while playing for the Gulls.

Now 17 years old, we caught up with Jack to talk about his career to date.

Q. You came through the Canvey Island Youth ranks before being spotted by neighbours Southend United. How did you enjoy your time as part of the Gulls youth setup?

A. I loved my time with Canvey, everything was run really well and we played in loads of tournaments. It was when I first started playing football and it was with the club that I really started to enjoy playing and winning trophies.

Q. After spending several seasons with Southend you were let go by the Shrimpers. How did you deal with this disappointment at the time and did this make you even more determined to succeed in the future?

A. At the time I was gutted because at that moment it meant  I was without a club and uncertain about my future. It also meant that I was going to have to leave home because they were the only team that were close enough for me to stay put. It definitely made me more determined and I think it was because I tasted the feeling of rejection and knew that I didn't want to feel like that again.

Q. After leaving Southend United you had the opportunity to relocate to Lancashire and join Blackpool. How hard was the decision to make and what convinced you that it was the right opportunity?

A. Of course it was a hard decision as this meant that I was going to leave home and friends and family which was always going to be hard. However, looking at the bigger picture it was a no brainer because I knew it was a sacrifice I had to make to get to where I want to be, and also I knew that it was an opportunity that I couldn't miss out on.

Q. Now that you're a professional footballer, what are your next ambitions within the game?

A. My next ambitions are to make my debut, which is a short term goal and something I want to get under my belt as soon as possible. After that my two main ambitions over the next couple of years are to represent my country at youth level and to make 100 senior appearances by the age of 21, which while a big ask is something I want to achieve.

Q. Finally, what advice would you give to any young players in the Canvey Island Youth setup who will be dreaming of replicating your success and becoming a professional in the future?

A. My first bit of advice is make sure that you work hard and listen to everything coaches tell you to do. Make sure that you try your hardest and be like a sponge and absorb every bit of knowledge you get. My next bit would be believe in yourself. Always believe in yourself no matter what because I think when you do that then there is no limits to what you can accomplish.

On behalf of everyone at the club we congratulate Jack on this magnificent achievement and wish him continued success as his career goes from strength to strength.

Photo: Blackpool FC