Velocity Football graduate Ewan Clark is living his childhood dream after signing his first professional contract with Championship club Bristol City.
The 19-year-old joined the Robins’ Under 23s setup on a two-year deal just 15 months after returning to Oxford City FC’s full-time educational academy following his release from Watford Academy.
He burst onto the scene at the beginning of the year, making 15 appearances and scoring twice, as Ross Jenkins’ Hoops reached the National League South end-of-season play-offs.
Now, Ewan is adapting his lifestyle from part-time student and footballer to a full-time professional. And he plans to fulfil a long and successful career in honour of his former coach Mickey Lewis, who passed away in March 2021 following a short illness.
“It has always been my goal to play football professionally, and now I’m living the dream,” said Ewan. “My time at Oxford City FC and Velocity Football was fantastic and really helped with my development.
“Before Mickey (Lewis) passed, he always encouraged me to return to Oxford City if my former plans didn’t work out. Last season was a big year for me, and I wish he could’ve lived on to see the progress.
“It has been a challenge adapting from student and part-time player to going full-time, but I’ve really enjoyed it.
“The club is committed to producing first-team players through its academy system, so I know I’m in a good place. In the short-term my ambition is to play as many minutes as possible and impress enough to warrant challenging for a training spot in the first team.”
During his time at Velocity, the talented midfielder combined training and competitive matches with his studies towards a sports industry recognised BTEC qualification.
He was one of 14 Velocity students to represent Oxford City U23s last season and several eye-catching performances led to his first-team debut away to Slough Town in January.
Ahead of the new academic year, Ewan encouraged students with an enthusiasm for sport to consider joining the programme when it returns in September.
“I loved every minute of my time at Velocity,” said Ewan. “Regardless of your ability, there is a place on the course for you.
“Of course, I take my football very seriously and thrived playing at the level I was involved in. I owe a lot to the pathway established between the course and Oxford City FC as that ultimately led to my time playing in National League South which opened the door to Bristol City.
“Some of my classmates had no interest playing professionally and opted to go down the sports career routes instead. That’s why I’d encourage anyone leaving school this summer to sign-up because you get the best of both worlds.”
Velocity Football’s BTEC, Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma courses provide 16 to 23-year-old’s with the education, experience and opportunities to follow a career in sport.
Recent graduates of the programme include Forest Green Rovers’ Udoka Godwin-Malife and Oxford City FC goalkeeper Ethan Gough, who will study a degree in sports journalism in September.