It was a good week of football last week, with multiple games across the board for The New Saints FC Academy, writes Jason Brindley.
On Tuesday, our Under 8s welcomed Welshpool to Park Hall Stadium, before our U12s faced Wrexham. Despite our full training programme, we look to incorporate as many fixtures as possible for our players.
It’s good to have a good level of training and contacts, but it’s about putting skills and techniques learnt into practice against opposition.
Our U12s continued their recent good form with a strong performance against Wrexham. It was a good game in extremely wet conditions. We showed good resilience, scored a couple of good goals and defended very well late on. I was very pleased.
On Thursday, our 14s faced Wrexham in another good game. Following Academy training on Thursday, we celebrated two of our U12s birthdays.
Callum and Charlie both enjoyed our healthy Academy Menu, complete with TNS birthday cake, before a game of bowling. It’s great to have these facilities at our disposal at The Venue.
It’s also great for us to help players build relationships with each other. Our U12s are already a very social group and things like this really help, especially with new players in the group.
Onto the weekend and it was an extremely positive one for our Academy. Our U8s and U9s travelled to Cefn Druids on Saturday, while we held a day full of football at The Venue.
First up our U9s and U11s faced Wrexham. Our 9s have continued to come on, both as individuals and as a team. They were excellent and worked really hard together. It was superb to see.
Our U13s followed. Our U13s have come on a lot in a short period of time and despite a couple of mistakes early on, they were fantastic. Their second half performance was great as each player raised their level and played some superb football.
I don’t always single out individual players, but striker Louis Croft was unplayable in the second-half and scored an unbelievable goal. I’m very impressed with this team.
Our U15s also faced Wrexham in another very competitive game. It was physical, both teams had some very good chances and it was a very good game to see.
It was also very good to have Wales scout Craig Knight at the games, observing players identified for upcoming Welsh Regional Development squads.
Our U12/14/16s all began their Academy Cup campaign at home to Newtown. Each year, our three even age Development Phase groups play competitive football.
It’s good that players experience that psychological demand of success/failure. While it is always development over results and it’s a long term vision, over short turn gains, it’s good to expose players to that competitive edge.
Life is competitive after all. You have to have that hunger to succeed and that mentality to work hard in any work of life. It’s important to start developing that mentality.
To finish the weekend, our U10s travelled to face Birmingham City. It was another great experience for our Young Saints who have faced some top opposition over recent weeks.
To conclude the week as a whole, it’s all been very positive and it’s good to have good quality games. I remember when I first started at TNS, my first ever defeat as a coach was away against Wrexham at Colliers Park, their old training ground.
I had a good team at the time, a strong U13 group, yet the gulf in class was evident and we were soundly beaten. Two of our players did happen to be on trial at Wrexham at the time though.
To see how far we have come in that time since is staggering. I feel that the professionalism and football provision is second to none now in the area.
We give players the platform to develop their technique and the opportunity to play against top teams from around the UK. Our coaching staff are highly trained and we have more full time staff than ever before.
With more players on trial at top pro clubs or moving on through our development, times are very exciting for all at The New Saints FC.