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Barcelona dream about to come true for Year 11 student after his GCSE year

Year 11 student Matthew is originally from Penryn in Cornwall, a small town with a population of just over 7,000. He started his basketball career with the local team who were enthusiastic but without the infrastructure for someone of his stature! Matt is 6ft 10, the youngest of 3 boys, from a family keen to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle. Matt is a good athlete, an excellent student and a well-mannered young man.

Matt is very close to his family so the prospect of living away from home, when still not quite 16, was not something that had originally been part of his life plan. However, after a few conversations with his club, his parents, his friends and also the JMA Director of Basketball, Matt Johnson he chose to leave school in Penryn and venture about 5 hours into the country to attend our Basketball Programme here at JMA. And what a year it has been!

Matt has managed to live away from home with the other Academy players, supported by Academy staff. He has trained every day and has played at the highest level possible for his age group in the country - The EABL League (Elite Academies Basketball League).

Matt has trained with other International players and has also recently been selected for the Great Britain u16 Squad to play in this summer’s European Championships. But the best was still to come.

After 8 months of training and playing, contact was made with Matt from the biggest name in European Basketball –“FC Barcelona Basketball Club”. To try and put into context, the level of this opportunity is incredibly difficult, other than highlighting that no other British player has ever been signed by Barcelona.

Matt has now accepted an offer for a 2 year scholarship and will start his journey there in September 2018.

Director of Basketball Matt Johnson said: “It is a momentous day for Matthew and his family, and an incredibly proud moment for our school and club. It’s not often that these opportunities arise and for Matthew we are so pleased! He absolutely deserves this and I am sure he will make the most of this chance too. The coaches and support he has received from the school and club has been of top level and he has thrived in his time here".

Head Coach Alan Keane said: “Matthew has worked hard at the academy this season, and although he is still new to the sport he has worked hard to get his body in great shape and will relish the chance to be in one of the best performance environments in the world! We look forward to keeping in contact and following his progress.”

Matthew said: "I am delighted to be going to Barcelona to continue to develop my basketball career following an enjoyable and successful year with the Rockets and JMA where the support from Coaches and staff has enabled me to pursue my dream career for which I am really grateful."

On behalf of the John Madejski Academy we would like to wish Matthew all the best in his GCSEs, and of course, the next steps in his basketball career in Barcelona!