It was a great week of development football for The New Saints FC Academy, writes Jason Brindley.
Midweek, we were invited to Finch Farm, home of Everton, to play in a mini-football festival with our youngest group, our Under 7s.
It was great to be invited and our young Saints did fantastically well. Football is great at that age because it’s all about innocence and joy.
Its great to strip everything back and remember that football is a game of beauty. The youngest players play with so much freedom and it really is great to see.
Our U7s have developed really well this season, already showing an understanding of our football philosophy. We like to start our Academy at a young age, while other Academies don’t start until a later age.
We like to start at this age so we can start introducing players to our detailed programme, although at this age, it’s all about ball mastery, 1v1s and playing with smiles.
As well as our U7s, our U14s also travelled to Finch Farm. Everton has a world renown Academy, producing numerous top class players over the seasons.
It’s great to give our players the platform to play in front of teams such as these. We had a player sign for Everton a couple of months back and currently have a couple of players on trial. It’s good to give players these opportunities.
While we want to develop players for our first team, if we can we develop to play at a higher standard, that’s what our Youth Development programme is all about, developing the player to play at the highest standard possible.
Our U14s were superb and really enjoyed the experience, we thank Everton for the games. We look forward to facing them again in the near future.
As the weekend approached, all our Academy age groups were in action.
On Saturday morning, our U13s welcomed Stoke RTC to Park Hall Stadium. Our U13s continued their recent good form with another strong performance.
Our U13s are starting to really come on as a team and have adapted really well to the eleven a side format. Like I mentioned last week, we take the pitch in slightly when we play home games, as it encourages more short combinations and link up play.
We also had two Under 12s playing up a year, again looking to challenge players as much as possible to aid their development. At the end of the day, if you are good enough then you are old enough and we are fortunate to have so many talented players within our football club.
Also on Saturday morning, our U8-U11 age groups travelled to face Airbus UK Broughton, at the airfield, Hollingsworth Group Stadium.
Airbus’ first-team have had a good start to the season in the Cyrmru Alliance, remaining unbeaten in their quest to gain promotion to the Welsh Premier League.
Their Academy always have good age groups that provide good games for our young age groups. We thank Airbus for hosting and look forward to playing them again in the near future.
On Sunday morning, our U7s and U8s hosted Morriston Town FC, from near Swansea. They travelled up on Saturday evening and stayed at a nearby Travelodge.
I love the fact that teams are willing to do that to face our Academy. It shows the strength of our club and the way we have grown over the years, that we not only face top opposition on a regular basis but teams are willing to travel and stay over to face us.
Morriston were very good and we thank them for travelling.
As well as these fixtures, our U10s also played Salford, at The Venue. Salford have gained a lot of publicity on the back of the Class of 92 being heavily involved with the club.
The Neville brothers, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Welsh Manager Ryan Giggs are often at Salford fixtures, both home and away. They have grown a lot since this involvement and currently sit at the top of the Conference, seeking promotion to the Football League.
They have also started their Academy, aptly named Academy of 92, which was opened a couple of seasons ago by legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
We thank them for travelling down to Park Hall and for facing our Under 10s.
Our U12/U14/U16s travelled to local side Cefn Druids, for friendly fixtures, on the back of all three age groups gaining qualification for the Super6.
Like I mentioned last week, Cefn Druids continue to improve year on year. They contain a few former TNS Academy players so it’s always great to see them again and how they are doing.
Our U12s continued recent strong performances with a very good performance. Individually and collectively, they are coming on really well and it’s great to see such a fun group, but one who at times play some unbelievable stuff.
Our U16s followed this game. Our U16s contained two under 15s. Again, if you are good enough, we will expose you to a more difficult environment to see how you respond. We always focus on the individual at our club, and make sure they are challenged.
Our U14s completed the fixtures at The Rock with a good performance, building on recent ones also. We thank Druids for hosting and look forward to facing them again in the future.
To finish a great week and weekend of football, our U15s hosted Flint Town United at Park Hall Stadium. Despite a close first half, they came alive in the second and played some fantastic stuff. We recruited well at the beginning of the season with this group, they are now starting to come together and are playing some very good football.
Next week we look forward to travelling to Stoke City with different groups, fixtures against Connah’s Quay and also the beginning of the FAW Academy Super6 League campaign.