Charlie Oatway junior impressed during a three-week trial at the end of last season and will play with Luke Williams’s development squad during the coming season.
Albion’s head of football operations David Burke said, “We have signed Charlie on a development contract. Obviously people will recognise the name, but Charlie junior is here on merit.
“We monitored him while playing non-league football with Bognor and East Preston and on the recommendation of our youth and development coaches we invited him for a trial last season.”
An over the moon Oatway junior said, “I’m absolutely delighted. My dream has always been to play football full-time, and now that I’ve got this opportunity it’s up to me prove myself.
“I was starting to give up hope of becoming a professional when I got to the age of 20, because we don’t seem to hear about players being picked out of non-league football as much as we used to. But I kept working hard and thankfully it happened in the end.
“Luke Williams offered me a couple of weeks’ training with the development squad towards the end of last season, and it went from there.
“Luke tries to develop the young professionals into first-team players, in a way that suits the gaffer, so his influence can only make me a better player.”
Albion fans will have fond memories of his father and for Albion skipper playing a key role as a combative midfielder at Withdean but there are few similarities between Charlie and his dad on the pitch.
“We are completely opposite players,” said 20-year-old Charlie. “I’ve always looked up to my dad and am proud of what he’s achieved in the game, and I’ve got a lot of my motivation from him.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone and want to become the best I possibly can. I don’t want to rest on a one-year contract, instead I want to push on to reach my potential.”