Midfielder Elicha Ahui has signed his first professional contract with the Imps after coming through the club’s Shadow Scholar programme.
City’s Shadow Scholars scheme is an opportunity for people not offered a full youth scholarship at 16 which combines further education with an opportunity to train and play football to a high standard.
Elicha was on the books of Nottingham Forest as a youngster, before joining the Imps’ innovative scheme.
The 18-year-old said: “The course is a programme of college and sport so you get a good education alongside the sport, it has been great for me.
“By doing well on the football side it opened up opportunities to train and play with the scholars, and luckily I have been able to train with the first-team, play in the Central League Cup and go on loan to Gainsborough Trinity.
“It was a very different type of football, I had to get used to the physicality and pace of the game. It’s an amazing moment to have signed and I’m now ready to put in the hard work for the next step.
City’s director of football Jez George added: “This is an amazing story and shows what can be achieved with a top mentality. Elicha is an example to all players that if you strive to be the best you can every day in training, you can be the author of your own story rather than having that defined by someone else.
"Elicha was released by Nottingham Forest at 16 years old, wasn’t offered a scholarship by any professional club but less than two years after joining our shadow scholar programme, is training with our first team and signing a professional contract.
“Great credit to Richard Belcher (Shadow Scholar head coach) and all our academy staff, but mostly to Elicha himself. He is a player with great potential and shows the value of the Shadow Scholar programme in providing boys with more time to develop while still under the umbrella of Lincoln City. Elicha is a late physical developer, who is a long-term project, has the attributes to play in a multitude of positions and fully deserves this opportunity.”