Stoke City: Ed Dryden joins Potters from Wessex League

Ed Dryden
Ed Dryden joined Petersfield Town at the age of 16

Petersfield Town FC, from the ninth tier of English football, are toasting midfielder Ed Dryden after he was given a contract by Premier League Stoke.

Dryden, 18, was invited for a trial by the Potters in January and has now been signed by the club's academy.

Petersfield boss Ian Saunders said his talent was clear to see from the first training session at the club.

"It's beyond all our wildest dream for him to get this opportunity at Stoke City," Saunders told BBC Radio Solent.

From non-league to top-flight
Chris SmallingMaidstone to Fulham
Keshi AndersonBarton Rovers to Crystal Palace
Les FerdinandHayes to QPR
Malcolm ChristieNuneaton to Derby

Dryden, who once had a trial with Chelsea, joined the Wessex League club after being released by Aldershot.

"On his very first training session, he had confidence and ability to mix it with the senior players at the age of 16. His rise has been meteoric.

"He is a local boy and turned up with his dad asking for a game of football. We looked at him, he was a big, tall strapping lad and he's not looked back since then," said Saunders.

"He started in our youth team, broke into the first team in the FA Cup this season. From the minute he made his debut he's been in the side and luckily for him he's caught the eye of a scout or two which has earned him this fantastic opportunity."

"On one hand I'm losing a six feet four inch strapping centre half/central midfielder, who has lit up our squad, but on the flip side, what a fantastic opportunity for him. He's been up there and thoroughly deserves his contract with the academy and we wish him all the best."

Dryden told the Petersfield websiteexternal-link that the move to Stoke had come about "like a whirlwind".

The teenager continued: "After my trial at Chelsea and my time at Aldershot Town, I'd forgotten really about having a career as a professional footballer, but it is all coming back to me now and it is really exciting."

Top Stories