Ghana's Yiadom shares story of rise from non-league football to the Championship

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The defender looks back on the take-off of his pro-career

Reading full-back Andy Yiadom has taken a retrospection into the early days of his professional football career, detailing how it all began. 

Now a full-blown Ghana international, the 26-year-old's rise is simply remarkable, considering he once found himself playing in the deepest ranks of English football, specifically the non-league division.

Interestingly, his professional journey began just after being released by league side Watford as a youth player.

“Funnily enough, I was on a night out and I heard a guy whom I knew was going on an open trial at [non-league side] Hayes & Yeading," Yiadom recounted in an interview with The Royal.

“So, I went along to the trial - obviously it was very gruelling. 

"You’ve come from Watford with a nice training ground and, no disrespect to Hayes & Yeading, but going to the training ground which had a cabin for a changing room and loads of people there, you’re wondering what’s going on.”

The English non-league system consists of clubs outside the four professional football divisions (the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two). 

Clubs in the non-league division are noted for their playing bodies of mainly semi-professionals and amateurs. 

“I was there and going every day, getting through after it was getting cut down after every week or so, and I was still there," Yiadom continued.

"The manager, Garry Haylock called me into his room and said he wanted to offer me a deal. 

"I wasn’t over the moon, but I knew it was a start.

“It was full-time because they were in the Conference Premier at that point, but they basically offered me travel expenses – which was around £50 per week."

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From Hayes & Yeading, Yiadom moved to fellow non-league side Braintree Town in 2011 before joining League Two club Barnet in 2012.

Last season, he was on the books of Championship outfit Barnsley, from where he transferred to Reading in the summer. 

The London-born, who played for Ghana at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, came close to sealing a move to Premier League side Huddersfield Town last year but the transfer fell through due to a reported failed medical. 

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