Brad Wade says it is an honour to sign his first professional contract with the club.
The 18-year-old has signed a one-year deal at the Crown Oil Arena, with the option of a further year.
“I’m delighted,” said Wade. “I’ve been here three years now, so all the hard work I’ve put in during my time in the Academy and in my scholarship over the two years has all paid off.”
The goalkeeper was a key figure as the Youth Team lifted the EFL Youth Alliance League North West title last season, and has appeared in three FA Youth Cup campaigns, having been with the club since the age of 15.
“I feel like I’ve really improved over the seasons I’ve been here. We [the Youth Team] have had a great year this year winning the league.
“I feel like I’ve had a really good season. It’s been a positive year for me coming on from my first year to my second year, I feel like I’ve really developed and that’s through pure hard work and listening to the staff.”
He was a regular in first team training last season, something he feels will stand him in good stead going into his first year as a professional.
“It’s really helped me, because I know the standard that the manager and the other players expect.
“The first few weeks I was getting used to the pace of the ball which was difficult, but I felt like I fitted in pretty well and I was glad I was given the opportunity to show what I can do.
“I know the standards that are expected, so I know where I’ve got to be and what I need to do, and I’ve been working hard over the off-season to make sure I’m ready to go come pre-season.”
Wade also feels that training alongside the first team squad, in particular Dale number one Josh Lillis, has aided his development over the last 12 months.
“It’s helped massively, they’ve given me all the help that I could possibly ask for.
“Josh has played 100s of times now for Rochdale, he’s a great ‘keeper and it’s good having someone like that to learn from.
“He’s a great goalkeeper and a great person, so he’s helped massively with my development over the year, having someone that you can watch week in, week out, looking at his strengths and taking things from him.”
The youngster is now looking forward to returning for pre-season training, including the week-long trip to Tenerife.
“I can’t wait! I’ve heard it’s a tough week, but that’s what pre-season needs to be to get back into it, and I can’t wait to get back out there.”
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