A schoolboy footballer has swept a step closer to achieving his American dream after securing the grades he needs for college.

Centre mid-fielder William Watt celebrated his 16th birthday with a brace of 9s, 8s and a 7 in his GCSEs allowing him to go to sixth form college and keeping him on the pathway to a football scholarship in the USA.

The Haughton Academy pupil has been playing football since he was five-years-old and has been spotted by scouts working for American universities offering scholarships.

After he completes his A Levels in English, history and PE he would be assigned a university, possibly in New York, Boston or Florida, where he would combine his football with a sports degree.

“A company contacted me for video clips of my matches to send to America,” said William, who plays for All Stars. “My GCSEs are another way of being noticed on the academic side and  I cannot wait. Football is the thing I love the most and it is certainly worth giving it a go as a career. If it doesn’t work out then at least I will have been to America and can pursue another career involving sports.”

For fellow footballer Ruby Yousef her top results will allow her to engineer a bright future in industry.

The 16-year-old has just started playing again for the new side Darlington Locomotives and now plans to study A levels in maths, geography and sport and leisure at sixth form college.

“I was so pleased with my results and did a lot better than I imagined,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to college and one day hope to work in engineering.”

Jake Mason, 16, not only has an eye on studying at Darlington College but would also like to work there after signing up for a L3 Btec in business and accounting.

“I went for a look round and it was amazing,” said the Haughton Academy pupil. “As well as studying there I’d love to get a work placement in the college. I love maths so that is the accounts side and business provides everything I will need to work, possibly for myself one day.

“I was so relieved when I got my results as it was really difficult to gauge whether I was doing enough work during lockdown but now I know I must have been.”

Rebecca Wem, 16, will be able to follow her ecological goals after her results secured her a place at sixth form college to study biology, chemistry and geography.

“I have always been passionate about nature and would love to study ecology and environmental science at university, hopefully on a Level 6 apprenticeship with an ecology company,” she said.

“I was really happy with my results and really enjoyed being at Haughton Academy where the support from teachers was really good. I’m really excited about going to college.”

Haughton Academy principal Jonathan Lumb said: “There have been some phenomenal achievements by our pupils and it is a testament to their hard work, dedication, and determination.

“These results have been achieved despite a turbulent year for all schools. The far reaching effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have created unprecedented and extremely challenging environments. Despite this, the young people in Haughton Academy have risen to the challenge and must be unreservedly congratulated.

“I would also like to congratulate our teachers for all of the hard work that they have put in to deliver these grades. The Covid-related disruption over the past 18 months meant it was crucial to trust the professional judgement of teachers, to ensure grades were fair and reflected what pupils have learnt and are capable of achieving. I am extremely proud of the pupils and the staff who have worked so well together to achieve another improved set of examination outcomes.”