Midfielder David Stephens
won the Player of the Torunament award when Norwich City's Under-16
squad defeated Hungarian side Ferencevaros 1-0 to win the University
of Ulster Under-16 Umbro Foyle Cup at the end of July 2006. The
young Canaries had also played South East Soccer Academy from
Carlow, Glentoran, NECSL and Dundalk Schools
In the autumn of 2006, David embarked on a partnership between
the Canaries and the University of Hertfordshire. He leaves lessons
behind at Stanborough School in Welwyn one day a week to train
with the under-18s squad at Norwich City football club. The youngster
completes the rest of his weekly training programme two nights
a week with other youngsters at the football development centre
set up at the university in Hatfield two years ago to nurture
local footballers aged between eight and 14 who have the potential
to make it professionally.
Davids talent was spotted by the centres coach Laird
Budge and the head of sports development at the university Bryn
Clark, when the youngster came for a trial two years ago. Laird
said: "Davids development over the last two years has
been excellent. He has all the attributes to give himself an outstanding
chance of reaching his goals and making it as a full-time professional
As part of the partnership young players selected by Norwich
scouts can be invited to attend the university football development
centre while coaches at the development centre can recommend any
outstanding players to the Norfolk-based club. The arrangement
between the centre and the club means that David only has to travel
once a week the 120-mile round trip to Norwich for training, fulfilling
the rest of his training programme at the centre which is based
at Hertfordshire Sports Village on the universitys de Havilland
campus, Hatfield Business Park.
In September 2007, David was called up to the Wales Under-17
squad, making his debut in a 2-1 win over Belgium where he started
the game but was substituted due to a slight injury. The second
game against the Belgians saw David on the bench but he came on
after 60 minutes and scored the first goal of the game with a
volley from just inside the area - Wales went on to win 2-1.
David was awarded his first professional contract with Norwich
at the end of June 2009. He made his Norwich debut as a second
half substitute in the 1-0 Johnstone's Paints Trophy clash at
Gillingham on 6th October 2009
David was loaned to Chris Sutton's Lincoln
City on 19th March 2010 for the remainder of the 2009/10 season.
He made 3 appearances for Lincoln. On 21st May 2010, a number
of sources linked Stephens with a return to Sincil Bank with Chris
Sutton rumoured to be wanting to make the move permanent
On 5th July 2010. Stephens signed for Scottish side Hibs on a
three year deal for an undisclosed fee. he said "I'm still
learning my trade, but Hibernian has a track record of promoting
young players into the first team. I'm confident that when I do
get an opportunity I will seize my chance. I'm excited to be here
and especially so given that the opening Europa League match is
only a few weeks away. It is a big move for me and I've been really
impressed with the club and with Edinburgh. It seems like a great
place to live and I just want to achieve all my goals at Hibernian."
Easter Road manager John Hughes said: "David is a player
with tremendous potential. He already has a good physical presence
and appears much more mature than his age would suggest. I've
been impressed with what I've seen from him so far and I'm sure
he will have a part to play at first-team level over the course
of the season ahead."
He scored on his first start for Hibs, a 4-0 win over Dunfermline
in a pre-season friendly on 10th July 2010
Stephens won his first Welsh under-21 cap on 10th August 2010
in a 1-1 away to Malta.
Stephens returned to Hertfordshire and joined Barnet on 31st
August 2012 on a free transfer, making his debut the following
day against Rochdale. He had made 29 appearances for Hibs. Stephens
and Barnet were relegated to the Conference on 28th April 2013.
Barnet returned to the Football League on 25th April 2015 winning
the Conference title, with Stephens making 43 appearances that
season. Stephens left Barnet at the end of June 2015 after being
able to agree a new deal with the Bees.