Over the weekend, The New Saints FC Academy participated in the Manchester International Super Cup.
The tournament, which ran from Thursday to Sunday, was held at Wythenshawe Sports Ground at Manchester University.
With teams from Algeria, Nigeria, Portugal and the USA, as well as Academies and Development centres from around the UK, it was a testing environment for the TNS youngsters.
Our Academy entered age groups from U8 through to U16. This year, however, every team entered the age bracket above. It was obviously going to be a challenge but everyone responded magnificently.
Several teams reached their respective finals, playing well against bigger and more developed players.
We caught up with Jason Brindley after the tournament to get his thoughts. “I’m really delighted with the way our players have responded over the four days” he enthused.
“The difference in the size of the players at times was staggering, so our challenge was, how do we adapt? Maybe we can’t beat the opponent one-v-one, so can we combine?”
“Can we keep the ball moving and shift it more quickly? Can we still remain true to our principles of play?” He continued, as he gave us insight into the values of the Academy set-up here at Park Hall.
“To see our players in all age groups face these challenges was brilliant. They struggled at times, and it was very difficult for them, but I feel that the learning process was more evident than ever.”
“We entered this tournament not necessarily to win it – although obviously we always aim to win – but to get challenged both physically and mentally.”
Continuing with his assesment of the four days, he concluded, “Our players kept trying to do the right thing and play the right way. They never gave up and they showed a lot of togetherness. You learn a lot about your players when they are in the deep end and I am very proud of them all.”
To find out more about the TNS Academy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org