Lewes athlete’s career switch to chase football dream

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Athlete Ash Williams has run out on a track career in a bid to become a professional footballer.

Ash, 22, of Newton Road, Lewes, has entered Samsung’s Win A Pro Contract competition in the hope of signing for either Swindon Town, Leyton Orient or Wycombe Wanderers.

Winger Ash, who plays for AFC Ringmer in the Mid Sussex League, said: “I walked away from football when I was 12 to pursue athletics. “My speciality was middle distance running – anything from 800 metres to 10 kilometres.

“During my career I represented Sussex County and Lewes AC and won a fair few county level championships.

“But football was my first love and so I have gone back to it to win this Samsung competition.

“Athletics will help though. My stamina and fitness levels are really high. I have no regrets.

“This will be my second year with Ringmer but I am looking ahead to bigger things – like a pro contract!”

AFC Ringmer are in the Championship Division of the Mid Sussex League.

For the first time since Win A Pro Contract was launched in 2010, there are three professional contracts on offer as Wycombe Wanderers join Samsung’s existing partnerships with Swindon Town and Leyton Orient.

Amateur players of all abilities can enter the competition (on www.facebook.com/samsungfootball) and this year three winners will earn one-year professional contracts – one at each Football League club.

Hopefuls will be tested at regional skills trials and 11-a-side matches as they bid to kick-start their dreams of becoming a professional footballer.

Last year’s winners, Jack Sherratt and Kayden Jackson, signed for Leyton Orient and Swindon Town respectively, and are hoping to make first-team debuts this season.

Registration for Samsung Win A Pro Contract 2013/14 closes on September 16. Entrants must be 17 years of age by June 30, 2014.

To sign up, please go to www.facebook.com/samsungfootball

Ambassador for the competition is former international midfielder Matt Le Tissier, who spent his entire professional career at Southampton – making 443 appearances and scoring 161 goals – and gained eight England caps.