2020 has picked up where 2019 left off, presenting a number of amazing football experiences to our young Saints, writes Jason Brindley.
We began on the previous weekend of January, when our U14s hosted ProFootball Academy Hungary.
The game was of excellent standard. ProFootball are made up of players from various top teams in Hungary, and they tour the UK, sightseeing and playing against other teams.
It is a great contact to have as they are brilliant players. The main difference in my opinion, is the fact that we are a team that train together and know each other, our playing style and playing relationships.
It was a really good game and we look forward to playing them with other groups in future visits.
Last week was our first week back since Christmas, in terms of training. It was great to see all the players, across the board, for a really good, positive week of training.
On Saturday, we travelled to the Welsh capital with five age groups to face English Championship side Cardiff City. Cardiff are one of, if not the biggest teams in Wales. They have a superb academy on the back of that.
Despite the wet weather, it certainly didn’t dampen our players’ spirits, with some superb performances by our young Saints. Cardiff City were excellent opposition, as you can imagine they would be. It was good to see the level of the games and our players competing.
It was also really good having all the players travel down together. It’s great to build relationships and a chance for coaches to get to know the players better and develop that social corner. That in turn will only help how the coach can support and develop the player.
We thank Cardiff for hosting us and look forward to playing them again in the future.
On Sunday morning, we kicked off proceedings with our U13s hosting River Juniors U14s at Park Hall Stadium. River Juniors are a very high level grassroots team from Liverpool, and always have good players.
It was a really good test for our U13s, who are a good footballing team. We try and expose our players to a variety of different challenges over the course of the season – playing a variety of different styles of opposition, games we expect to compete in and games we know will be difficult.
It’s good to see the players respond to that challenge. They won’t necessarily win leg races and their link up play and decision making has to be quicker, as does their thought process and awareness of surroundings. It’s all part of player development.
Following that, we welcomed Aberystwyth Town to the home of the JD Cymru Premier champions to face our U8-10 age groups. Like I mentioned above, we have a really extensive fixture programme.
At the end of the day, all the players want to do is play games. We are delighted with the variety of games that we provide for our players.
All three games were very good and we thank Aber for travelling over. They have some very good youngsters in their teams.
Our U12 and U14s competed in the penultimate FAW Futsal games at Deeside. Teams were playing for placement, where the top four will be competing in a fortnight in semi-finals and finals. The two finalists will then travel to Cardiff to compete in National Finals at the House of Sport.
We really enjoy the Futsal programme, like I’ve mentioned over the past month. Well done to all boys competing in both groups. I hope they have enjoyed the experience and learnt from it. I know as coaches, lots of things are picked up on which is only a good thing.
Our U15s welcomed local side Cefn Druids. The game was of good standard, with players taking on info at half-time and producing a very good second-half performance.
To conclude the weekend, our U16s welcomed Llandudno in FAW Academy Cup Super6 action. Our U16s produced a superb performance, showed an outstanding work rate and pressing triggers on transition. It’s very good to see learning topics from earlier in the week also come off.
As we reflect, it’s been a really positive start to 2020. We aim to continue as we start, with our training programme improving, exciting new additions and also the fixture programme growing further.
We are in the process of growing our tournament programme as well, looking at challenging players and age groups and providing further amazing experiences for our young Saints.