Weston-super-Mare AFC are delighted to announce that goalkeeper Harry Lee and centre-back Ed James have signed on long-term loans from Exeter City.
Both 18 years of age, the highly-rated pair have been in and around Exeter’s first team across the past couple of years as well as gaining good experience out on loan.
The duo are the latest players to have followed the well-trodden path from Devon to Somerset, with Ollie Watkins, Jordan Tillson, Jason Pope, Alex Byrne, Ben Seymour, Archie Collins, Joel Randall and Sonny Cox having all featured on loan for the Seagulls from the Grecians over the last decade.
On signing the pair, Manager Scott Bartlett said:
Harry is a very good goalkeeper with a bright future. At a young age, he has had a lot of experience being around Exeter’s first team.
“He is a very mature personality and has had some excellent loans already, and is highly regarded at Exeter City.
“It was important we added another excellent goalkeeper to our squad to compete with Luke and we are delighted to welcome Harry into our squad.
“Ed is going to be a brilliant centre-half that will not be playing National League football for long.
“We missed out on a loan for Ed last season by a couple of hours but have beaten off a lot of competition locally this time around.
“I am sure you will join me in welcoming him into the club.
“We are pleased and proud that we have been trusted as the club to help Harry and Ed in the next stage of their development, and we thank Marcus Flitcroft, Gary Caldwell and Kev Nicholson for their help with this”.
Harry progressed through the Academy ranks at Exeter City after joining them at the age of 11, and while still an under-16 player, he was an unused substitute 29 times during the 2020-2021 season.
In the summer of 2021, he agreed to professional scholarship terms when progressing into the under-18s setup, and continued his first-team trajectory during the early months of the 2021-2022 season by making two appearances and being named an unused substitute 13 times.
In October 2021, he joined Southern League Premier Division South side Dorchester Town on a one-month loan deal and made three appearances before being recalled two weeks early.
Back with Exeter, he made one appearance and was an unused substitute once for the Grecians.
In December 2021, the young keeper made two appearances for Dorchester Town after signing for another month’s loan.
In March 2022, he joined Western League Premier Division side Tavistock AFC for two weeks as goalkeeper cover, appearing twice for the Devon club.
Harry penned his first professional contract with Exeter in March 2022, and was an unused substitute twice for their first-team during the opening weeks of the 2022-2023 season.
To gain more exposure to senior football, he returned to Dorchester Town on a one-month loan in August 2022 which was later extended until the end of the season. At Dorch, he made 13 appearances and kept four clean sheets before being recalled in October 2022 by his parent club due to goalkeeping injuries.
Back at St James’ Park, he made a further two appearances and kept one clean sheet, being named on the bench 13 times as an unused substitute during this stint.
In February 2023, he joined Southern League Premier Division South side Plymouth Parkway on loan until the end of the season. He took his chance at Plymouth with both hands, keeping six clean sheets in 11 games before being recalled by Exeter six weeks into his loan spell.
Back at Exeter, he filled the goalkeeper spot on their bench six times to end a strong 2022-2023 season for the shot-stopper.
Young defender Ed joined the Exeter City Academy at the age of eight and progressed through the ranks to join their under-18s in the summer of 2021.
In July 2022, he got his first experience of senior football by joining Western League Premier Division side Saltash United on a short-term loan, making four appearances.
When returning to Exeter in October 2022, he made three appearances and was an unused substitute four times for the Grecians as he caught the eye of the coaching staff.
At the end of October 2022, he moved on loan to National League South side Weymouth FC until January, making two appearances and being an unused substitute twice before being recalled by Exeter in December 2022.
Ed finally got his chance to gain regular senior football by joining Southern League Premier South side Tiverton Town on loan in January 2023 until the end of the season, scoring two goals and assisting one in 24 appearances for the Yellows. In his final game for his loan club, he helped ‘Tivvy’ win the Devon St Luke’s Bowl 2023.
During his loan spell at Tivvy, Ed penned his first professional contract at Exeter in March 2023.
If you would like to sponsor Harry or Ed, then please email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to welcome Harry and Ed to the club and wish them both all the best when pulling on the Seagulls shirt.