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Bury St Edmunds-based Sporting 87's season to remember capped by four USA scholarships

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The 2021/22 season will live long in the memory for all of those connected with Bury St Edmunds-based Sporting 87.

Jonathan Warnock’s side were crowned champions of Division One of the Macron Suffolk & Ipswich League, meaning for the first time in the club’s history they will be playing Senior Division football next term.

And while the result went against them, they also went mightily close to completing a double before losing 2-1 to higher-league Halesworth Town in the final of the Morrison Freight Cup.

Sporting 87's Luka Gelevski, Tom Gibson, Julian Read (manager) and Joe Carroll
Sporting 87's Luka Gelevski, Tom Gibson, Julian Read (manager) and Joe Carroll

The good news does not stop there though because it has been revealed that four young players have secured themselves USA scholarships, and are the first from the club to be switching across The Atlantic.

Tom Gibson, Joe Carroll and Luka Gelevski all turned out for the club’s Under-18 Thurlow Nunn League side last season, with the latter finishing as the South Division’s top scorer thanks to his return of 21 goals from 18 outings.

Gibson and Carroll, meanwhile, made 51 appearances for the first team as they secured their historic promotion.

Making up the quartet is Patrick Fisher-Butler, who has been featuring for the club’s Under-18 Sigma side in the Suffolk Youth League.

Director of football and first-team manager Warnock said: “To have four boys come through the club and be offered USA scholarships is amazing and a great testimony to their hard work along with all their coaches that have supported them on their journey so far.”

Under-18s manager Julian Read, who guided his team to a fifth-placed finish, added: “It’s been a pleasure to work with these players over the last few years.

“We’ve had a great group of lads in our squad this year and I’m so thrilled by how every single one of them has developed.

“For Luka, Tom and Joe, their next step is going to be a hugely exciting new challenge playing college football in the US.

“Everyone at Sporting 87 wishes them great success and will be following their continued progress with keen interest.”

Under-18s skipper Gibson has agreed a place at Midland University in Nebraska, where he will be studying sports management and marketing.

Carroll has had a number of offers but is to select where he will be going, while Gelevski will attend North Eastern College to study sports management and Fisher-Butler will go to the same Colorado-based facility to study business and agriculture.

Of Fisher-Butler, Sporting’s youth chairman Darren Brown said: “He’s been a very industrious and highly motivated player, adapting to any challenge given to him.

“Patrick fully deserves this great opportunity in the States. The squad, coach Richard and I wish him and the other football scholars all the best.”