Happy New Year to all our Football Families at The New Saints FC. We start 2019 where we finished last year, with lots of football for our young Academy players.
On Wednesday, we welcomed Georgia Storm to Park Hall Stadium to face our U15s. Georgia Storm were on a tour of the UK from America. It is great to host touring teams and to expose our players to different cultures and football styles. American teams are generally physical players, they focus lots on that area of development, developing the athlete. It was a good competitive game and we thank them for the fixture and hope they enjoyed their time in the UK.
As well as the game, we also resumed our Academy training programme for the new year. It’s great to get the players back in and training after a couple of weeks off. Our U12s had to do group presentations on the topic, playing through the thirds. They had to discuss the way we play in each third and the group got to do a Q&A on it afterwards. It’s a really good way to build and develop the social skills, but also to work on presentation skills and confidence to speak to a group in this way, which is really important.
Over the weekend we had games across the board for our young Saints.
On Saturday morning, our Under 8s and Under 9s travelled to AFC Telford United. Both age groups continued recent good form and have developed really well this season. They show a really good understanding of our football game model, which for players so young is great to see. It helps with the level and detail to training and it definitely shows.
We hosted a festival of fun and football at Park Hall Stadium, and the level was superb. Chester City, Airbus, Bangor and ourselves enjoyed the beautiful game with round robin fixtures. All teams were fantastic, there were some exceptional players from all, and all games were very competitive and a really good start for 2019. We thank all the travelling teams and will look to do similar events in the near future. Festivals are really enjoyable, they aren’t tournaments, we don’t care about results, the children are 10-11 years old. The important thing is to enjoy your football in a fun, yet challenging way.
On Sunday, our U14s and U16s travelled to Quay3G to play against Connah’s Quay Nomads. It was good to get another 11v11 game in for both groups, with 14s playing Futsal in December. Both teams took on recent training topics well and demonstrated them in practice in their games.
Our U13s welcomed local side Cefn Druids to Park Hall Stadium for an early game. It was a competitive game, with both teams looking to play and Druids caused a couple of good problems with the way they pressed. Our 13s continue to improve and develop as a group and the social side of them has definitely come on. They are a cracking group with some very good players.
Our U12s faced Afan Lido, from South Wales. Afan travelled over on Saturday night with their U12s and U15s. It great that teams are willing to do this to play our Academy and we are always more than happy to accommodate teams.
It was a good challenge for our U12s, their first taste of 11v11. It proved an interesting one also. We played 18 to 18 with 3 1/4 size goals, as it would have been false playing full size. We still want to develop our players to create and exploit the space. There would have been too much of it though, and we feel the temptation to kick and chase would take away the technical side of the game and would turn it to a game of Rugby instead of football. There is no right or wrong way, just this is our idea on how to develop technically sufficient players.
Our U12s soon got to grasp with it though and played some very good football.
Our U15s concluded the weekend, playing against the South Wales Academy. The game was competitive, the second-half in particular. Both teams were creating good opportunities and the game finished with a thrilling ending. It was a very enjoyable second-half.
Our U15s have begun the new year where they finished and are developing well. We thank Afan Lido for travelling to The New Saints and wish them all the best for their season.
As we conclude a great first week of 2019, it’s great to get the players back in and start the year positively. 2018 was a superb year for our Academy and football club and if 2019 continues the way it has started, then it will be an amazing one for everyone at The New Saints FC.