West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of central defender Jack Lampe.
The 17-year-old has joined the Hammers on a one-year professional contract after impressing Academy Director Tony Carr during a trial.
The teenager becomes the sixth player to sign their first professional deal this summer, following Academy graduates Matt Fry, Tony Brookes, Oliver Lee, Daniel Kearns and Anthony Edgar.
Lampe has moved to the Boleyn Ground from Ryman League club Harlow Town, where he was a regular in the reserve and youth teams last season. He also made four first-team appearances in 2008/09 and was an unused substitute in the club's FA Cup first-round defeat by League Two outfit Macclesfield Town.
"Joining West Ham is massive for me," said Lampe, who admires former Hammers defender Rio Ferdinand and John Terry. "It's just a dream come true. I've always wanted to be in an Academy playing with good players and to a good standard.
Born and raised in Cheshunt, Lampe spent a short period on trial at Little Heath last season after being recommended to Carr by Harlow coach Colin Williams.
The teenager trained with the club's Under-18s and appeared in the 2-0 FA Premier Academy League victory over Fulham in April. After being introduced as a 56t- minute substitute, Lampe set up a goal for Cristian Montano before coming close to scoring himself with a fierce volley.
"I thought I did really well against Fulham," said Lampe. "I nearly scored with a volley and I got an assist when I set up Cristian, so I was pleased.
"Now, I hope to become a regular in the reserves this season and earn another contract. I can't wait to start working at West Ham now. The move has come about quite quickly and I can't wait to get going."
The 6'2 teenager is also hoping to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and fellow central defender Derek Lampe, an England youth international who played nearly 100 First Division matches for Fulham in the 1950s and 1960s.
"My granddad was a central defender just like me so I'd love to emulate him," said Lampe. "He came and watched me against in the trial game against Fulham and he said I did well. He would just like to see me do well and succeed.
"Having a grandfather who played at the highest level is definitely an inspiration to me and it has really spurred me on. I'd love to be able to achieve what he did."
Academy Director Carr said he had been excited by Lampe's composure and potential.
"Jack impressed during a trial period during the end of last season and we decided to offer him a contract," said Carr. "We hope to develop him further to see how far his talent could take him. He looked composed and as if he had played at that level before and we felt it was worth giving him a season to see what he can do."
Meanwhile, Carr confirmed that Hungarian forward Balint Bajner had returned to his club Liberty Oradea after a year in the Under-18 set-up. "Balint's loan period ended at the end of last season and we decided not to take that further," he said. "We wish him well in the future."