It’s incredible to think that we are already in March, with the days starting to last longer, writes Jason Brindley.
The season has flown by and it has been a very positive one for The New Saints FC Academy.
The past weekend was no different, with some fantastic fixtures and learning opportunities for our young Saints.
On Saturday morning, our U15s hosted Stoke RTC at Park Hall Stadium. It was an entertaining game with both teams scoring some well worked goals in the first-half alone.
Our U15s showed good understanding of recent training topics throughout, which was pleasing to see.
On Sunday morning, we hosted Newtown at Park Hall Stadium with our U9-11s age groups. All the games were of good standard and quality and we thank Newtown for travelling to us.
Our U8s travelled to Bolton Wanderers to compete in a football festival, also featuring Blackpool and Barrow. The festival was excellently run.
It was a superb opportunity for our players to play against multiple, top-quality opposition and to challenge themselves. It shows the strength of our Academy that we are now getting these sorts of fixtures on a regular basis.
It’s important for players to play out of their comfort zones, to push and challenge them. We thank Bolton for inviting us and our players thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Our U12, 14s and 16s continued their FAW Academy Cup fixtures. We only have a couple of fixtures left after this weekend, but all age groups are playing well and in a good position.
Our U12s travelled to Bangor City. Despite the woes of Bangor’s first-team, their academy is always strong, with excellent players. Bangor started the game very well, with a powerful boy up front causing a few problems early on. The team responded brilliantly after half-time and produced a superb second-half performance. It was great character and resilience shown by a young group.
Our U14s hosted Llandudno, looking to continue recent good form.
We spoke to coach Danny after the game who said:
“The players were extremely impressive 1st half scoring some very impressive goals and dominating possession. 2nd half was more competitive and a test for both sides. Players had to work harder in transition and stay switched on out of possession, especially on set pieces which we defended really well.”
Our U16s travelled to Caernarfon Town. The games were played at Treborth, in Bangor, on the grass pitches. The pitch didn’t hold up too long with the weather and soon became a mud bath. Despite this, our players remained true to our principles and played some excellent stuff throughout.
Our U13s concluded the day, hosting Airbus UK Broughton at Park Hall Stadium, home of the Champions of Wales. Our U13s produced a superb performance, pressing with intensity without the ball and being calm and composed with it. Some of the football, through the thirds, was excellent to see. I was really delighted with the individual and collective improvement of this group of players.
To summarise, it was a superb weekend of football. We are now starting to reach the conclusion of our Academy programme and it’s been a great season full of experiences, memories and development. I am delighted at the continued improvement of our football provision and we are already looking at next season and how we can improve further.