Jed Ward | In My Own Words


Hello everyone,

I’m really happy to sign my new contract with Bristol Rovers. It’s great to get it sorted out and get it done. The past few weeks playing in the first team have been unbelievable and I’m really happy to now keep it going.

Coming back and signing my new deal comes at the end of a mental week for me. I went away with the England Elite League squad, which formerly was the U20s. We went to Poland and the Czech Republic, and played two games out there against them.

It was a great experience with a brilliant group of lad. There are some great players in that set-up. The other goalkeepers were great to learn from as well. I really enjoyed my time with them.

Getting the call up was incredible. I was at the training ground when I received a call from the England goalkeeping coach to let me know I was getting the nod, and then the manager Ben Futcher called me that evening to confirm that I would be in the squad.

It marks another big step on this journey that I’ve been on so far. It’s not even close to being done but it’s really nice to be rewarded for my hard work with these things.

I can still remember joining Bristol Rovers as a kid. I remember playing in a tournament over in Deerswood, and I can remember my Dad talking to me after the game and saying that Bristol Rovers wanted to take me on trial, and would I like to play in goal or outfield. I made the decision to go in goal. I suppose it was the cliche of liking the feeling of diving around in the mud and making saves.




From there, I went on trial and I signed on with the U9s, and went through the Academy from there. We trained a bit here, there and everywhere. We trained two nights a week; once a week with the goalkeeping coach and then once a week with the entire team. It was all about enjoying football and finding that love for it, which I was doing at that age. I wouldn’t say I grew up a massive football fan but, playing a couple of times a week, I really found that love for it.

As I got older, I signed my first professional deal and then, not long after, I made my first team debut away to Blackpool at the end of the 2020/21 season. It was a weird time for me. I trained with the first time a lot last season and then I remember finding out on the way to Blackpool that I would be playing.

At that time, I had almost forgotten about everything else going on, with the relegation, because I just wanted to focus on my game and give the best account of myself that I could. I felt like I did and then, after the match, I had the highs of making my debut, but at the same time we were dealing with the feeling of relegation. It gave me something different though; a new motivation for the new season. We all wanted to push for promotion immediately, which the team managed to do.

After that I went out on loan. I found the experience really good. I went to Swindon Supermarine on my first loan and played three games there. It was a real eye-opener, playing men’s football. I hadn’t played men’s football before that - to be honest, I hadn’t really even played U23s football before that - but I was really pleased to get a few games under my belt and have that experience.




Then I went to Prescot Cables, up in Liverpool, and that was a completely different experience. It took me away from where I live and I went up there to play with them. The two loans were different but they were both good experiences that I really enjoyed. It gave me a taste of what competitive football was like.

I then went to Hungerford the next season and played 24 games with them, and I really felt I developed a lot during that time. It was tough - we were in a relegation battle for a lot of my spell - but it was about learning different skills and growing as a goalkeeper.

I had to definitely develop quickly. A lot of lads in those leagues are technically very good, but a lot of them are there for their desire, workrate, strength and competitiveness. A lot of games, the strikers were big lads who just wanted to smash into you. It was hard at times, to be honest, but I felt like it taught me some valuable lessons.

Earlier this season, I was on loan again, but a mad 48 hours saw me come back to Rovers and play in the EFL Cup. On the Sunday, I received a call from the Club saying they wanted to bring me back and play against Newport County. I felt my loan with Wealdstone was going really well and I was benefitting a lot from it. But football happens, and has its moments that you just need to deal with.




I came back and I wanted to give the best account of myself I could in that game, and trained hard every single day to make sure that, should the opportunity arise, I was in the right place to take it.

Getting the nod to play against Oxford United in January was a big moment for me. I felt like I had trained well up until that point and I just wanted to make sure that, whatever happened, I enjoyed it and did it with a smile. I thought I deserved the chance to play, but also not take it for granted.

I’ve had a few chats with the manager since and he’s relayed what he wants for me, what he wants his goalkeeper to do in the team, and I’m finding that really good. I like taking on that information.

Since then, I’ve just tried to take it game by game. The lads here have welcomed me into the team and everyone has played at a good level since I’ve been in the side over the last eleven games.




I am absolutely loving the challenge of playing in League One. I just want to keep challenging myself as much as I can, progress each and every day, and playing against top strikers in the league is only going to better my performances.

Things like the England call-up show me I’m on the right path and make the hard work worthwhile. I want to push on now. I need to set goals for the next couple of years around where I want to be and how I’m going to get to those goals. They might be little goals, or some overarching bigger goals. Even though this is a long-term deal, I still have to come in and work hard every single day to keep my place in the team.

We have eight massive games to go this season now and we have the motivation to go and do the very best we can. Everyone is going to work as hard as they can to get as many points as we can.

Thank you for your support, and Up The Gas!


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