It’s been a busy few days for The New Saints FC Academy, with nearly all age groups entering the International Super Cup, writes Jason Brindley.
The tournament was a four day affair for age groups between U11 and U19. Our U8s-U10 took part in a 2 day tournament.
The Venue was Wythenshawe Sports Ground, Manchester, with multiple football pitches catering all age groups. Teams from all over the world enter this tournament and we were delighted to enter our Academy.
Players were exposed to different playing styles, football cultures and extreme weather conditions from all seasons over the duration of the tournament.
The games are split into group format to begin, then progress into knock out football.
With The New Saints FC Academy, we focus on individual and team development over a ‘win at all costs’ mentality.
It’s the education of our players which is more important, looking for long term development rather than short term gains. We try to expose our players to different environments to challenge them and this tournament definitely proved that.
Some teams were extremely physical, others direct. How do our players adapt to these different challenges? We don’t over emphasis on results.
Obviously our first team are successful and you need that winning mentality, in any walk of life.
Over the past few days there was more of a winning matters and losing eliminates us approach. How do the players react to the physiological demands of the game when they go a goal behind? Do they manage the game out when a goal ahead? It’s a good challenge for our players.
Having penalty shoot-outs and the demand mentally that they require. Celebrating together or picking each other up. It was really good to see, and for me, an opportunity to learn more about our players then sessions or development friendly games can show you. You see the character of the person, what his personality skills are, is he determined? Is he mentally strong? Does he have or require leadership qualities? Does he inspire and drive on players or point the finger?
These little points will help with their player profile. We can then look to develop/nurture these skills as part of their individual player development plan.
It was fantastic having nearly all age groups together over the course of the tournament.
Seeing them support each other, watching other age groups’ games was superb. We are one big club; togetherness is one of the biggest themes that I have seen.
It was ace seeing 4 different age groups playing head tennis, with our coaches and U8s on the same team against older age groups, all having fun together.
And they should, football is a beautiful game that brings out the best in people.
All our competing age groups were a credit to the football club and some age groups won their respective competition, deservedly so.
The best plaudit to receive though was from the opposing coaches and teams, praising the football played and passing game which makes up our TNS DNA.
A lot of teams were just interested in putting the ball behind your defence, kick and chase, almost like playground football.
Don’t get me wrong, some teams had success at this. However, we remained true throughout to our playing style and looked to play.
Despite the weather, and very hard pitches which were bobbly, the boys were brave to play out form the back against a high press. Yes boys make mistakes and it will hurt you if they do so when playing out and opening the pitch.
We will never tell off a player for making a mistake but applaud him for being brave and doing the right thing. Maybe the execution isn’t quite right but they will learn that it’s the idea and buying into what we want to do which is key.
As we conclude on what was for some a very long 4 days, I feel it was an extremely beneficial one, seeing the whole academy together as one. New players built relationships with each other, and that will hold them in good stead for the season ahead.
All age groups have been great to watch and I am delighted to have seen them all these past few days. The main theme again for me was the togetherness shown.
Congratulations to two of our Academy U14s players who represented North Wales in the 2018 Crymru Cup.
Adam Tunnadine and Dan Burnett were selected after impressing at Tier 2 trials. The event gives players from Welsh Academies the opportunity to play the Welsh Regional Squad, in front of scouts from all across the UK.
It is held at Dragon Park, home of the Football association of Wales and players are introduced to the ‘Welsh Way’ – the game model for development of football throughout Wales which goes from grass-roots all the way to the National first team, similar to what we have with our own TNS DNA.
We are extremely proud of both Adam and Dan.
Next weekend we look forward to welcoming both Stoke and Airbus UK Broughton to Park Hall Stadium to face all age groups.