DORSET duo Chris Bartlett and Ryan Ross have been shortlisted in a nationwide competition to win a professional contract with a Football League club.
More than 5,000 players from all over the country entered the Samsung Win A Pro Contract and both goalkeeper Bartlett and winger Ross are already through to skills testing sessions And 20-year-old Bartlett and 18-year-old Ross, from Weymouth and Dorchester respectively, will now take part in the first-round trials that could see them eventually sign up for either Swindon Town or Leyton Orient.
Last year’s winner, Chris Smith, was a student before he joined the Robins in February and made his debut against Bradford City three months later.
He said: “When I entered Win A Pro Contract I was just one of the thousands of players in the competition who dreamed of playing professional football. My dream came true.
“This year, for the first time, there are two clubs involved. So there are two pro contracts to be won. I wish every player the best of luck.”
Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio said: “The Samsung Win A Pro Contract competition offers an amazing prize.
“But it will not be an easy journey for the players who have entered.
“They will have to work very hard to earn a chance here.”
Orient boss, and former Yeovil Town chief, Russell Slade added: “Becoming a professional footballer is a demanding process. This competition will be very tough in terms of fitness, as well as skill.
“The players who have made it through to the first-round trials will need to give it their all if they want to go on and live the dream.”
Win A Pro Contract hopefuls take part in a series of trials and full matches watched by club scouts and the two managers.
The two winners will be chosen in January 2013.