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Lewis Orford pens his first professional deal with West Ham

[Credit: West Ham FC]

Lewis Orford has signed his first professional contract with West Ham United just days after celebrating his 17th birthday; the attacking midfielder put pen to paper on his contract at the club’s Academy of Football at Chadwell Heath.

A lifelong West Ham fan, Orford first joined West Ham at the age of five and has progressed through the academy ever since. He made his debut for the U18s during the 2020-21 season. His first campaign under Kevin Keen’s youth for the 2021-22 season saw the midfielder make 28 appearances and score three goals. Lewis Orford was rewarded for his contributions by signing scholarship terms last June. 

The creative midfield enforcer began the 2022/23 season in scintillating form for Kevin Keen’s side, scoring four goals in his side’s opening five games in the U18s Premier League South. His quick form earned him an opportunity with the U21s. In October, the youngster debuted for the development team in a Papa Johns Trophy tie away to MK Dons. Since then, he has played 18 times and scored seven goals for the U18s in all competitions this season. 

Lewis Orford was also rewarded for his early-season form as he was named in West Ham’s first team squad for the Europa Conference League Group B game away to Romanian side FCSB. Although he was an unused substitute for David Moyes’s side.

The young midfielder told the club’s website: “I am absolutely delighted to sign my first professional contract with the club, I have been here since the age of five, so it has been a long, really good journey and I have loved making memories here at the club. 

“It’s a proud moment for my family as well. They are all West Ham fans. My dad is a season ticket holder, so he is very proud of me, and I know my mum and the rest of my family are too!

“This club has a good history of graduates from its academy over the years. It’s a good moment for me, and I hope to kick on and get near the first team as soon as I can”

Interim Academy Manager Kenny Brown said: “Everyone at West Ham United is delighted to see Lewis sign his first professional contract with the club. 

“Lewis has been with the academy since he was five-years-old and this news will make many people very happy. His development over this period has been impressive and he is now performing at a high level with the U18s and U21s.

“Everyone at Chadwell Heath and Rush Green is excited to watch Lewis continue his development over the coming months and years.”

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