Over April bank holiday, The New Saints Academy celebrated their end of season in style, with our Academy Presentation day, writes Jason Brindley.
The day followed our First Team Awards evening, in celebration of an excellent season for everyone involved at The New Saints. It mirrored our first team, with players dressed up very smart, with all age groups sitting together and enjoying a meal and presentation.
The day was hosted by the Rev and captured by Brian Jones, thanks to both for their great work on the day.
Below we run through the winners of the individual awards, beginning with our youngest age group, our Under 7s:
Jack’s footballing ability has shone through over the past few months and has improved greatly over the course of the season. His confidence is something that has always been there and he has consistently shown a competitive edge that players need during games of football. These are just a few reason why Jack has stood out to the parents and supporters watching on from the side-lines and he is deservedly named supporters player of the season. Well done, Jack Lamb.
Throughout this season Lucas has begun to realise his potential and has grown in confidence as the season has progressed. Lucas’ attitude and effort during training sessions has been something that is an example to the rest of the squad. Lucas’ personality is highlighted by his popularity within the squad and therefore resulting in him being names players player of the season. Well done Lucas Lane.
This season Jamie has shown a great attitude during training sessions and on a match day. His maturity when it comes to listening and taking on board information has been admirable. This maturity along with his footballing ability has highlighted why Jamie has deserved this award. He possesses great technical ability on the ball and is improving week on week which is why Jamie has been named coaches player of the year. Well done to Jamie Evans.
Next up we had the Under 8s:
The winner of this award has improved so much over the past twelve months. He has been a consistent performer and rock at the back for us all season. Everyone who meets this individual buzzes of his limitless energy and enthusiasm. Our winner takes no prisoners with his tough tackling, is a good dribbler and gives you 100% in every training session and match. We have been particularly impressed with how our winner has improved his first touch (by actually taking one haha), concentration and relaxing on the ball. Well done to Ethan Morris.
This winner of this award has had a great season. He has had played in a number of different positions, (including GK) and has impressed in all of them. He is an ever present at training and lightens up every contact with his smile and infectious personality. Our winner has a good eye for a pass, steps in well, has excellent close ball control and likes to chip in with the odd worldie goal every now and again too. We have been particularly impressed with how our winner has improved his concentration, defending 1v1 skills and body position when receiving the ball. The winner is Daniel Thelwell.
The winner of this award has had a fantastic season. He is a very cheeky and mischievous character and unfortunately supports Manchester United too, but thankfully I am happy to forgive him for this because of the goal machine he is. Our winner has great vision, is fantastic at receiving the ball under pressure and dominates 1v1 scenarios. We have been particularly impressed with how our winner has developed his own super skills and perfected the Sanchez touch (beating your opponent with your first touch). Well done to Harry Dillon.
Following our U8s were our U9s.
This player entered the team and completely changed the dynamics and confidence levels of everyone around him. Epitomises everything a TNS player in his position should have and he’s little bit of a replica of the first team captain, I’m sure you’ve all guessed who it is he’s saved the team on many occasions and started attacks with his excellent distribution well done Jack Parry.
This award is a great achievement to be nominated for by your peers, he has played in numerous positions through the season looking comfortable everywhere he’s been asked to play. A Big personality in the group with strong leadership skills, an athlete who gets around the pitch and when running with the ball never looks like being knocked off it, great season with dominating displays with last ditch tackles, assists and goals. Well done to Jenson McArdle.
This one was a hard one to pick as a number of players have had stand out seasons but this player started the season off fast scoring goals for fun; throughout the season he has also developed his hold up play bringing his team mates into the game and linking up. He always works tirelessly being the first point of defence. He has played up an age group through his performances and has the potential and ability to be a stand out player in the academy. Well done Gio Antoniazzi.
Our Under 10’s followed:
This vote was close between many of players who could have won it for some tremendous performances. This player has impressed supporters having them applaud the things he does. He has won many games with his performances. He is loved by all the parents because of his charisma. His saves have had the supporters amazed and shocked on how he could do the things he could. Well done George Jenkins.
This player has had a terrific year; he has the real characteristics to be a top player in his position. The players vote was close between many. This player has only become his position this year, pulling off some terrific match winning saves. I look forward to seeing how him develop next year as a player and a person. Well done George Jenkins.
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This award could have gone to many as I have seen outstanding improvements in many players. This player since the first day I coached him has shown great effort and a willingness to learn and develop. He has improved all parts of his game tremendously, his maturity for his age is also really impressive. I look forward to seeing how he can develop throughout his time at TNS. Well done Louis Roberts.
Next up were our Under 11’s.
Supporters’ player this season has gone to a hardworking, ball player who has become a pivotal player in the team. A brave, loud and witty character, this player has a great knowledge of the TNS DNA and more recently communicates it to his team with high levels of detail, it’s massively impressive. Another very well deserved award, this goes to Evan Roberts.
This player is a completely different person to that who we’d seen last season. Living and breathing the TNS DNA, he is extremely cool and calm when he receives the ball and very rarely gives it away in the central role that he has made his own, over the past 2 seasons. I know this award will do his confidence the world of good as it has been voted for by his teammates. It’s very well deserved, the Under U11’s Players’ Player is Harrison Randall.
Coach’s Player was a tough one this year as I felt the team has been fantastic. The group we have this year are very talented, but extremely coachable with a huge work ethic. The group is extremely close too having such a tight knit bond between them.
The winner this season epitomises the TNS DNA but also adds to it parts of what I see as my own philosophy, with his energy and bravery when tracking the ball down. This player has enjoyed a great first season, seeing him score a high amount of goals, also improving his general play massively throughout. I’m hoping this award will make him realise the level that he is at, as I still don’t think he quite realises how good he actually is. This award goes to Harry Mortimer.
Next up was our youngest Development Phase age group, our U12s.
Supporters’ Player of the season has made a huge impact this season. He has a infectious personality and is a very popular member of the team.
Equally adapt at playing multiple positions, with flair and creativity being just a couple of his many strengths.
He has developed really well this season and has a very big future ahead of himself.
Has been instrumental in the age group reaching both Futsal and Super6 finals, scoring some great goals along the way.
Takes on areas to improve and works on them, evident to see.
Has had a brilliant debut season for The New Saints Academy.
Well done to Jake Morris.
Players’ Player is always a great trophy to win, acknowledgement from your team mates for all the hard work you put in and your value to the team.
This player is one of the hardest working and honest boys I have ever had the privilege of working with.
He has had a stop – start season but is really coming into form at this late stage of the season, with the Nationals up for grabs.
His energy and smile is infectious and he is a huge part of the group.
This player has scored some fantastic goals this season and I am delighted to announce that the winner is Callum Francis – Jones.
Finally we have Coach’s Player. This was a very difficult decision with so many amazing players in this age group. We have such a great balance of different players with different strengths, collectively making this group fantastic and really understanding our TNS DNA.
This player has been with the club a number of years now and really demonstrates his knowledge of our playing style and identity, not just in the way he plays but often answering questions well, showing his football understanding.
This little player helps the team tick, he is so intelligent in his movement, with great ball control and eye for a killer pass.
I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to say I coached this player.
Congratulations to Alfie Harrison.
Our U13s followed.
First up for our 13s awards is supporter’s player. This player is one of the hardest working players I have ever met.
He has an amazing personality, often giggling to his own jokes and one-liners.
Everywhere we go players seen to love him, he’s one of the nicest players I have ever worked with. Even when they cant speak English they always seem to make friends with this player.
He has so much energy, is the strongest player in the squad and has a brilliant attitude to improve.
I’m delighted to announce that the winner is Jake Duppa.
Players’ player has made a huge impact this season for our U13s.
They are a group that have developed no end, socially being one of their biggest improvements as a group and this player certainly contributes towards this, with his humour and energy.
I’m delighted this player has won as I see a lot of qualities in him, I’m glad his taem-mates see this too.
This player will never shy from putting a tackle in, or going up for a header against a much bigger player, he is so brave.
His enthusiasm and positivity is second to no player I have ever worked with. He has leadership qualities beyond his years.
The thoroughly deserved winner is Alfie Clark.
And finally we come to coach’s player. Again there were a couple of players that could of won this award but I feel the winner is a worthy one.
This player has a great attitude and im proud of his development this season.
The Development of his game understanding is one of his biggest improvements this season.
This kid has a great attitude and is another player who works really hard for his team. He has had a very good season, starting way back in France last summer where he was pivotal for the group doing so well.
He is often the first one to arrive and after a quick hot chocolate and finishing his homework is out on the pitch with myself doing extra individualised work.
Loves winning a pen, few dubious ones this season I think, I definitely haven’t taught him that…..
Scored some outrageous goals this season, again like I mentioned earlier I’m proud of this kid.
Well done to Louis Crofts.
Our Under 14s were up next.
Supporters’ Player This player has enjoyed a lot of minutes on the pitch this season and has clearly impressed many. His goal scoring form has improved along with creating goals for others also. This player has really developed in all four corners of development and is a fantastic person. I, as his coach really enjoy having mature conversations with him about football and also anything away from football. I feel his work rate definitely matches his ability and that is very pleasing to see. He has been pivotal in our midfield and has played a large part of our successful season. Well done to Adam Tirebuck.
This player has a fantastic relationship with all players and been fantastic on and off the pitch. He has incredible work rate off the ball and travels really well with it. His decision making on the ball along with his desire to always perform well is really impressive. The intelligence this player has with and without the ball is very very good for his age. Well done again to Adam Tirebuck.
We talk a lot about the 4 corners in development, Technical, Tactical, Physical and Psychological corner and I believe this player has improved very much so in all area’s this year.
This player’s technical ability has improved in key areas on the pitch under pressure this season, contributing to the great success the team has had. Tactically he has shown a great understanding of his positions and now motivates and pushes others around him. Physically this player understands his body well and what he can do, using his pace/strength & power to his advantage in tough areas of the pitch. Psychologically, this player’s confidence has never been higher and has a great attitude on and off the pitch. His positivity spreads within the group.
He has been pivotal in our successful season, putting his body on the line on numerous occasions, giving everything he has got in every game both in our futsal and league campaign.
More importantly, this player is a fantastic person. He has a brilliant relationship with every member of the team. His willingness to improve and asking questions along with encouraging others is something we feel can be challenging to coach into somebody, this person has that. Congratulations to Dan Cabral.
Our penultimate group was our U15s.
I don’t think anyone in the room will be surprised to see this individual picking up an award this evening. The lad has it all, excellent dribbling skills, blistering pace, the ability to change direction quickly and end product. If you give him space he will hurt you, if you get tight to him he will turn you inside out (Just ask Harry Holland who has the unfortunate task of trying to defend against him in training). When this lads up for it, he’s unplayable. Our winner has had a number of standout performances this season, his hat-trick in our win vs Wrexham and his four goals in our draw vs Stoke to name a few. I can’t wait to follow this individuals career…the winner is… Reece Warder.
Players’ player is always a great award to win, but especially on this occasion knowing you’ve received over 70% of your teammates votes. To have that much respect from your teammates speaks volumes of this individuals influence on our group, both on and off the pitch. CB isn’t an easy job to play at TNS, at other clubs your primary objective is to prevent goals, head the ball and tackle. In addition to the basics listed just then, at TNS you need to be comfortable on the ball, be able to step in with it and defend on your half-way line. I really admire any individual who buys into this and is able to do it. Our winner reads the game well, holds a good understanding of his role in and out of possession and wears his heart on his sleeve. The winner is Wade Donnelly.
The modern player has to be comfortable in tight areas, he must be able to dominate 1v1’s, he must be able to find a way to play forwards under pressure and he must be able to play in a number of different positions and shapes. Me and Lenny’s winner is all of that and more, he’s got a fantastic attitude, he always gives 100%, has a wicked personality and is most importantly coachable and a nice person. Our winner is certainly versatile too, he has played full back, winger, inside forward, playmaker, box to box midfielder, pivot and withdrawn striker this season. He’s an ever-present at training, works hard in the gym and is always looking to develop and learn during the pitch sessions. It’s so easy to get on with the winner of this award, he’s very mature, speaks well and takes a genuine interest in everyone. I’ve got all the time in the world for this young man and can’t wait to continue working with him over the forthcoming season and hopefully Scholarship, me and Lenny are pleased to reveal the winner is Dylan Dwyer.
Our final group was our Under 16s.
Passionate, dedicated, talented, driven are just some of the words to describe the winner of the supporters award, not to forget he wears his heart on his sleeve. Again, it doesn’t surprise me to see this players name nominated a lot of times not only for the supporters’ award but players’ award too as he’s put in some very big performances in some important games!
Congratulations Regan Jones.
It does not surprise me to see this players name nominated by most of his team mates! This player is another one that has had a great season from start to finish. Keeps things so simple but is so effective at what he does and this is what makes him such a brilliant player he is today.
Congratulations Mark Holdridge.
This player has, in my opinion, had his best season yet with TNS. He has consistently performed well throughout the whole season and I am always excited to see what he brings to each game. He is a great lad on and off the pitch with an exceptional attitude. Not to forget, he works hard, he’s passionate, and undoubtedly very talented!
Congratulations Will Nevitt.
As we conclude our season, I feel it has been one of the best in terms of individual and collective player development. With more training sessions tailored to meet the learning demands of the individual player, whilst working towards our playing style and club ethos and philosophy, the rewards have been there to see. Not in relation to games won or things like that, but evidence of player understanding and that learning process. Its all about building blocks, layering stages of learning, working and knowing the individual player.
I would like to thank the coaching staff for their hard work over the season. Also The Venue for hosting and looking after our Academy. Id again like to thank Rev and Brian for the awards day, as well as our first team Manager Scott and first team player Billy for presenting the awards.
Finally I’d like to thank all the parents, for their continued support for their son’s development, committing to our training and fixture programme, without your support none of this would be possible.
We have never been in a better position, and next season we will only grow further. Really excited with upcoming announcements in relation to our Youth Provision going into the new season now. And with our fixture programme looking to improve even further, very excited times ahead for The New Saints.