Ollie hellbent on making his mark at Colchester United
The football season may have finished for the summer, but for Ollie Sims the hard work is just beginning as he targets his Colchester United debut after a taste of being with the first team.
The 17-year-old, who first honed his skills with local club Cornard Dynamos, is determined to make sure his inclusion in John
McGreal’s matchday squad for the final game of the season is anything but a one-off.
Although Sims did not make it off the bench for his first-team debut down in Devon, a 1-0 defeat to Exeter, it has only increased his appetite to make the step up to becoming a fully-fledged professional footballer.
While the majority of his team-mates are sunning themselves on beaches over the summer, the former Thomas Gainsborough School pupil will be going to and from the club’s gym base in Tiptree on a daily basis for the next six weeks to complete a programme aimed at building him up for the rigours of men’s football.
“Obviously it is quite a long, hard season and it would be nice to have a break, but it is only going to improve you. The plan is it will help me hit the ground running come pre-season,” said the left winger, who grew up in Great Cornard, where his family still live, before moving into digs in Colchester when starting his two-year scholarship last summer.
“Being a professional footballer is what I have always wanted to do and I am going into my second and final year of my scholarship now, so I will be waiting to see if I get a contract.”
And he said former Ipswich Town Premier League defender McGreal had some words of encouragement to send him into the off-season.
“It is a shame I didn’t come on with the way things were going in the game,” he said.
“When they scored he had to bring someone on and it was a bit of a shame it wasn’t me. But on another day it could have been. It was all a great experience for me though and the manager spoke to me after the game and basically apologised for not bringing me on.
“He said it was a good experience for me though and that they do think highly of me. He praised me for how well I have done this season and, hopefully, said I will be involved more next season.”
Sims was picked up by a Colchester scout while playing for Cornard Dynamos and has worked his way up from their under-12s squad to establishing himself in Kevin Horlock’s under-23s side towards the end of this campaign.
He revealed he had offers from the top two tiers this season, but the club exercised their right to turn them down.
And Sims said he would love to follow in the footsteps of his school’s most famous football alumni, former Colchester and
Arsenal player Perry Groves.