Whilst studying for his BTEC Level 3 in Sport which he started at Barnet & Southgate College in August 2014, the 18-year-old midfielder played four games with the Gillingham development side, leading him to secure this one-year deal with the Kent-based club.
The Education and Football Development Centre programme is one of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation’s flagship projects, offering Academy-standard football coaching alongside BTEC qualifications at colleges across the Club’s local community to young people aged 16-18 classified as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).
Opportunities exist for students to study full-time BTEC level 2 or 3 and NVQ level 2 or 3 courses with the potential to continue onto a foundation degree in Sports Development and Coaching, run by Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.
Speaking shortly after announcing his retirement from the game at the end of the season, Brad said: “This is a life-changing moment for Emmanuel, really well done to him. Opportunities like this don’t come around very often and I’m pleased I got the chance to meet him. The best of luck to him at Gillingham.”
Speaking about signing for Gillingham, Emmanuel said: “I’ve been working hard since a young age so this is a dream come true. It means a lot to me and I’m very excited.
“The Foundation College programme has helped me to get to where I am today. It’s a great way of combining education and doing what you love - playing football.”
Below: Justin, Emmanuel and Brad
Gillingham are managed by our legendary former defender Justin Edinburgh, who played 276 times for us between 1990-2000.
He said: "With my connections at Spurs I was made aware of Emmanuel’s progress and we were able to get him to train with us and see how he performed during a few development games.
“He impressed us during those fixtures and we are delighted to have signed him on a one-year deal, He will have opportunities within our development squad, certainly pushing for a place in the first team.”
Tottenham Hotspur Foundation runs centres in partnership with Barnet & Southgate College, St Thomas Moore Catholic School, Epping Forest College, Harrow College, Waltham Forest College, Haringey Sixth Form Centre and Turnford School.
Since the programme launched in 2010, more than 870 young people have been given the opportunity to study a full-time BTEC level 2 or 3 and NVQ level 2 or 3 courses.