Rochdale Football Club are delighted to announce that Aaron Morley has signed his first professional contract, just days after turning 17-years-old.
He has penned a deal until the summer of 2019.
Morley, a first year scholar, has impressed during his time at the club’s Academy and earned himself a first-team debut earlier this season, completing 90 minutes for Dale against Notts County in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Four days later, he made his English Football League debut, starting in Rochdale’s 3-0 win over Southend United. He has since gone on to make a total of six first team appearances for Keith Hill’s side.
Manager Keith Hill said: “Aaron has been given an opportunity and he has taken it. That’s what’s unique about this football club - we give opportunities to young players.
“There was interest in Aaron from other clubs after we played him as a 16-year-old, so it’s brilliant that he has committed his future to Rochdale Football Club.
“It has been a brilliant season for him so far – he’s learning all the time. He has been learning while playing for the first team and the youth team, and his training has been superb. He’s ahead of his years.
“Aaron is a great signing for the football club.”
Tony Ellis, Academy Manager, commented: “I’d like to congratulate Aaron. He fully deserves this opportunity, and it’s great to see that all his hard work and commitment has paid off.
“From an Academy perspective, it gives us an enormous sense of pride to see yet another scholar make the transition from our youth team into first team environment.”
Morley added: “I love playing football and I love it here at Rochdale. I’m really, really pleased to have signed and to have been given the opportunity to sign a contract for the next couple of years.
“This is a big step in my career and I’m going to continue working hard to keep improving and developing.”
Morley joins a long-list of Rochdale players who have made the progression from the club’s successful Academy into the first-team environment.
Recently, the Rochdale AFC Academy has been named as one of the best in the country at producing players. The latest statistics, which take into account the last three seasons, show that Dale are ranked second out of the 72 EFL clubs and third out of the 92 when it comes to producing players. They are number one at Category Three level.