Callum Marshall is thrilled to have signed pro terms with West Ham.
The Academy striker put pen-to-paper on his first professional contract earlier this week, continuing a fantastic 2022 for the Northern Irish youngster who celebrated his 18th birthday on Monday.
Marshall has impressed since joining the Academy of Football in January from NIFL side Linfield, but the graft and hard work has been going on for much longer.
“Signing my first professional deal with West Ham United feels really good," the forward told whufc.com. “It's something that I've been working towards my whole life.
“Now it's time for me to push on. I need to keep my foot on the gas and keep going forward.
“My 2022 has been very enjoyable and has also had its peaks and troughs. I'm so happy to sign my first professional deal and now I want to try and get back into the U21s after the World Cup."
Signing a first professional deal is a landmark moment in any young footballer's career, and Marshall was grateful to have his parents at his side when he received the news from the Academy of Football.
"I'd been scoring quite a few goals and the Academy organised for my mum and dad to come over. I wasn't told what it was about, though, just that they wanted to speak to them. I thought it was just to talk about moving up to the U21s.
"We were all brought into a meeting at Chadwell Heath with U18s coach Kevin Keen, and I was told there and then that I was being offered professional terms.
"My mum started crying and even my dad, who doesn't normally get overly emotional, you could even hear in his voice that he was a bit emotional. It was a special, special moment."