England-born rising star Sean Tarima has signed his first professional deal with English Premier League side West Ham United, becoming the latest in the growing list of Zimbabwean players in the diaspora making big strides in their careers.
The 18-year-old defender was a regular in West Ham’s Under-18s side during the just ended season.
Tarima is not new to West Ham having been part of the academy setup at London-based side since the age of 10 years.
West Ham announced that Tarima has signed his first professional contract with the club in a statement on their official website on Monday.
“West Ham United is pleased to announce that Sean Tarima has penned professional terms with the Club.
“The centre-back signed his first professional contract at the Club’s iconic Chadwell Heath training facility, the home of the Academy of Football,” said the club on its official website.
Tarima has made 22 appearances in all competitions this campaign for the Under-18s, helping Kevin Keen’s side to claim the Under-18 Premier League South division trophy and the FA Youth Cup.
Tarima was born in the United Kingdom to Zimbabwean parents, which makes him eligible to play for the country’s national teams in the future.
He is traditionally an athletic centre-back, but is also comfortable playing further up the pitch in midfield.
“I’m really pleased and excited to sign my first professional contract,” Tarima told the West Ham website.
“I have been here since the age of 10 and I have worked really hard for this moment.
“It is a great achievement for myself and for my family. I couldn’t have done it without all the coaches who have helped me along my journey.
“It has been a crazy season. I remember seeing videos of some of the Premier League’s top players winning and playing in the FA Youth Cup, so to play in it myself and to win it is crazy. It was a great way to sign off with the U18s and now I’m ready for next season with the Under-21s.
“Hopefully I can carry this success on into next season.”
Born in Newham, Tarima grew up around Romford and joined the Hammers at ten-years-old after a spell with Sunday team Euro Dagenham.
Having developed through the ranks in the Academy of Football at West Ham, Tarima would make 17 appearances for the U18s in the 2021/22 campaign.
A long-term injury however hampered his start to the 2022/23 season.
Despite the set-back, the versatile defender would recover to become an integral part of the young Hammers.
During the just ended season he made 15 outings in U18s Premier League South while playing a role in every round of the FA Youth Cup.
Tarima would start both the Youth Cup semi-final at London Stadium and the final at the Emirates Stadium, helping the Irons to a 5-1 win over Arsenal to lift a fourth trophy in the Club’s history.
The Zimbabwwan lad would also make his U21s debut, earning his introduction to the development team as a substitute in the Premier League International Cup win over Feyenoord in November.
West Ham Academy manager Kenny Brown said: “We are delighted to agree professional terms with Sean.
“Sean is a local lad who epitomises the tradition of the Academy of Football in nurturing and developing players from our area, and it has been a joy to watch him progress through our age groups.
“After a significant spell out injured, Sean has shown immense character and determination to not only recover but return and become even better. He has shown his talent in the second half of the season with our U18s and has played a key role in their success.”