A player coached by Reading legend Dave Kitson in his Academy has won a US soccer scholarship.

Josh Hardy, who was born in Basingstoke before emigrating to New Zealand from Reading in 2007 aged two, leaves for the USA on July 30 to begin a soccer scholarship with Conners State College in Oklahoma.

The 18-year-old winger took part in a series of coaching sessions with Kitson in December during a trip from his home in Christchurch, New Zealand to visit family near Newbury.

"Josh had a fantastic attitude," said Kitson. "You could see he was determined to learn and do well and I was impressed with how he took the coaching on board and applied it. I wish him well in his new venture in Oklahoma."

Conners State College, whose sports teams are nicknamed the Cowboys and Cowgirls, have a good track record of developing sports talent, with a number of graduates going on to play sport professionally.

They are best known for producing talented baseball players, with several Conners State graduates playing professionally in Major League Baseball for teams including Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros.

Conners State graduates include Julio Lugo, who won the World Series title with Boston Red Sox in 2007, and current Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jordan Romano