Fulham have handed American goalkeeper Alex Borto his first professional contract after an impressive first season in London.

The seventeen year old stopper signed for the Whites from the Cedar Stars Academy last summer, having reportedly been tracked by the likes of Manchester United and Leicester City. Borto had to endure the difficulties of a coronavirus-enforced travel ban and quarantining in the United Kingdom before being able to train with his new team-mates and made his debut in the under 18s’ 4-1 win at West Bromwich Albion in October.

The New Jersey native has quickly established himself as Steve Wigley’s first choice goalkeeper, keeping six clean sheets in eleven appearances as the under 18s have moved to the top of the Premier League south table. Borto was delighted to have been rewarded with a professional deal, telling Fulham’s official website:

“I was really happy because it was always a dream of mine to go pro. For me to hear that news, I was just so blessed. All the hard work that I’ve been putting in has paid off. My parents sacrificed so much for me. They’d drive me an hour, maybe two to practice and to games and to see it pay off is just amazing.

This is a great academy and my aim is to play with the under-23s next year and hopefully train with the first team eventually. The goal of course, is to get to a point where I’m training with the First Team everyday.”

Fulham’s academy director, Huw Jennings, added:

“Alex is a goalkeeper who hails from the US. He had to overcome a range of challenges during the pandemic, such as leaving home and settling into a brand new environment. He has managed very well and has become the 18s number one, performing at a high level. Alex qualifies to play for Poland as well as USA and both nations are monitoring his progress closely.”