Neil Winskill, Adam Laidler and Liam Bramley

A young Magpies fan has taken his first steps towards a dream career in professional football after his involvement with Club's official registered charity led to him signing for the Newcastle United Academy.

Adam Laidler, who attends St. Cuthbert's School in Fenham, has been awarded with a coveted scholarship by the Club's Academy system after standing out in the Newcastle United Foundation's Advanced Coaching Programme, which gives local youngsters the chance to hone their skills in a professional environment.

Left-winger Adam had joined the programme after the parents of friends recommended the Foundation's coaching to his father, Richard, who took Adam along every Thursday night to practice his skills and learn more about the game.

Within just 12 months, the former Newcastle City Juniors Boys Club player had caught the eye of the Magpies' talent scouts, who have now signed the 16-year-old up to the club's Little Benton-based Academy after a successful trial.

Adam said: "Training on Thursday nights at the Foundation within the Newcastle United training environment and then being singled out for a trial at the Academy gave me a massive lift. I want to thank my coaches for pushing me to the next level. The hard work has been well worth it but now the even harder work begins."

Adam's Dad, Richard, said: "We would like to thank everyone at Newcastle United Foundation for helping him progress from his boys club, Newcastle City Juniors, to a scholarship at Newcastle United Academy.

"Adam was invited to join the Foundation Advanced Coaching Programme at the start of the under 14s season to improve his football skills and lift his confidence. It certainly achieved both. We couldn't be more proud".

The Newcastle United Foundation, which was launched almost five years ago, now works with more than 38,000 children, young people and families across the region each year, using the power of football and the Newcastle United brand to engage, educate and inspire.

Reggie Dornan, Adam's Foundation coach, said: "Adam was a lovely lad to work with. He was keen to learn and to improve his game. He was head and shoulders above the group in terms of his ability and never missed our weekly session. It came of no surprise to learn that he was invited on trial to the club's under-15 Academy squad."

Neil Winskill, the Foundation's Football Development Manager and current Under-15 Academy coach, said: "Adam's progression through the Newcastle United Talent ID pyramid demonstrates the strong link between our Foundation and Academy. He is most definitely the Foundation's biggest success story so far and we are all very proud of him.

"The fact that he is such a hard-working and level-headed lad who has worked very hard to make this step is testimony to him and the support he gets from his family.

"Whilst we can provide the opportunity for young players, they have to take these chances and Adam has done that through his own endeavour and dedication. The story shows the important role our Foundation can play in helping fulfil potential and we hope Adam is the first of many."

Adam's scholarship will combine hugely-important educational work with a dedicated timetable of coaching and matches, enabling young players to gain vital qualifications off the pitch while improving on it.

Liam Bramley, Adam's current Under-16 Academy Coach added: "The scholarship that Adam has achieved is a result of hard work and dedication. He has proven himself worthy of it since he joined the Academy over 12 months ago.

"He settled straight into the environment and has committed himself to providing to those that matter that he has the potential to play for Newcastle United. The thing I like about him is he is always asking me good questions about the game and when I ask any question he is first to answer.

"He is a real student of the game which is very important nowadays. It is up to Adam now to grasp the opportunity he has earned and see where it takes him. We will be there to provide all the support he needs."

To find out more about the Newcastle United Foundation and how you could follow in Adam's footsteps, please call 0844 372 1892 (extension 8451) or email foundation@nufc.co.uk.