One of the best news stories to come out from the Staggies this summer was the announcement of 4 Academy Graduates signing full time professional contracts. The announcement came hot on the heels of last season where Tom Grivosti and Ross Munro made the step up to the 1st team, both claiming medals in the Challenge Cup and Championship successes. In the first of our four part series we catch up with each of the new “Pro’s” in the Staggies ranks, in this feature we speak to Joel MacBeath.
Joel has been with the County Academy for a number of years and last season also scooped the Reserve Team Player of the Year. Signing his professional contract was a massive achievement for Joel but something he hopes people see he has worked hard for. “It was a great feeling signing professional. I knew I had a good season towards the end, obviously I was a bit unlucky with injuries at the beginning (of the season), but I came back, scored goals and got on to the bench for the 1st team, I did work hard so I felt like I merited it in that sense. It was just a great feeling to have the contract offered to me.”
For a lot of us out there reading this, its easy to ask the question “Well what does turning professional mean?”. Turning professional is the ultimate progression, there is no “apprentice” tag anymore its about competing at the same level as the 1st Team and trying to get your break through in to the 1st Team Squad.
“Signing my contract didn’t change too much for me. I was used to travelling up the road and I knew the club really well and I was also here full time before as an apprentice before signing the contract. There wasn’t too much of a transition for me. The facilities here are great as well. You can do the on and off field training, we have the gym and I now live locally so I have the facilities on my doorstep.”
Signing his first professional contract is not the “be all and end all” for MacBeath. One of the things he stressed to us the most across our chat was the need to set personal targets and fulfill a lot of his big ambitions. “I’ve got a lot of ambition. I want to make it through to the first team, I do want to be as successful as I can. I want to go on and represent my country. Its about taking all of the little goals and achievements and piecing them together.”
“I think now I just have to keep working hard on the pitch and off the pitch. Richie is always telling us we need to do more. I also need to then take that work on to the pitch and continue scoring goals and providing assists and link up the play."
Everybody in and around Ross County wishes Joel every success for this forthcoming season and look forward to seeing him continue to develop here at the Global Energy Stadium. You can sponsor Joel now, just CLICK HERE!