Report by Jason Brindley.
Christmas has indeed come early this month for The New Saints FC Academy.
On Saturday morning earlier in December, 40 of our Foundation Phase Academy players and coaches represented our club on The New Saints FC Community Foundation Christmas Float. It is the third year that we have entered into the Christmas parade and each year it has got bigger and better.
This year the theme was the 101 Dalmatians, following our club mascot ‘Spot the dog’ who is a Dalmatian himself. Our Academy youngsters got face painted and also had green and white TNS Christmas hats. It was great to see them all having such a good time and representing the club and Oswestry Town in a fantastic event once again, ran by the rotary club.
Following that, we welcomed Queensland from Australia to Park Hall Stadium, where they faced our U15s and U16s. Due to the quality of our facilities and football age groups we continuously face teams from overseas, it’s a great challenge and experience for our players to face players with different football cultures. We thank Queensland for the fixtures and hope they enjoyed their experience in the UK.
Then on the Saturday our Community Foundation U13s and U15s were away to Rochdale and Doncaster Rovers. Both teams were competing in JPL Action and have been in some good form of late. Our U15s particularly have done fantastic this season and are going very strong in the JPL league and National Competition.
On the Sunday we welcomed Pro Football Academy from Manchester to Park Hall Stadium to face our U7-U11 age groups.
First up was our 7s, 8s and 9s. Our 7s are a newer group and played 2 x 4v4 games. They are already looking like a proper little team and have some brilliant little players. Our 8s also were extremely impressive. I was fortunate to take them myself Sunday morning, they have so much energy and some cracking personalities already. Brilliant group of players.
Our 9s , 10s and 11s games were all extremely competitive with some unbelievable goals. Leighton from the 9s scored a ‘Wayne Rooney-esque’ goal from his own half. Brilliant courage and confidence to try something so audacious.
To complete the weekend our U12/14/16s were in FAW Academy Futsal Action at Deeside. Every December/January they compete against all the Academies from North Wales in a league style format. In the finals week the top 4 compete for North Wales Champions.
Both them and the runners up will then travel to Cardiff to represent the North and compete in the National Finals. Futsal is a fast and very technical game and all our age groups have started well this year, hoping to emulate last season’s U14s that were crowned National Champions.