Three of the UK's brightest unsigned football players took one step closer to reaching their dream of signing a professional contract as The Chance UK Final came to a close. For Jose Figura, Liam Baker and Ashleigh Artwell, a place in the global final at Barcelona awaits where they will test their skills against finalists from 55 other countries worldwide.
Jimmy Gilligan, Head Coach of the Nike Academy said; "They have stood out all week and started to catch the eye from the very first minute they arrived. Not only in terms of their attitude but the way they conducted themselves. They affected things in the games and in the technical drills and caught the eyes of the coaching panel."
"Jose is a holding midfield player who's excellent on the ball. He sees a pass but he got the energy and the enthusiasm to shut the opposition down. Jose is one of those players who can dictate play. He can slow the game down and he can quicken the game up."
"Ashley is another midfield player with lots of energy and works people very well. He's very much a team player as I see it and had a hard job today and worked very hard to help his team shut the opposition down. Ashley has got craft and skill but he's also got a doggedness to his play."
"Liam is a striker or a no.10 - I see him as a player who plays up top and plays off people. He's got good movement, goes across the line and works people in behind. He's not a player who just wants to come to feet all the time. He will ask questions over the top."
"They all fit that category of having good technical ability, intelligence, game understanding and athleticism. For me they were three outstanding candidates and three that we were unanimous in picking and three that we hope will go to Barcelona and represent the United Kingdom very well."
Before Barcelona Jose, Liam and Ashleigh will have a week at Rio's Bootcamp, where they will train alongside the Manchester United first team and be given a taste of life as a professional footballer. Following that, the three hopefuls will jet of to Barcelona where the tough competition really begins.
"They're going up against 55 other countries and they are going to come across some exceptional talents. They have got to perform at the very top of their game. There can't be an off day for them in Barcelona. If there's an off day for them, they'll be going home on the cut. But if they show the level that we've seen so far then they'll do very well."
Stay tuned to SoccerBible as we'll be following each of the finalists to Rio's Bootcamp and all the way through to Barcelona. Share your thoughts and join the conversation online, on Twitter and on Facebook.