TNS Academy 2017/2018 Awards – U-7s, U-8s, U-9s, U-10s

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. Here is a report on the winners:



Supporters’ Player Of The Season

This player has a fantastic commitment and attendance to training. He is a bubbly character, very cheeky. This player is obsessed with football and is often here at Park Hall Stadium supporting our first team. He has improved his technical ability no end this season, accurately passing over a range of distances. Also loves a megs, although often on the receiving end by Jase in training.

He is a clinical in front of goal and works really hard for his team. Well done to Under-7s supporters’ player…..

Harry Dillon



Players’ Player Of The Season

Players’ player is always a great trophy to receive, seeing who is held in high regard by fellow players, even at this young age. Our Under-7s are a great group with many exciting young players, bundles of energy and enthusiasm which is infectious. All coaches at the football club think highly of this group, with a number of coaches helping their development this season. The players’ player again shows a great understanding of the club philosophy, well done to….

Harry Dillon



Coach’s Player Of The Season

This player has been fantastic this season. He is extremely intelligent in football terms, always answering questions linked to the topic to assist the learning process. What I like about this player is his provisional vision, at such a young age he can spot a pitch splitting pass. His decision making is very good. This player already shows a strong understanding of our core principles that make up the TNS DNA. Well done to….

Cobi Brand



Jason Brindley commented:

“Well done to our youngest Academy age group, our U-7s. I have been fortunate to work with these numerous times this season. Their energy is infectious, they are such a lively group, so many young personalities developing, as well as their talent and love for the game. Huge thanks to Ian who started the great work at the beginning of the season and to Simon and Dan for continuing it. They are a great group and look forward to watching them continue to develop next season.” Lead photograph: U-7s.





Supporters’ Player Of The Season

When in full flow this player is a joy to watch, very skilful and glides past players with his speed. He is difficult to get off the ball due to his close ball control and low centre of gravity. He has contributed with assists and some lovely goals during the season.

 Marcel Opilka



Players’ Player Of the Season

Voted for by his fellow players shows how important he is to the team. He is a driving force for the team and becoming a leader setting the standards whether it is the first minute or the last, contributing at both ends of the pitch, has a bright future. Very much deserved.

Harry Nunnerley



Coach’s Player Of The Season

This player has always had the potential and tools to be an influential player in this team. After sitting down with him and his dad for the first TTMP meeting of the season he has took on board what was talked about and now is looking like the player I could see powerful, athletic and a skilful player with an eye for goal and in my opinion and the whole TNS coaching team has a very bright future. Scored a screamer of a goal away at Leicester. Well done and well deserved.

Jenson McArdle



Jason commented:

“Congratulations to our Under-8s. They have had a great season, with some fantastic experiences along the way. They have faced all the top teams from around the UK, a highlight being Manchester United away, playing small sided games which was really good. They have developed really well and Andy has done a great job.”





Supporters’ Player Of The Year

This player always attends training and has 100% attendance for matches. He’s keen to impress and is such a nice, respectful and polite boy. He’s taken on constructive feedback maturely when been given coaching points about his positioning.

He is a clinical in front of goal and works really hard for his team.

Theo Woodman



Players’ Player Of The Season

Technically he is exceptional. His first touch is class, his control of the ball is amazing, it looks like the ball is stuck to his foot. He’s confident in 1v1 situations and often runs down the channels past 2 or 3 players. He strikes long range efforts with power, pace and accuracy … Usually the ball ends up in the net. From close range he either scores or assists a team mate for a tap in. He has the technique to do split passes & switch balls.

Gruff Hamer



Coach’s Player Of The Season

This player is technically great on the ball, good first touch/control, makes accurate short & long passes, good technique with long shots, fantastic body positioning when defending and times his interceptions/sliding tackles brilliantly.

Tactically he has great positional awareness and understands the requirements of different formations. When we faced tough opponents and had to cope with a lot of overloads, he positioned himself correctly in order to manipulate the opponents’ decision making.

He is always the first to arrive and last to leave, he shakes every coach’s hand and helps to set up sessions.

Leighton Selley


Jason Brindley:

“Our U-9s have had an excellent season. Credit to coaches Danny and Adam for the way in which the team play football. They are one of our best footballing sides within the Academy, they seem to really understand the TNS DNA in terms of team playing style and are really good to watch. Another team who have had great experiences this season, we look forward to pushing them further next season.”

The U-9s at the table




Supporters’ Player Of The Season

This cheeky young man has been Mr. Versatile this year, enjoying performances all over the pitch and remaining unphased when asked to play somewhere as he is helping his team. Another player who is so polite and helpful, he always arrives early, helping me set up goals and pitches, or to just get constantly nut-megged by myself.

He always goes out of his way to shake my hand, and constantly has a smile on his face. I feel this winner is very mature even now, he comes over to speak football after sessions, giving opinions and statistics about other players and shows his knowledge during Q&As in sessions.

On the pitch, this player works and presses tirelessly wherever he is, tackling, passing and shooting. He has become very well rounded over the course of the season.

A real grafter out of possession, and a tricky and skilful player in, he has caused a lot of trouble to opponents this year.

Ronnie Lee



Players’ Player Of The Season

This year’s players’ player is a very polite, brave and helpful young man, who has gone from strength to strength throughout the season. He shows so much passion during games, striving for success in everything he does.

I feel that all the boys (and myself) have seen him as a driving force this year, building from the back to allow the team success further forward.

Even though he’s not usually a goal scorer, this player has made unbelievable goal-saving tackles to change games, and he is always one of the last players on the pitch after training and games, picking up equipment and helping anyone he can when needed.

I know especially that this young man will run through brick walls for this team, as he plays with his heart as well as his head, and this award is well deserved for a great season.

Louie Irving



Coach’s Player Of The Season

This trophy was hard for me to award as the squad has many players who deserve it. My decision with this trophy comes down to a few things: how the player has improved over the year, how the player takes in information and puts it in to practice, but also how the player behaves in and out of sessions, as well as the ability to make both myself and the squad laugh their heads off as soon as he arrives, dropping his new catchphrase.

This player has been a pleasure to coach, even though he sometimes gets a little over excited, his energy has lit up the whole changing room within seconds of him walking in. This player has improved in many areas this year, especially in playing out from the back, as he makes brilliant angles to receive, now playing with fantastic quality under intense pressure.

His distribution has also been fantastic whether it be a 5-yard or a 25-yard pass, he is so good with his feet as well as his hands and this has shown him to be one of the best around. Mr Reliable in tough games, the team can count on this player to make unbelievable saves and get the whole squad going with his contagious personality.

Sam Davies


Jason Brindley:

“Our U-10s are one of the most lively groups we have in our Academy. So many strong characters, for such a young age it’s good to see. They have so much hunger to develop and have a real drive amongst them. Our thanks first goes to Nick who began the season before Ash took over, they have come on really well this season. Good to see two of the players progress on to other Academies too, showing our programme is developing players to play at higher levels.”

The U-10s


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Photos: Brian Jones


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