student-athlete signs for Leeds Rhinos
One of our student-athletes has achieved a lifelong dream by signing for Leeds Rhinos.
He has become the second player from the Development Academy team, following the signing of Mekhi Bridgeman-Reaney earlier this year, to sign a professional contract with the Rhinos.
Fulfilling a childhood dream
Kyden is one of seven members of the Academy squad to have just signed with the rugby league club. A lifelong Rhinos fan, he declared himself ‘over the moon’ – and credited the role of his community club, Milford, and the Development Academy in helping him reach this stage.
He said: “It’s probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. Wearing that jersey which I’ve always wanted to wear, for the club I’ve supported since I was a little boy, is something I’ve wanted to do since I started playing rugby.”
Although usually a full-back, Kyden, who helped the Development Academy team reach the College Cup final this year, has already scored a couple of tries on the wing for the Rhinos Under-18s.
The Development Academy’s professional set-up has improved my game
He said: “It’s a good feeling scoring for the Rhinos and hearing the crowd there cheering you on and getting behind you really drives you on.
“I played for Milford from a young age up until last year, when I moved into the Rhinos Academy and also played for the Development Academy team, which was great.
“I got to my first ever final and, although we didn’t get the result we needed, to play in my first final at Headingley was a special experience. Everything about the Development Academy is so professional and it’s good because you’re playing in a different environment from your club team, with a different set of mates.
“Some of those lads have never played competitively before so it’s a really good grounding and you definitely learn a lot from the coaches, which helps improve your game.”
Kyden, who is studying a level 2 Fitness Instructing (gym) course, is determined to now push on and reach the very top level of his sport.
He added: “Hopefully if I keep working hard then eventually I’ll reach the first team, because that’s the next goal I want to achieve with the club.”
The Development Academy is part of Leeds Sports Connect, which offers quality education and training through a link between Leeds City College and Leeds Sixth Form College and a number of local, professional sports clubs.
Deputy Principal of Leeds Sixth Form College, Ryan Grant, said: “The Development Academy team has had a fantastic year and to see another of their players sign up with the Rhinos is testament to that.
“Kyden has thoroughly earned this opportunity and we’re confident he will achieve great things as he pushes on to the next level.
“Making amazing opportunities like this achievable is the driving force behind the development academy, and Leeds Sports Connect – so it is really rewarding to see student-athletes like Kyden take their chance.
“We’re really proud of him!”
To learn more about the Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Development Academy click here.