Teenage footballer Jack Waters is determined to make the most of his opportunity at Frickley Athletic as he looks to bounce back from a disappointing year in which he saw his dream of playing in the Football League dashed – for now.
The Wakefield-born defender turned midfielder has not given up on his ambition despite several knock backs from professional clubs and is intent on proving his ability at non-league level before climbing up the ladder.
Jack, 19, was formerly on the academy books at Sheffield United and Bradford City, but signed for Frickley in the summer and is gaining valuable experience in senior football for the first time while holding down a regular place in the Evo-Stik Premier League club’s first team.
He was initially involved as a central defender, which has always been his position, but more recently he has been playing games as a central midfielder – a role he is taking to well.
“I’m loving life at Frickley and have a great team around me,” Jack told the Express.
“I’m enjoying travelling around the country and really testing myself and feel that I have developed more playing non-league football than I did playing reserves or under 21 football.
“Karl Rose brought me into the team when he was manager and what happened to him was unfortunate. However, since coming in Lee Morris has definitely helped test myself to a higher degree.
“I’ve been playing games in midfield and managed to get the winner against Rushall Olympic.”
Jack’s move to Frickley came about due to his agents, Prince Lamona and Andrew Khalil (G154 Ltd), having a good working relationship with then manager Karl Rose and Blues chairman Gareth Dando.
He was released by Bradford City in the summer and had trials with League One side Wimbledon AFC and Conference North team Nuneaton, but fell just short due to a lack of experience playing men’s football – prompting Jack to try his hand lower down the football pyramid.
He was with Bradford City from 2014 to 2016 while he was previously on scholarship forms from the age of 14 with Sheffield United and spent three years with the Blades.
Jack admits to being disappointed at not being taken on further by the Football League clubs, but has not lost any of his determination to succeed.
He said: “I believe that under Lee Morris’ guidance I can soon make it back to the Football League.
“Ever since I have started playing at Frickley I have become stronger and fitter. I’ve been exposed to real mens football on a weekly basis and been forced to grow up and fight for a place in the team and the survival of the team in the Evo-Stik Premier League.
“My personal ambition is to one day return to the Football League and play at the highest level possible.
“I’ve always wanted to be a footballer ever since I was a young boy and it first started when I played for the Leeds City Boys at junior level.
“However, at present I’m learning my trade and need more games at non-league football level.
“Hopefully we can manage to go on a winning run and climb up the table and get to safety from relegation and I can do my bit to help.”