It’s been a busy week for The New Saints FC Academy, writes Jason Brindley.
On Tuesday, we welcomed local junior side Brickfield Rangers to Park Hall Stadium to face our under 8s and under 9s. Brickfield are a well-run local side and always have good, little players.
It was just before our first team fixture against Aberystwyth, so it was good to see our first team players watching some of the games. We have a real family feel at TNS and that’s one of our major strengths. We want that bond and link between the first team and the youth system to be strong.
It helps that we have first team players like Connor Roberts and Chris Seargeant working with our players. It’s great to see and great for our players too. There’s no one better to seek advice and tips than the players they hope to emulate one day.
On Thursday our U16s welcomed Wrexham to Park Hall Stadium. Wrexham’s youth system has struggled in the past few seasons, losing Colliers Park and funding for being out of the football League.
They still however, have strong age groups and attract good players. They are always good games and this was no different, with both teams playing superb football throughout and a couple of standout goals from both sides.
On Saturday morning we held a three team mini festival at U9s level, with ourselves, AFC Telford United and North Football Academy. It was good for all the players play against two different teams with different playing styles. It was also good to see so many players enjoying our facilities and playing some good football.
Following our 9s, our U8s faced AFC Telford while our U10s welcomed Vauxhall Motors. It’s great that we are fortunate to have the facilities we have so that we can play as many games as we do and that the pitch can accommodate that.
It would be impossible with a grass pitch, mainly for maintenance reasons. It’s a superb business model that the club has approached but also allows multiple games to take place, players to learn and develop and more importantly have fun.
Our U15s concluded the day when they welcomed North West Elite, from Liverpool. Our U15s are really starting to gel as a group. There was a natural bedding in process with so many new players joining in the summer but their squad is as strong as ever now with strong players throughout.
They have different types of player that really compliment the team. Players who can pass, dribble, show flair and graft. They have a really good mix of players.
On Sunday, our U12/14s/16s travelled to Airbus UK Broughton to face the young wingmakers. The game was originally scheduled as FAW academy cup.
Unfortunately due to player not yet receiving clearance to play for our opposition, we agreed to play the fixtures as initially agreed, but to play them as friendly games.
It was unfortunate but totally out of the hands of Airbus. It can be frustrating with International Clearance; we have had that ourselves with a couple of U19 players. The process is the process though and we hope to rearrange the league fixtures soon.
All the games against Airbus were good and we thank them for hosting us.
Back at Park Hall, our U11s faced NFA U12s. We challenged our 11s to stand up to the test of playing against a team a year older than them. That is a big year difference too, Foundation Phase to Development Phase, primary school to secondary school. The player responded well though and played some very good football throughout.
Our U15s faced Cefn Druids at The Venue and our U19s concluded the day at home to Flint Town.
To conclude a good week, we had lots of games and our training programme is now in full flow. This week, our coaches are holding the first six week player review with players and parents to discuss player strengths and to target three areas of development over the next six week programme.