30 Apr 2002
An adventurous left-sided defender capable of playing across the back four, Sam Caiger began his scholarship at the Academy of Football in the summer of 2018.
The popular character joined the Hammers at eleven-years-old off the back of an impressive showing in a Premier League tournament.
Formerly a midfielder, but in his latter years at the Academy a full-back, Caiger had previously made his U18 Premier League debut in a 3-3 draw at Arsenal in May 2017.
Just weeks after representing England at Under-16s level and penning his scholarship deal, however, full-back Caiger suffered serious injury which would rule him out for the entirety of the 2018/19 season – a tough blow for any young athlete.
But Caiger refused to allow this to define him, and battled back to impress with both the Under-18s and Under-23s the following season, showcasing his talent through fine form.
Fully recovered, the teenager scored his maiden goal at Chelsea in August 2019 before subsequently making his debut for the U21s the following month, coming off the bench with his team 4-1 down in the Leasing.com Trophy against Newport County at half-time.
Caiger made an immediate impact that night, his forward charge winning the penalty which sparked a thrilling 5-4 comeback win, and he subsequently debuted for the U23s in a Premier League International Cup victory over Valencia the following week.
An excellent month for Caiger concluded with a spectacular curling strike in the 2-1 Premier League Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur U18s at Little Heath.
His form over the course of the curtailed 2019/20 season, both at left and right-back, yielded a first professional contract with West Ham in the summer of 2020.
*Stats are U23 Premier League 2 Division 1 matches only