Jacob Safa wins Steve Clarke Trophy

Steve Avory pictured with Jacob Safa

U16s captain Jacob Safa received the Steve Clarke Trophy on Friday evening and was presented with his award ahead of the U18s' 5-1 win over Sheffield United at The Valley.

Safa became the second winner of the accolade after Henry Rylah picked up the trophy last year, for his outstanding progress as an U16.

Steve Clarke was a much loved and revered Charlton supporter for over fifty years, who died in September 2020. He was a Valley Party candidate, chair of the supporters club, the first Charlton supporter director and latterly he was chair of Charlton Athletic Supporters' Trust (CAST).

After his untimely death, the CAST board decided to commemorate him by making an annual award in his name to a young player at Charlton Athletic.

Safa said: “It feels brilliant, all those weeks and months of hard work throughout this season, it makes it all worth it. I’m really proud to receive this award.

“It’s lovely to receive it with my family because my parents have to play a big part and the sacrifices they make as well – taking me to all the games, my dad has to wake up early, my mum washing all my kit, making sure I’ve got everything ready for my game. Also my grandad takes me to training every Tuesday, so I’m thankful to all my family.”

Jacob Safa pictured with Steve Avory, his family and Richard Wiseman from CAST

The award criteria were based on the EFL Apprentice of the Year award that Jordan Cousins, Ademola Lookman and, most recently, Deji Elerewe and Zach Mitchell achieved:

• Contribution to the team performance

• Consistent individual performance and progress

• Outstanding personal qualities that contribute to and develop team ethic and togetherness

• Educational achievements in the football scholarship

Academy Director Steve Avory said: “He deserves the award for outstanding progress as an U16 player during the course of this season. He’s the captain of the U16s, deservedly so and he leads by example week in, week out. He’s a very dedicated trainer towards improving his overall game, technically and tactically and deservedly got his scholarship earlier on this season. We’re looking forward to having him in the building full time next year. He’s already played for our U18s quite a few times this season. He’ll be a valuable member of that squad going forward.”

CAST board member Richard Wiseman said: "Steve Clarke loved seeing young players come through, so we’re thrilled that Jacob has fulfilled the criteria and taken the award this year.”

Charlton fans can support the Academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club's Academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.

Click here for more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member.

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