It was a wet, yet wonderful weekend full of football for The New Saints FC Academy, with nearly all age groups across the board in fixtures around the UK, writes Jason Brindley.
On Saturday morning, our Foundation Phase groups made the trip to the Quay 3G, home of the Connah’s Quay Nomads.
Connah’s Quay are a very good Academy and we always enjoy good competitive fixtures against them. Despite the wet and windy conditions, you could hardly tell with the way our Young Saints played. They worked tirelessly together and all 4 age groups produced fine individual and team performances.
Our U8s were particularly on fine form – they have developed well and show a great understanding of our principles for players so young.
I had the privilege of working with our U9s who battled so hard for each other. It was great to see.
To finish the day and the games at Nomads, our U11s were great in what was a very good contest. They played 18-18 yard in preparation for next season, the first time they have done so, and produced a fine performance.
Both teams were very good and it was a good game of football to watch. We thank Connah’s Quay for hosting the games and look forward to facing them again in the near future.
On Sunday, our youngest Academy age group travelled to face one time English Premier League Champions Blackburn Rovers. Our Young Saints had an amazing experience and played their games at the indoor first team training facility.
We have had a good relationship with Blackburn over the years, with former Academy player Jack Vale joining Rovers from TNS a few years back. Jack is still there doing well and recently signed a pro contract at the club.
It was another great opportunity for our young players, who all had a fantastic time and played with smiles on their faces and lots of laughs. We thank Blackburn for the kind hospitality and look forward to facing them again in the future.
To complete a great weekend of football, we travelled to and hosted Port Vale. We have a great network of clubs that we have good fixtures with and we are always looking to grow this. It’s important to increase the awareness of TNS, that we do well against teams, not just in terms of results as they aren’t the most important aspect, it’s how we conduct ourselves, both coaches and players, on and off the field.
We want to demonstrate that our football ability and playing style will never change, and also showcase our professional standards.
I feel that as we continue to grow, it’s good to create relationships and to build on these.
Despite the wet conditions, our travelling U10s, 12s and 16s were superb. Port Vale had strong teams across the board, with some big players. All games were very evenly contested away, despite the rain.
Our U14s game was cancelled due to a water-logged pitch and will be rearranged later this season. The games that took place were on 3G and we thank Port Vale for hosting.
Back at Park Hall Stadium, we hosted odd age groups. Like the away fixtures, all games were superb and very competitive with some strong individual and team performances.
We thank Port Vale for the fixtures this weekend and look forward to facing them again later this season.
Next week, we look forward to having squad photos, with official first-team photographer Brian Jones capturing the shots, on the back of individual shots superbly taken this week and we thank Brian for his continued excellent work.
As well as this, we have a ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ workshop, prior to our first-team fixture at home to Llandudno on Wednesday evening and look forward to a good educational event for our Academy players.