Crawley Town Performance U18s ➡️ Training with Crawley Town first team ➡️ Signs pro with Crawley Town FC all in the space of 10 months... The story of Rafiq Khaleel 👇
Young attacking midfielder Rafiq Khaleel is being backed to continue his remarkable football journey after earning a professional contract with Crawley Town Football Club less than 10 months after graduating through Crawley Town Performance Academy.
Rafiq was on trial for Crawley Town Performance when he was spotted by ASE scouting team in the summer of 2019. After signing for the academy, Rafiq has not looked back since, playing for the Under-18s, winning the league treble, training with the first team and continuing his development competing against the likes of Arsenal, Brighton & Charlton.
Head Coach Kevin Spriggs said ‘We are thrilled for Rafiq. When we brought him in, we knew he had potential.
This is a kid who has never been in an Academy system, who has been playing while at school and he's making mature decisions you'd expect from midfielders in a first team
He had much to do technically and tactically, but he was full of energy, had a great attitude, and most importantly works hard. We have worked with him on his physical/tactical game and he's come on leaps and bounds. He still comes in despite now being a First team player and passing on his senior insight and information to help his team mates. He's evolved his game, added to his qualities and is a real pleasure to work with.
Check out Rafiq in first team action..
Rafiq also displays that versatility coaches love. Academy Director Jamie Strong said 'Rafiq has played in a number of positions, to aid his development. He's an inside left midfielder, but he's played on the outside of a diamond, front 3, deep lying playmaker and also as a No. 10. He's got attacking qualities and yet he's pressing from the front and tracking back making tackles deep in his own half. He actually joined us as a left back!
I've challenged him to score more goals as he's got that in him and has a real attacking mindset. He's got so much to work with and I'm really excited to see how he does full-time with the first team next season.
We are delighted for him and his family. He is determined to progress in the game and we are always talking with him about making improvements on and off the pitch.
He has demonstrated that hard work gets rewarded and continues to set a fantastic example to the group'. Rafiq Khaleel has taken his opportunities this year, including goals against Brighton & Charlton. Interested in becoming the next academy graduate? Register Here