Chelsea academy goalkeeper Nathan Baxter has joined Yeovil Town in League Two on loan for the season. He becomes the third confirmed loan move of the season.
The 19-year-old spent the last two seasons on loan at three different non-league clubs — sixth division outfits Metropolitan Police and Solihull Moors in 2016-17, and most recently, Woking FC, a mid-table side in the National League, which is the the highest non-league tier in the English footballing pyramid.
The last couple of years have seen this new pathway emerge for the academy goalkeepers, to spend some time roughing it out in non-league football first where they would get tested a lot more than they would at Chelsea’s all-conquering youth sides. Jared Thompson, another Chelsea academy keeper, excelled on loan at National League South side Chippenham Town for example. Senior experience, even at a level as low as non-league is invaluable, and may ease their their path into professional football.
In fact, Baxter, who was named Woking’s Player of the Year last season, is the youngest Chelsea goalkeeper in recent years to sign for a Football League club on loan; Jamal Blackman, Mitchell Beeney and Bradley Collins, all went on their first senior loans when they were a year older than Baxter is.
With senior appearances in the excess of 80 to his name, Baxter’s ready to take the next step.
Good luck, Nathan!