Report by Jason Brindley
It has been a busy half term for The New Saints FC, with some fantastic experiences and opportunities for our young Saints.
During the week we welcomed IFA to Park Hall Stadium, all the way from Devon, to face different Academy age groups. We have lots of different fixtures against teams travelling from around the UK to play, it’s great to have these relationships but also for our brand and awareness to continue to grow.
They faced our U8s, 9s, 13s and 15s. Our U8s are pictured showing that togetherness in a huddle pre-match, love that from one of our youngest age groups. They have so much energy.
On Wednesday our U10s began their Futsal League at Deeside, participating a year up in the U11 league. Our 10s are an exciting group, we feel that this will be a good challenge for them as they will come up against bigger players in tight areas. They will potentially have to adapt their game so it will help their development. Futsal is a good game, very quick and technical with weighted balls so an exciting challenge.
On Thursday our eldest Academy age group, the U16s, entered a 4 team round-robin run by Shrewsbury Town, played at Shrewsbury college. With a few new players playing for the Saints they soon gelled well and played some excellent football throughout the day. Thanks to Shrewsbury for the invite and organisation on the day.
On Friday afternoon we took four age groups to play English Premier League side Stoke City at their amazing training complex. Arriving just as their first team were departing, it was great for our young Saints to see the Stoke City first team players.
The players soon focused on the game at hand. It was a good challenge for our young Saints, playing the same age groups across the board but still remaining true to our football principles by playing out from the back and quick combinations through the thirds. It’s great to see that, no matter the opposition, we remain true to our DNA and style.
On Saturday we hosted an U10s football festival at Park Hall Stadium, which was run by Manchester United. It was a great day for all involved and you can read a separate report on that via our website.
Our U13s travelled to play Stourbridge.
To finish off a brilliant week for our Academy, most age groups were again in action on Sunday morning.
Our youngest group, the U7s, held a 4 team, 4-a-side round-robin at Park Hall Stadium. They are starting to really come together and have some brilliant little players who are really starting to develop their love of the game and basic understanding. They look wicked in their little TNS kits too.
Our U8s travelled to face Manchester United, at the Cliff Training Ground. Our 8s played lots of different mini-games against United and I know that they loved the experience. A huge thank you again to Manchester United and we look forward to taking more age groups up there again in the near future.
Our U9/11/13s travelled to face Tranmere Rovers at their new training complex. The games were evenly contested. Tranmere have always had a quality youth set-up as they are in a good catchment area. We thank them for the games and look forward to welcoming them to Park Hall next time around, with the missing age groups also due to play.
Our U12/14/16s started off their Super6 campaigns with a difficult first game away to Connah’s Quay Nomads. Thanks to Nomads for the fixtures and we wish them good luck for the remainder of their campaign.
The final game of the weekend saw our U15s welcome local side Cefn Druids to Park Hall Stadium. The game was close, with Druids defending well and causing our Saints a few problems, such as how to break down a strong deep defence. It was a good challenge though and we thank them for the fixture.
Jason Brindley commented personally on the week just gone:
“A really enjoyable half term for The New Saints Academy. We had a week off training over half term but we decided that we will continue to look to play fixtures.
Some of the games have been top draw. It was another great experience for our U8s to play Manchester United. We are only just about to enter the third month of our full programme but already the players have had so many top experiences and opportunities to express themselves.
It’s good to see that the players are constantly improving their understanding of the game too. A huge thank you to parents for taking time off work to help the players participate in the fixtures over this half term.”