A HALESOWEN BOY who had never played for a football team has been signed by West Bromwich Albion at the age of eight after being spotted in the playground by a scout.

Matthew Hemming, who attends Newfield Park Primary, has signed as a goalkeeper for the the club's under 9s team.

The achievement is remarkable because Matthew had never played for a football team when he was asked to go for a trial by a scout who had seen him at school.

The super-sporty year three pupil, who is very tall for his age, plays rugby for Old Halesonians, cricket, hockey, swims for Warley Wasps and competes in triathlons and aquathlons, which are like triathlons but without a cycling leg..

He signed a contract to join West Brom last week.

Matthew's whole family, of Golden Orchard, is sporty - his dad Simeon Hemming represented Great Britain in World Championships at swimming, his mum Alison plays hockey for Bournville Hockey Club as well as ladies cricket and his older brother Jacob, aged nine, is a member of Albion's Talent I.D section.

They are also all Villa fans!

Simeon, aged 47, said: "Matthew has never played football for a team, he's played in the back garden with his brother Jacob.

"When he was spotted by the scout he was playing an after school football session with his brother.

"He's mixed race and had his Jamaica football kit on so he stood out! The scout approached him and gave him and his brother his card and said 'get your dad to call me.'

"When we asked why he would want two boys who didn't play football to go for a trial he said he could see natural athletes and could teach them to play football."

Matthew, who was spotted around a year ago, played for the Talent I.D section for around three months as an outfield player before asking if he could have a go at goalkeeping.

He is one of two goalkeepers who were picked from around 40 players (six of whom were goalkeepers) to sign for the club's under 9s team.

Simeon, said: "Within two weeks of that night, he had been invited to play with the u8's pre-academy and the rest is history.

"So far, he has played against Arsenal, Spurs, Cardiff and Blackpool, so he will always be able to say he played against those teams."

The boys also have a younger sibling Daniel, aged four.