Ollie Mulders signs his first professional contract watched by his proud parents
Young midfielder Olly Mulders is looking to eclipse his father’s footballing achievements and carve out a career in the professional game.
The 18-year-old put pen to paper on a one-year pro deal earlier this month, having joined the Club a decade ago and worked his way up through the youth ranks.
Mulders’ dad Jan is a former Kidderminster Harriers centre-half who played at the highest level of non-league football.
His son is now looking to go one better and make it in the Football League.
“I’ve always played to try and make my family proud, my dad especially,” says the Worcester-born teenager.
“He was on the brink of making it pro. He probably could and should have done so, but circumstances didn’t go for him.
“Hopefully it will make him proud if I can make it and get the step further that he couldn’t.”
Mulders adds: “This is a dream come true. I’ve been at the Club since I was eight years old and all the hard work has paid off. I just can’t wait to get started next season.
“It will give me the opportunity to push on and hopefully have a long career in the game, because that’s what I’ve been aiming to do my whole life.
“I’m a cautious person and I always think, what if? But in the back of my mind I’ve known that if I focused and worked hard then my talent would get me there. And it has.
“I’m grateful to the Club for giving me this opportunity.”
The former Bewdley High School pupil started last season captaining Blues’ Under-18s. He scored a memorable goal with a 30-yard strike in the FA Youth Cup win over Oldham in mid-December.
By that time he had already made his Under-23s bow. And not long after leading his Academy peers into action against Chelsea in the next round of the Youth Cup, he was promoted up to the Development Squad on a regular basis.
The midfield man finished the season with 17 appearances for Richard Beale’s charges.
“The step up to the Under-23s is probably the biggest one because you’re playing against first team players that are coming back from injury, or players that can be two, three, four years older than you,” says.
“But I feel like I’ve fitted in well. My height has helped me to be able to compete physically. It’s what I needed – if you play with better players then you’re going to improve yourself.”
Mulders was operating regularly in a defensive midfield position in Beale’s side as the Development Squad made a strong finish to the season.
It’s a role that he can see himself filling on a permanent basis, whilst he has the versatility to play in numerous other positions across the middle of the park – he even operated as an emergency left-back for the Under-23s last term.
“I’m a ball player, I like to get on the ball and dictate play. My passing is my key strength, to unlock defences, to switch the play, to control the tempo,” he says.
“I’ve been playing more of a holding midfield role recently, screening the back four and just getting on the ball.
“When I was younger I played in a more advanced position and scored quite a few goals. So I can see myself playing anywhere in midfield really.”
Mulders now has 12 months to prove that he has what it takes to make that final big transition into senior football – and he’s setting his sights high.
“My top target is to get in and around the First Team. I’m going to try and be involved in at least one game next season, or at least get on the bench,” he reveals.
“My lower aim is just to cement a regular place in the Under-23s team, playing week in and week out.
“But hopefully I can impress in pre-season and during the early part of the season and see where that takes me.”