LOUTH youngster Dayle Southwell is celebrating after being handed a one-year professional contract by local Blue Square Premier side Grimsby Town.
The 18-year-old striker was the only youth team member to be kept on by managers Rob Scott and Paul Hurst.
The former Monks’ Dyke pupil, who still lives in Louth, scored his first goal for the club in the 5-0 win over Ashington in the FA Cup in October after making his debut last season against Mansfield.
After initially playing for Leeds United’s youth teams, Dayle moved to the Mariners aged nine and is looking forward to breaking into the first team next season.
“I was really pleased when the managers said I was being given the professional contract,” said Dayle.
“I’ve been involved with the first team regularly this season and have had three or four appearances from the bench.
“I’m learning as much as I can from the other players, especially (strikers) Liam Hearn and Anthony Elding.”
Town’s Youth Coach, Robbie Stockdale, said: “Dayle’s done really well – not only over his two year apprenticeship but he has also excelled in our school of excellence, which he has been in since he was 10.
“He has excellent potential which will hopefully be fulfilled in our first team.”
The Mariners’ season ended with Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat against Southport at Blundell Park, which saw Dayle enter the fray from the substitutes’ bench in the second half.
Dayle said he is hoping a good summer’s pre-season could see him break into the first team sooner rather than later.
Dayle continued: “I’ll keep working hard as I want to play as high as I can, but my career so far has been amazing, from making my debut to scoring my first goal and now getting a new contract.”
Dayle’s Mum Kerrie added: “This has been Dayle’s dream for 17 years and now that he has got his dream I couldn’t be happier for him, I’m extremely proud.
“Dayle’s dad died when he was almost seven and it was his dad who got him trials with Leeds United knowing we had a little natural on our hands.”
Watch the video of Dayle netting his first goal for the Mariners in the FA Cup win over Ashington at Blundell Park last year.