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Chelsea Academy goalkeeper embarks upon unconventional loan path

Chelsea Under-18 regular Jared Thompson has joined Vanarama National League South (sixth tier) side Chippenham Town on loan for the upcoming season. Thompson is the latest Chelsea goalkeeper prospect to opt for a non-league loan to gain valuable experience that he otherwise wouldn’t just playing for the youth teams.

Thompson joined Chelsea from Swindon as a 13-year-old and made his Under-18 debut three years ago, while still an Under-15. He’s been sharing goalkeeping duties with Nathan Baxter and subsequently Jamie Cumming for the Under-18 side since the 2015/16 season, and has also been capped by England at the Under-17 and Under-19 level. He was first choice for the England Under-17 team at the 2016 European Championship, in a squad that also featured fellow Chelsea academy players like Dujon Sterling, Trevoh Chalobah and Mason Mount.

Last season, in a similar fashion, Nathan Baxter joined Metropolitan Police FC, who play in the Isthmian League (seventh tier) for half the season and then spent the rest of the season with Solihull Moors in the Vanarama National League (fifth tier), successfully helping them avoid relegation. In April, Baxter spoke about his experience in non-league football and it was apparent that the youngster had greatly benefited from a season in senior football, even if at a semi-professional level. This season, Baxter will continue his development on loan with Woking in the National League and the loan of Thompson to Chippenham is a clear indicator that Chelsea are looking to expose these young goalkeepers to pressure situations they would never face playing for the best youth teams in England.

There’s no lack of reinforcements in the Academy pipeline either, with new signings Nicholas Tie and Karlo Ziger set to share Under-18 duties this season.

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