A weekend full of football for The New Saints FC Academy provided some excellent opportunities for our Young Saints, writes Jason Brindley.
On Friday evening, our U12s travelled to face Shrewsbury Town FC on the 3G pitch at Scat College.Our U12s were impressive in their work rate and ball retention in awful wet conditions.
We got off to an excellent start with a couple of really well worked goals, before Shrewsbury changed their shape. It caused a few problems and players were unsure who to press or whether to drop off. Once they’d worked out the solution to the problem, they soon got a grip of the game again. Both teams played some really good football and again despite the weather it was a good game.
On Saturday, we welcomed Flint Town Academy to Park Hall Stadium for Foundation Phase fixtures. Flint always have good age groups, especially in the Foundation Phase. All of the games were evenly contested with lots of goals and good football played.
Prior to the games, our eldest Foundation Phase group, our under 11s, warmed up the other groups. This came on the back of our U11s working with the younger groups in training last week.
Their tasks were to warm up the players, give them feedback and info on roles and responsibilities and what it takes to be a TNS player. It’s great to challenge our players in different ways, like I mentioned last week.
This way we can develop different skills. The social side is often overlooked in Youth Development Football. It’s important to teach leadership qualities and skills they can use away from football.
Also on Saturday, our U14s travelled to face Sandbach. It was another good game and we thank them for hosting at short notice.
On Sunday, our Foundation Phase teams travelled to Manchester United. It was a superb opportunity and experience for our Young Saints. We played in a mini-sided football festival which also included Hull City.
It’s great to give our players the chance to play against some of the top teams from around the UK. Our Academy has grown a lot to the extent that we often get the opportunity to play top teams.
It’s a good challenge for the players but it also gives them the platform to impress. All of our age groups remained true to our playing philosophy and played our way. It’s important that whoever the opposition, our identity remains the same.
Our U12s and U15s concluded the weekend with fixtures at Park Hall Stadium. Our U12s welcomed NFA, a development team from North Wales, ran by Flint Town First team manager Niall McGuinness. They had a couple of really good players and it was a good game. We thank them for travelling.
Our U15s welcomed Kidderminster Harriers. It was a tough game with Kiddie having some good players and our 15s weren’t at their usual standards which made matters more difficult. We’re looking to get a reaction from them next week in training and build towards next week’s fixture.
As we conclude another week of football, it’s one I feel on the whole has gone very well. To compete against top opposition was superb and it shows how far we have come as a club and an Academy. It’s great to give players these opportunities to play and express themselves against very good sides and to remain true to our playing style.