The exciting opportunities available to our Academy youngsters continues, as our U13s have just returned from the International Bourbourg Tournament in France. Competing against opposition that included French and English top flight teams – as well as several from the English Football League – it highlights the level that our Academy is at.
Although the standard of the opposition was high, our youngsters were able to achieve an impressive 15th place out of 40 teams that were competing in the competition.
Adapting to the 8-a-side format, the TNS U13s stuck to the club’s playing philosophy and achieved three draws and one win in their opening games. This was enough to achieve 2nd place in the group stage. Although there was frustration at the other end of the pitch, as far as the defence was concerned no goals were conceded during the opening phase, as all draws were 0-0.
The fourth game saw the floodgates open as goals from Eric Durnell and Mikey Robinson and a brace from Harry McVeigh ensured an emphatic 4-0 victory to round off the group stage in style.
Saturday’s results saw the boys proceed to the Champions Cup, where FC Charates were the opponents. An impressive outfit, the TNS youngsters conceded two goals as they suffered their first defeat of the tournament.
Although the impressive performances continued, the results didn’t, as the next game saw the youngsters taste a penalty shoot-out disappointment at the hands of Troyes, following a 1-1 draw after normal play. This was followed by a narrow 1-0 defeat.
The weekend ended on a high though, as a Mikey Robinson deflected shot saw the final game end 1-0 to The New Saints.
U13s coach, Nick Schleising, was glowing as he commented on the tournament, “On and off the pitch the boys have been incredible. This weekend has been up there with my proudest in football. The weekend provided the opportunity for the boys to develop other skills outside of football, including leadership and teamwork.”
“The boys took on responsibility for their own passports, fixture lists and playing formations. I was really proud of how they looked after each other and themselves.”
Extending his thanks to his fellow coaches, he continued: “I would also like to show huge appreciation to the supporting staff, Kieran Lee-Birch and Rob Hughes, who were brilliant. The display from staff and players emphasised why I am so proud to be a part of the TNS family.”
“On a final note, I would like to say a huge thanks to the players’ parents who supported the trip and cooperated with the club to provide players with a once in a lifetime experience.”