Young Gulls striker Olaf Koszela has signed a professional contract with Torquay United.

A hugely prolific scorer for United’s Under-18 team this season, Koszela, 17, becomes the first product of the club’s relaunched youth system to turn professional.

Having trained with the first team since pre-season, Olaf’s first slice of senior action came during the 4-0 friendly win over Poole Town last July.

Following Gary Johnson’s appointment as manager in September, he has continued to go from strength-to-strength. After stepping up from the bench during the latter stages of our home FA Cup tie against Woking in November, Koszela made his first start in the FA Trophy defeat at Boreham Wood, before going on to make a further three appearances from the bench across the festive period.

Johnson spoke of his pleasure in welcoming Olaf into the professional ranks.

“I’m delighted that Olaf and his family have agreed a pro contract with us. Although he’s still very young, Olaf is showing the potential to be a very good player and earn a very good living out of the game. He’s been training with us for some time now and we are extremely happy with his development so far, knowing that in time there will be more to come.

“He’s already had great experience with us, being a substitute in many, many games with us in the quest to give him that experience of travelling, being in a squad that’s going well. He’s been very much a part of our work up until now.”

The player himself is excited to be fulfilling his ambition of becoming a professional footballer.

“I’m just happy to crack on and improve as much as I can over the summer and be back next season,” said Koszela. “It’s always been my goal. Anyone that’s played youth team football has that dream of being a professional footballer, and that was mine, especially at Torquay, because I’ve played there since I was young and I’ve dedicated most of my footballing life to Torquay. Now I’ve got it and I couldn’t be happier. I think things are going to change, but I’m just going to carry on working hard, train every day and improve every day to be the best I can be. The motivation will be to train harder and try and improve as much as I can.

“Obviously Gary [Johnson] is an amazing manager and he’s had an amazing history with other clubs. For me it’s an honour really to be playing under him. For him to be giving me a pro contract is something special, and I’m just really grateful and I’m looking forward to playing for Torquay under Gary Johnson.”

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