TNS Academy 2017/2018 Awards – U-14s, U-15s, U-16s

As we conclude our Academy season at The New Saints FC for 2017-2018, writes Jason Brindley, we look back at what has been an excellent year for all involved.

We recently held our annual Academy end-of-season celebration day at The Venue, the home of the JD Welsh Premier League champions. In similar fashion to our first team, all age groups had a sit down meal and were dressed for the occasion.

As we have done all season, we want to make all our players feel as special as they are. It was a great day. All players received a TNS medal for their hard work and commitment over the season. There are three individual awards also. Supporters’ player, players’ player and coaches’ player.




Supporters’ Player Of The Season –

This player has played a pivotal part in the team’s success this season. He is one of the most driven and hardworking players I have had the pleasure to coach. An ever-present in training (despite the considerable distance he has to travel), this player is always looking to improve and develop.

Much of the team’s success on the pitch this season has been down to this player’s goals, including a last kick of the match winner vs Rhyl in the Academy League which kick-started our run of 6 wins from 7 which lead us to reaching the National Academy Cup Semi-Final.

A clinical goal scorer who’s played a pivotal part in our season. Hopefully by now this player has worked out the winner is them so they can listen to next part. Next season this player will make the next step in their youth career, moving on to pastures new. I get a real kick out of seeing people do well in life and I wish this player every success as he continues to chase his dream. I could not be prouder of this player and more thankful for his efforts over the past season.

Alex Mather



Players’ Player Of The Season

For me personally, there’s no award I’d like to win more. To have the respect and appreciation of the changing room, your teammates, there can’t be many better feelings. This lad certainly does have the respect of our team too.

A born leader, an incredible talent and a young lad with huge potential. This player joined us in the summer and has improved the team massively. Never loses a tackle, unbeatable in the air and heart on their sleeve, you can’t ask much more off a defender.

Rarely have I seen one player make such an impact in a team, improving standards in training, energising the changing rooms and most importantly bringing a winning mentality to the team, a sheer desire to be better than everyone else. This player is also my right hand man, I often ask him for his thoughts on tactics, how we setup, how we can get the best of our team, there’s a great mutual respect between us.

Wade Donnelly



Coach’s Player Of The Season

I’m so tough on this individual at times. Constantly giving them feedback, constantly offering advice, and just sometimes… screaming at them for giving the ball away. We’ve also had our fair share of arguments too. However at the same time, I think the absolute world of this lad and I’m only tough on them because I see their potential.

This player’s an absolute grafter, wears his heart on his sleeve and Mr Versatile, he’s literally played in every outfield position this season. Earlier this season the winner suffered a nasty injury which did keep him out for 2 months. During that time they attended every training session to work in the gym and attended every fixture.

Sometimes life takes away the things we love to make us appreciate everything more and give us that extra bit of motivation. I think this lad struggled with getting his first proper injury but once they returned they’ve never looked back. I’d like to remind them that I think the world of them and I’m tough on you because I see your potential, you don’t quite realise how good you are. I could not think of a more worthy winner.

Eddie Lewington



Jason Brindley:

“Well done to our U-14s for a good season. In the past they have been punished from being a good footballing side full of technical players. Last season we would play out from the back, play through the thirds, get out-muscled to the ball and one long punt over the top the opposition would score because they had bigger players. We always stressed to the lads to keep doing what they are doing, keep playing football, because when you develop physically they won’t be able to do use that anymore but we will still be playing. That has been the case this season. Kieran and Simon have done a great job with these players and they are really exciting to watch.”






Supporters’ Player Of The Season

This young man has only been with us this season, but what a great season he has had. He settled in well right from his first trial game, the rest of the boys buzz off him.

He is a popular figure amongst the group and an important one too. Very polite and I suppose his banter is alright as well.

His commitment has been exceptional throughout the whole season and has worked hard towards developing his game and reaching his aim for the season, a scholarship next year!

His distribution out from the back is fantastic although some would argue it’s not as good as Rob’s from the dugouts!

Well done to the man between the sticks,

George Scott


Players’ Player Of The Season

Although I’m sure it’s nice to get approval from your own coach but to get awarded players’ player must mean you are well respected in the team, exceptionally talented, but also passionate towards the team, TNS and football in general and this boy ticks all of those!

He is one of the most committed, heart on the sleeve type of guys I’ve ever met.

He performs brilliantly on a consistent basis and has well and truly deserved this award.

Well done to the captain,

Regan Jones



Coach’s Player Of The Season

With what has been the most talented group of boys I’ve coached and competition so fierce for positions this season, trying to choose a winner out of 15 boys has been extremely difficult.

However, this boy shows outstanding commitment, a great attitude towards learning and developing. His understanding of the game amazes me and is so intelligent when it comes to playing and I often ask him to speak up in front of the boys at half time when discussing what we can do to improve ourselves.

Although he’s suffered an injury recently and missed our semi-final game yesterday (the day before the awards) which I know he was absolutely gutted about, I know he will come back fitter and stronger and I look forward to seeing him back in action!

Iwan Roberts

(awaiting image)



Jason Brindley:

“Credit to Rob for the great job he has done this season. They are a strong group with strong personalities. You know when the 15s are here as you can hear them from a mile off, they are a team full of mates which shows. Lots of energy amongst them.  They have had a good season, another group participating in the JPL. Their season isn’t over yet though, with their league play off this weekend (now played), we wish them all the best and look forward to watching them compete next season in the FAW Academy Cup.”







Supporters’ Player Of The Season

This player has made a tremendous impact on our oldest Academy age group. He is extremely versatile and play really well in a number of positions. He is strong on and off the ball. He is confident in 1v1s and is good with both feet.

This player also shows a fantastic commitment to our training programme, an ever-present with the age group. I feel he has a fantastic opportunity at the football club. He doesn’t realise how good he is or his potential, which is crazy in my opinion. I’m glad that it doesn’t go unnoticed from our parents. Hopefully this award will give him needed confidence as he is an important part of the group.

He was instrumental to the team’s success in the FAW Academy Futsal Championship, scoring a number of goals, moves starting from deep. He is very much respected in the group and I have seen a massive improvement this season. He is solid as anything and I am looking forward to continuing his development next season as a Scholarship player.

Aaron Lloyd



Players’ Player Of The Season

I like the players’ player of the year award. We do top 3 votes, it’s good to see who the players respect and think are our top players. Previous winner Aaron had a lot of votes, as did a few players, it shows the strength of the group that a number of players had a chance to receive this award.

I feel that the winner is a worthy one though and I am delighted for him. I had no idea when I started working with this group at the beginning of the season the level and potential of this player. He showed glimpses early on this season, a couple of standout performances in the 7-a–side tournament at Leicester City, one which we lost narrowly to West Brom in the Final. He is technically so good, wrapping one in the top corner against Leicester’s Thailand International team from 30 yards with ease.

Since then he has gone from strength to strength. Another player who was instrumental in our Futsal success, he completely dominated players and opposition couldn’t get around him. Once he had the ball, he wouldn’t lose it. Loves a skill, can dribble, tackle and head the ball. He is has an amazing potential and future ahead of him if he focuses on areas to develop that we have spoken about.

Louis Bradford



Coach’s Player Of The Season

A very difficult decision with Coach’s player. This was my first season with a new age group, since I started at The New Saints I had only ever coached one team as lead, last season’s U-16s who make up this seasons U-19s. It was a challenge I relished, building relationships with new players and getting to know them.

I feel that it’s the most important thing, have a strong relationship with you players, get to know them personally, be their coach, their mentor but most importantly their friend. Know and understand them. If you are committed to them they will be committed to you.

The Coach’s player of the season emphasises everything I am about as a coach and as a human being. He works so hard. You have to earn everything in life, through hard work and perseverance. This player is just like that. He can play in a number of positions but has so much energy.

He is new to the group but was a player of the past. When I found out I was taking this group this season the first thing I did was get him in, he’s a player that suits everything about TNS. He suffered a nasty injury earlier this season but has come back better than ever. He has recently added goals to his already overall round play.

Ryan McVeagh



Jason Brindley:

“Absolutely delighted with this group of players. I have seen them come on no end this season, in terms of playing style and personalities. There are a lot of new faces into the group and it took a while to get that social aspect out, the changing rooms were silent at times but they have really grown as a group as the season has gone on. I’d like to thank Cal for the hard work he has done prior to myself taking the group at the beginning of the season. Nath remained with me and has been great with the boys this season. Winning the FAW Futsal Finals and Boston Cup last week were 2 highlights, the Manchester Cup Youth Tournament the beginning of the season was great also. To miss the final of the Academy Cup by a point was disappointing but the real success is seeing the development of this group and I have high hopes for them to continue to develop going into our Scholarship programme.”



Jason Brindley

After the event, Jason commented on the season as a whole for The New Saints FC Academy:

“What a great end to a great season. Was brilliant to welcome all our players and their families for a day of celebration at Park Hall. A huge thanks to The Venue and all the staff for hosting a brilliant event, and making all the boys feel so special. To Brian for his time capturing the day, some excellent images. To Rev for hosting the whole day, and doing an excellent job. To all the coaches working tirelessly to continue the development of our young players. Thanks to all the players for buying into what we are about as a football club, believing our philosophy and being brave enough to put it into practice against top opposition, remaining true to our football principles. And finally a massive thank you to all our TNS Parents. Without your continued support of ferrying your son around the country and beyond none of this would be possible.”

Thanks, Rev


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Photos: Brian Jones.




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