A 19-YEAR-OLD Skipton man has been awarded a prestigious football scholarship to play in the USA.

Tom Windle, who went to Water Street Primary School and then Settle College, flew out to Dallas in August and is playing football for the Apaches soccer team whilst also studying for a college degree.

Tom, who spent seven years with Bradford City FC, was originally spotted by Bradford City whilst playing for Skipton LMS as an 11 year old in a Silsden football tournament.

Tom initially played for Bradford City FC Academy and then was whilst serving his apprenticeship as a full-time football player he earned the opportunity to play with Bradford City FC senior reserve team which won the North Central League North league.

He also went on to play for Bradford City FC's first team and made three appearances in the 2016/17 season.

His father Lee Windle said Tom is one of a only a few to have made it through the academy and make a first team appearance.

Tom also played for Bradford Boys, which famously were crowned national champions in 2013.

As national champions they the played in a tournament in Ireland. He played against the Republic of Ireland in 2013 in the final.

He will now have the opportunity to combine his university studies alongside playing a very high level of football and training full time for the next four years.

Tom is delighted to have secured a football scholarship and is already enjoying and embracing the experience of playing football in the USA, whilst also obtaining a college degree.

His team, who are one of the highest ranked NJCAA Division One teams in the USA, have just won both the regional and South District titles (champions of Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana).

“We are so very proud and delighted for Tom," said his father Lee. "This is such an amazing opportunity for him.

"He had already done brilliant, as not many get the chance to experience professional first team football as it’s such a competitive sport to get this far.

"His hard work has really paid off for him. Very few get this kind of opportunity and I’m sure he will make the most of it.

"It will also be such a terrific life experience for him. He will experience a different style of football, lifestyle and many different cultures.

"The team that he is playing for have football players from all around the world. We are so excited for him and wish him well.”