17-year-old Saba Gagua was scouted from our five day trial and training camp by Hartley Wintney after a very impressive performance throughout the week.
We caught up with the intelligent playmaker to gain an understanding into his football history, why he chose to attend our event and what has happened since.
First of all we asked Saba what his background in football is. He told us: "My football history is as follows: I started playing football from a very young age in Georgia (country of origin) however, I didn’t join a team until the age of 10, which is when I moved to the UK."
"Here, I joined a local grassroots team and was only playing on Sundays with training once a week. Originally the team had me playing in CDM role but after a couple of games they tried me as a Striker and in that game I scored 5 goals and for the rest of my time for that team they had me playing as number 9."
"After a couple of years playing at the Sunday league level, I decided to take a step up and join a local training academy called MLT Academy at U13-U15 level. During my time with MLT I was being coached by high level coaches and I learned a lot and developed myself as a footballer."
"After my U15 season, I joined a team called AFC Totton and was playing a year up with U16 and U17 players. Playing a year up in a good competitive league also helped me with my development and I took a lot away with those experiences. I spent two seasons at AFC Totton before moving to a team called Totton & Eiling."
Moving on from this, we were curious as to why Saba chose to attend our events and why he wasn't getting the scouting opportunities playing Sunday League football, he explained: "I think the reason why I wasn’t getting an opportunity to showcase my abilities was because of the area I played in. Not many good players in my area got noticed and I always thought it was because not many scouts from professional clubs visited grassroots football in my area."
"I always thought that I had the potential to get scouted if I played well In front of the right people and that is why I decided to come to a UK Football Trials event. I actually visited UKFT in February 2016 for a 1 day trial in West London but didn’t get scouted because I wasn’t ready at that time. But after a couple years went by and I developed more as a footballer I chose to return for a five day trial this time and luckily I got scouted this time."
After learning that he had been scouted by Hartley Wintney, we asked Saba what had happened since, he told us: "Unfortunately due to me getting a last second injury I couldn’t go to any further trials with the club but me and the scout Andy spoke over the phone and he decided to offer me a place in the academy programme."
As a player who was playing grassroots football to singing for a semi-pro academy, we asked Saba if he had any advice for players in a similar position to himself, he told us: "I advise all players who are serious about their football and getting scouted to come along to a UK Football Trials event and showcase their talents in front of the many scouts that attend these trial events. Even if they don’t get scouted they will be able to see what they can improve on and it will give the player a better understanding on what scouts and clubs look for."
UK Football Trials would like to congratulate Saba on a brilliant performance with both us and Hartley Wintney and wish him the best of luck in the future.