It was another busy weekend for The New Saints FC Academy with all age groups in action, writes Jason Brindley.
On Saturday morning, our U7s hosted Airbus UK Broughton. Our 7s are our youngest group and we’ve started adding games to their programme to see their understanding of learning topics and if they can be executed in games.
They are a really fun group, with some cracking personalities already developing. It was a good challenge and good to see players trying to problem solve with what they have been working on. We thank Airbus for the fixture and travelling down to Park Hall.
Also on Saturday, our U8s and U9s travelled to Blackburn Rovers. We have a really good relationship with Blackburn Rovers, stemming from a former player, Jack Vale, who signed for Blackburn from our Academy. Jack signed at U15s and is still with them now, having signed a pro contract.
It was a really good experience for our youngsters, playing against a top English Academy. Both sets of players were superb, playing our style of football throughout. We are delighted with the quality of the games and look forward to playing them again in the near future.
Our U10s and U11s travelled to Bala Town on Saturday afternoon. We’ve played Bala a couple of times over the last week, and also Sunday. They always have good age groups like I mentioned last week. The pitches were quite tight, but that proved a good challenge for the players.
It’s important that players are exposed to different types of challenges and scenarios. It will only aid and assist the long term development which is the aim.
We also hosted Pilkington FC at U12s. It’s been a busy week for our youngest Development Phase group, also competing against Bala, Wolves and Newtown on Sunday.
Pilkington have a really good young team with some excellent players. It was a very competitive game, with some great football played. We thank them for travelling and will look to arrange with other groups in the future.
On Sunday our U12s, U14s and U16s continued their FAW Academy Cup programme, welcoming Newtown to Park Hall Stadium. Newtown are another team who have good age groups and teams. A lot of our players know theirs, so there is always that friendly rivalry.
Our 12s kick-started proceedings with an early morning kick-off. It was a very competitive game, Newtown were very well organised and were dangerous on the counter. It was a good challenge for players.
Our U14s followed and, despite not being at their normal passing best, were clinical when needed to be in the final third.
Our U16s finished the competitive football at the home of the Welsh Champions with a 4:30pm KO. The players showed good understanding of training topics and match preparation, and put in a solid performance, which was good considering we had numerous U15s playing up due to some awaiting clearance.
To finish the weekend, our U13s and U15s travelled to Bala Town. Like I mentioned last week with the 13s, they’re still getting adjusted to 11 a side football. We changed the shape slightly and asked for more discipline from players in relation to positioning and they took on the points really well. It was a good standard of game, with both teams playing the right way and expressing themselves.
Our U15s concluded a very busy weekend, against a very good Bala side. Bala beat us in the Northern Final last year at U14s, before going on to win the Academy Cup, so we knew they would again be very good.
The game was of really high standard which is a credit to Bala and the FAW Academy structure, to have two teams of such high standard. The game was called to a halt in the second-half, with a serious injury to Lewis Donaghy. We thank Bala for helping in the matter and wish Lew a speedy recovery.
Next week, we look forward to fixtures against Cefn Druids, Stoke City, Chester, Brookhouse College and Australian touring teams Nerang and Sydney University.