West Ham youngster Josh Briggs has signed his first professional contract.

The Academy of Football has always produced some of Europe’s biggest talents. Bobby Moore, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard were all products of the West Ham youth set up.

However, the current group of youngsters they have in the U21s and U18s is one of the most promising they’ve ever had. Many of them are expected to go on and have a great career, including Josh Briggs.

The 17-year-old centre-back has been sensational since joining from Linfield in 2022. He has been a pivotal player at youth level, going as far as to score in their FA Youth Cup final win last season. His efforts have finally been awarded with a professional contract, something he says is “a dream come true.” 

“To have my family here as well with me is really special,” he explained “My goal was always to play professionally, so to be signing this contract at West Ham is a really proud moment.”

“It’s the first step to making a career in football, so I have got to keep building on it, working hard, and pushing towards the next one.”

“I’ve been away with Northern Ireland’s youth teams, and we have Gareth McAuley as our manager [U19s], which is great as he’s a former centre-back, so he gives us a lot of tips and is someone I can learn a lot from about what the next steps are for me.”

Obviously this is not something that’s just been handed to him, but rather something he’s worked towards for the majority of his life. Briggs is now set to transfer over to the U21s where Kenny Brown will look after him.

“A first professional contract is a huge moment in any young footballer’s career, so we are all delighted to see Josh take the next step on his journey with West Ham United,” Brown confirmed. 

“Josh has earned his contract through his dedication both on and off the pitch. He is a popular member of the U18 squad, and we are all looking forward to seeing him develop further under the guidance of our U21 staff.”

“He knows this is just the beginning of his career, though, and moving over to Rush Green will bring more challenges, but with the same positive attitude and mindset, we firmly believe he will give himself every opportunity to be a success.”

“Josh and his family hugely deserve this moment, and we are all excited to see what comes next for him at the Club.”