The partnership forged in 2017 between Taunton Town Football Club and Bridgwater and Taunton College is beginning to reap its rewards with the confirmation that Luke Manley and Noah Coppin have both signed for the forthcoming season.

The two college youngsters featured for the Peacocks last year in the Somerset Premier Cup and have now been included in the first team squad for the new campaign. Defender Manley has additionally caught the eye of Exeter City where he is on a six week trial. He remarked:” I am delighted to have signed for this great club. With the top players and experienced coaches, I feel I can develop here and become a big part of the team. Everyone has been very welcoming since I first walked into the changing rooms. I can’t wait for the season to get going.”

Coppin who has already scored twice during pre-season was equally as enthusiastic, saying:” I’m really happy to be signing on with Taunton Town again. I can see the club moving forward in a positive direction and I’m glad to be a part of it. The team has been really welcoming and I feel I can learn a lot from all of them. I look forward to this season and all it brings.”

Head of Football Rob Dray can see the obvious potential of the two players, commenting:” Both these young players have come through our partnership with the College. In the time they have been with us their progression has been quicker than I anticipated and since they have been back for pre-season I can see that both have got bigger and stronger and most importantly playing men’s football with good players has benefitted both massively. I’m looking forward to seeing these two develop.”

The partnership between the club and college was initiated two years ago to facilitate a pathway for aspiring young footballers from the age of 11 in the JPL set-up through to college football and the possible gateway to first team football with the Peacocks.

Chairman Kevin Sturmey said:” I am delighted to see both Luke Manley and Noah Coppin being signed again by the club this season. They have both made progress since being added to the squad last season and both are maturing as young men and footballers. They have great potential and being around such an experienced squad full of winners will help them with their football education.”

He continued:” The partnership with Bridgwater and Taunton College has been a great boost to the club and with our Community Trust providing a pathway for over 160 children from 11-16 years of age the future is certainly bright when you bear in mind this has only been running for two years. Once University football starts at University Centre Somerset I hope this will mean more young adults stay in football longer than perhaps has been the case in the past as in the partnership we want to nurture players so they aspire to play at the highest level they can.”