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Vinnie Steels - A Rising Star from MGFA to the Premier League



In the world of football, success stories often unfold on the pitch, capturing the hearts of fans and inspiring players. One such story is that of Vinnie Steels, a talented winger who began his football journey with the Martin Gray Football Academy (MGFA) and reached the pinnacle by signing with Burnley in the Premier League in 2018.

The Early Days at MGFA

Vinnie's journey began at the Martin Gray Football Academy, where his flair for the game set him apart even at a young age. His left-footed prowess and distinctive style caught the attention of the academy's founder, Martin Gray, who saw in Vinnie not just a skilled player, but a dedicated and committed individual with a hunger to develop.

Reflecting on Vinnie's early days, Martin Gray recalls, "I have always seen something special in Vinnie Steels which is often missing in today’s players.


His style and flair were there from a young age; however, his attitude towards the sport and dedication is outstanding. He shows commitment and is so keen to develop.


I will always support him and be interested to see how far he goes—all the way, I’m sure!"

The BTEC Journey

Vinnie's commitment to football was complemented by his dedication to education. He joined Darlington College to pursue the Martin Gray BTEC qualification in Sport, a decision that would later prove instrumental in shaping his future.


The academy's emphasis on holistic development, both on and off the field, laid the foundation for Vinnie's promising career.

Completing the BTEC qualification not only enhanced Vinnie's understanding of the sport but also equipped him with valuable skills and knowledge.


The course, designed in collaboration with Darlington College, aims to provide a comprehensive education in sports, blending theoretical concepts with practical applications. This approach ensures that young athletes like Vinnie not only excel in their sport but also thrive in different areas of life.

Premier League Bound

The momentous announcement of Vinnie Steels signing with Burnley in the Premier League sent waves of pride and excitement through the MGFA community. It was a testament to Vinnie's hard work, talent, and the nurturing environment provided by the academy.

Martin Gray and the entire MGFA family expressed their happiness at Vinnie's achievement, extending their best wishes for his career and promising future.


Vinnie's success serves as an inspiration for young football enthusiasts, illustrating that with dedication, perseverance, and the right guidance, dreams can become reality.

Beyond the Premier League

While Vinnie Steels' journey took him to the stage of the Premier League, his football story continued to unfold with chapters in various clubs.


From York City to Burnley, Sunderland to Shildon, and now representing Morpeth, Vinnie's career trajectory showcases his versatility on the pitch.

Coaching Success Stories

The success stories from MGFA don't end with Vinnie Steels' remarkable journey. Three current coaches—Callum Watkinson, Kieran Gillham, and George Briggs—stand as living testaments to the opportunities provided by the academy.


Having earned apprenticeships after completing the course, these coaches exemplify how the MGFA experience can serve as a springboard for young talents to jumpstart their careers in coaching.

Looking Ahead

As Vinnie Steels continues to make waves in the football world the Martin Gray Football Academy stands proud. The academy's commitment to fostering not just skilled players but also well-rounded individuals who carry the spirit of the game forward remains.


The journey from MGFA to the Premier League exemplifies the transformative impact that a comprehensive sports education, coupled with dedicated mentorship, can have on aspiring athletes. Vinnie Steels' success serves as inspiration for the next generation of football enthusiasts, reminding them that with the right blend of passion, education, and perseverance, the sky is the limit.

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