Heart of Midlothian Football Club is delighted to announce that six players from the Hearts Academy have put pen to paper on their first professional deals.
The talented youngsters have pledged to continue their development at Tynecastle Park and will be pushing for a place within the Under-18s and B-Team squads as the 23/24 campaign progresses.
Marking the club's continued faith in young talent, with James Wilson and Gus Stevenson penning terms earlier this year, Academy Manager Andrew Webster outlined the next steps for the group as they take their first fledgling steps into the professional ranks.
Speaking to the Official Hearts Website, he said: “The initial port of call will be all about establishing themselves. That will give them a grounding in what the full-time environment will look like. Basically, looking at ways to accelerate from there – starting with the Under-18s before working their way towards involvement with the B Team.
“The general ambitions of anyone coming into the academy should be about looking towards progressing to the next stage as quickly as they possibly can. That takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
“Rightly so, these young guys should be celebrating because it’s an achievement to get to this point – and one that takes a lot of hard work and effort. Everyone in football knows that the next step is always the hardest part though.
“We need to make sure they have the focus, determination, and discipline, to ensure they’re working towards that on a daily basis. If they can keep up that level of work, then they’ll reap the rewards down the line.”
Jamie Anderson – 2006 – 1-year – Centre Back / Full Back
Versatile operator Jamie plays as a centre-back or full-back and was part of our BU18s team last year, playing 25 games through the season.
Working hard throughout last year to earn the opportunity as a second year BU18, Jamie showed a real belief in his ability to earn a full-time deal. He joined the Academy from Portobello Community Football Academy in August of 2021, after previously playing for Penicuik Athletic Youth FC.
A defensively solid player who competes well, Jamie shows real aggression in his play, and a never say die attitude. Jamie has proved his versatility over his time in the BU18s, playing right across the backline, and communicates well with teammates.
Matthew Gillies – 2007 – 2 years – Centre Back / Full Back
Matthew joined Hearts at the Foundation Academy stage in 2016 as a 9-year-old from Spartans FC Youth. He then signed for the club in July of 2017 and has progressed through the Academy to earn his full-time deal.
The youngster attends the club's performance school at Balerno High, and has already played numerous times for the BU18s, turning out 24 times for them in 2022/23, as well as making his B-Team debut towards the end of last season.
Matthew predominantly plays as a centre back but can also play full back and shows real ease stepping into the middle of the park, where he utilises his superb array of passing. Matthew has also been recognised internationally with numerous Scotland call ups at U16 levels where he faced Denmark and Cyprus in a UEFA tournament in March of this year.
Owen Muirhead – 2007 – 2 years – Midfielder
Fresh off the heels of making his B Team debut against Gala Fairydean Rovers on Saturday, Owen is a box-to-box midfielder, who has also deputised at centre back and at striker during his short time in the Academy. A real all-rounder, Owen possesses great energy and ability on the ball to work up and down the pitch, with or against the ball.
Owen is another who featured for our BU18s last season despite being a BU16s, playing 21 times for them last term, and has played frequently for our B-Team throughout pre-season.
Owen signed for the Academy from Gairdoch United in March 2022, having previously been involved in Falkirk, St Mirren and St Johnstone’s academies in his younger years.
Szymon Plesiewicz – 2007 – 2 years - Striker
Szymon join the Academy in October 2020 from Spartans FC Youth, having previously played for Kirkliston & South Queensferry FC.
Szymon is a combative striker, something of a throwback in that respect, who is adept at holding the ball up and bringing others into play, as well as getting on the end of chances himself.
Featuring 26 times for our BU18s last season, Szymon made a consistent impact from the bench, including scoring twice including a memorable last-minute header to beat St Mirren 3-2 at Oriam in March.
Louie Selfridge – 2007 – 2 years – Left Back / Centre Back
Louie joined the Academy from Hillwood FC in June of 2022. Louie is a left-sided defender who usually operates in a full-back position but is equally adept at stepping into centre back with his height and strength.
Boasting good ability on the ball along with a knack, and willingness, for bombing up and down the left channel. Louie battled through injury last year to feature seven times for our BU18s and has shown great resilience to earn a contract.
Coupar Wilkie – 2007 – 2 Years - Goalkeeper
Coupar is a goalkeeper who has been at the Academy since the age of ten, having previously been part of Hibernian’s Academy. Coupar is an athletic goalkeeper with a good stature, and an ability to become an extra player when building the game.
Featuring six times for the BU18s last-term, Coupar will be looking to make the number one position his own this year and push onto challenging the B-Team goalkeepers too. Coupar will be part of the full-time environment over the coming months and finally get to ‘officially sign’ when he turns 16 later this year.