The National League has been the starting place of many top-level footballers in the past. However, which youngsters have made their mark on the scoresheet at the earliest age?
Jay Burgess (16 years, 05 months and 19 days for Macclesfield Town against Newport County)
The forward became the youngest scorer in the history of the National League in April 2013, as he scored for Macclesfield in a 4-1 defeat at Newport County at the age of just 16 years, 05 months, and 19 days.
Burgess went on to have a short football career, with the goal coming in his only appearance for Macclesfield.
Idris Kanu (16 years, 11 months and 07 days for Aldershot Town against Lincoln City)
The London-born Sierra Leone international certainly made his mark as a youngster, as he was just 16 years, 11 months and 07 days old when he scored in Aldershot Town’s 3-3 draw against Lincoln City.
Kanu made 29 appearances for Town, scoring three goals in the National League. He moved to Peterborough United in 2017, where he played in League One and the Championship. The former West Ham youngster moved to Barnet in 2022.
Bradley Sach (16 years, 11 months and 28 days for Boreham Wood against Torquay United)
The centre-forward scored his goal in August 2017 for Boreham Wood against Torquay United in a 4-2 victory.
The effort came in Sach’s only National League game, as he went on to make just ten appearances for Boreham Wood in all competitions, including nine in the National League.
Serhat Tasdemir (17 years, 01 month and 19 days for AFC Fylde against Bromley)
The Azerbaijani under-21 international scored his first goal for Fylde in a 2-2 draw with Bromley in September 2017.
The winger went on to make a total of 53 National League appearances for Fylde before joining Peterborough in 2019, where he spent two seasons featured in League One before a series of loan moves and an eventual permanent move to the Turkish club Kocaelispor after a short spell with Buxton in the National League North.
Cain Noble (17 years, 02 months and 18 days for FC Chester against Maidstone United)
The central midfielder scored his maiden goal in the National League in Chester’s 3-1 home defeat against Maidstone United in April 3018.
The goal turned out to be Noble’s only goal in the National League in his only appearance at the fifth level of English football. He dropped down the leagues slightly, with Noble currently plying his trade with Quorn FC in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division.
Jarrod Bowen (17 years, 04 months and 01 days for Hereford United against Alfreton Town)
The West Ham winger is, without a doubt, the most high-profile name on our list.
Before he was tearing it up for the Hammers and appearing for England, Bowen started his football career at Hereford United. His first goal in the fifth tier came in a 3-2 home win over Alfreton Town in April 2014.
Bowen made just eight appearances for Hereford, scoring one goal before moving to Hull City and eventually West Ham in 2019, where he has thrived.
Alex Jakubiak (17 years, 06 months and 12 days for Braintree Town against Wrexham)
The former Watford youngster scored the only goal of an 11-game loan spell at Braintree Town in a 3-0 win over Wrexham in 2014.
The same season, Jakubiak made his only appearance for Watford, and his loan spell with Braintree Town was one of many during his time with the Hornets. He eventually moved permanently to Dundee in 2020 before moving on once again to Dunfermline in 2023.
Connor Simpson (17 years, 07 months and 09 days for Hartlepool United against Maidstone United)
Simpson scored his goal at the age of just 17 years, 07 months and 09 days for Hartlepool in a 3-1 home win over Maidstone United in September 2017. The goal was Simpson’s only in seven National League appearances.
Simpson moved to Preston North End in 2018 but made just one appearance for the north west outfit before moving on, having spells at the likes of Cork City and Connah’s Quay, among others, before moving back to England with Whitby in 2022.
Dammy Shitta (17 years, 07 months and 18 days for Ebbsfleet United against Kidderminster Harriers)
The defensive midfielder made just three appearances while on loan at Ebbsfleet United from Millwall. In one of those appearances, he scored in a 3-2 defeat at Kidderminster Harriers in March 2013.
Shitta moved to Sutton United in 2014, making just 14 appearances for the club before retiring in 2015.
Tyrique Hyde (17 years, 08 months and 09 days for Dagenham and Redbridge against Solihull Moors)
The midfielder found the back of the net aged 17 years, 08 months and 09 days for Dagenham and Redbridge in a 4-4 home draw with Solihull Moors.
Hyde made just six appearances in the National League, with his goal against Solihull Moors his only goal in the English game’s fifth tier. He dropped further down the football pyramid before being released by Lewes in the summer of 2023.
However, Hyde is arguably more well-known for his appearance on the reality TV show Love Island in 2023 than his exploits on a football pitch.