Every year across Scotland, a handful of young men fulfill their boyhood dreams when they sign full-time for a football club. Here at YFS we're putting the spotlight on the new kids on the block who've just made the grade from youth academy level to the professional game, as they make the next step in their promising careers. Here, focus is on Kilmarnock FC.
A strong youth policy has helped Kilmarnock retain their Scottish Premiership status over recent seasons, so who is going to be the next Greg Kiltie or Greg Taylor to break through to the first team at Kilmarnock?
The 17 year old shot stopper from Mauchline, recently signed a two year deal with the club meaning that at the end of the deal he will have been at the club for nine years. He joined as a ten year old and has progressed up through the clubs youth systems all the way to the Under 20s. During his time at the club he also attended Mauchline academy and played for the school team, helping the school reach the Under 14 Ayrshire SFA League Cup Final in 2013. A game which Lyle made a number of great saves, but his side narrowly lost 1-0 to Grange Academy. He has been around the first team since 2016 and featured on the bench three times last season but is yet to make his first team debut.Despite struggling to breakthrough to the first team he has cemented his place in the Under 20s side that managed to reach the semi-final of the u20’s Cup. This season he has been heavily involved in the first team's pre-season and has featured once on the bench in competitive games. This being in the 4-2 home win over Clyde in the League Cup group stages. With Jamie McDonald, and Cammy Bell returning to the club, the young goalkeeper might struggle for first team minutes, but he will certainly be intent on making his mark on Killie’s first team this season.
The centre half also signed a two year deal in the summer and will be looking to add youthfulness into an ageing Killie back line. 18 year old Wilson will wear the number 41 shirt this season and attended the Grange Academy in Kilmarnock. As a teen he played the majority of his football in Kilmarnock and captained local side Crosshouse before he joined St Mirren. However, he soon returned to playing his football in Kilmarnock joining the Under 17 side and was another key player to the side of who reached the semi-final of Under 20s cup. Growing up and playing the majority of his football in Kilmarnock he will be dreaming of donning the famous blue and white and perhaps one day captain his home town side.