Kimarni Smith, a sport student at Central College Nottingham, has signed a professional football contract at League One club Sheffield United.
17 year old Kimarni is the first student from the College’s football academy programme in partnership with Basford United to sign a professional contract.
The College’s successful and dynamic football educational partnership with Basford has attracted many plaudits in recent months, following the academy side’s history-making FA Youth Cup run to the First Round proper and it was always going to be a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ the young forward would be snapped up, after some fabulous individual performances this season.
The likeable Kimarni will leave a big hole to fill, with Basford’s academy side currently aiming for a second consecutive Football Youth Conference title, alongside Midland Youth Cup final success, having already reached the final, after defeating Football League outfit Port Vale 1-0 in the semi-final two weeks ago.
However, the club are absolutely delighted to see the youngster making the step up into the professional game, boosting further Basford chairman Chris Munroe’s satisfaction of the progress that is being made at all levels at their Greenwich Avenue base, as he commented
“Basford United football academy, linked in partnership with Central College Nottingham is the place to be for any aspiring young footballers, who want an excellent educational grounding, but feel they have the potential to either reach the professional game or secure football scholarships either in the UK or overseas. The coaching and educational support is second to none and without question, this program is one of the flagship educational football programs in the Midlands.”
Adam Beazeley Head of School for Sport at Central College Nottingham said:
"We hope that Kimarni is the first of many young footballers to make the transition from the academy, to professional football. This programme fundamentally is about education, education in football and education in academia, that we hope will develop well-educated and well-rounded young people, who are ready for progression into the big wide world, whether that be into professional sport, an apprenticeship, full-time employment or higher education. Kimarni is a fantastic young role model who is honest, hard-working and a genuine team player, who also happens to be supremely talented and we wish him every success for his future.”
Smith has also made a number of appearances for the Basford first team in the Evo-Stik League Division One South this season and first team manager Martin Carruthers, who also heads up the football side of the Basford academy, was another to sing the forward’s praises, adding
“Kimarni has been an absolute pleasure to work with and I can’t speak highly enough of him. He has an honesty about him and his selflessness to work as part of the team, coupled with his pace, control and balance are a joy to watch and when in full flight he is unstoppable. He took my breath away when I first started this role last August. His goals and work ethic were a key factor in the academy’s huge success and history making this season and although he is a massive loss, he leaves us knowing that we want him desperately to do well. He has all the attributes to make the grade and with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, we will see him blossom in the years to come."
Other notable success stories from the College’s Academy include Leicester City’s Wes Morgan, Simon Francis at Bournemouth and Colby Bishop at Notts County.
More information about the academy can be found by clicking here.