It was a busy weekend for The New Saints FC Academy, with all age groups involved in football activity, writes Jason Brindley.
On Saturday morning, our U7s and U8s began the day with early morning fixtures against Llandudno. Llandudno always have good players, especially in the younger age groups.
It was another good opportunity for our U7s, for who we have started adding more games to their programme. While they love training and the fun and games we play in them, they always want to play a game don’t they. The first thing they always ask is are we playing a match today, so it’s good to provide more fixtures for them and to continue their development.
They are a fun group and have already come on along way since joining us at the beginning of this season.
Our U8s are another group who are starting to really benefit from our technical programme. We had a review of our programme at the beginning of the season, with new Head of Coaching Chris Seargeant coming in.
We wanted to make it more technical based, with more detail. I think that’s really starting to become evident, with players demonstrating their technical ability and Saints skills in games.
We know it’s not an overnight thing, learning these moves takes time, but the idea is when they arrive into the Development Phase of the club they will be technically sufficient, and comfortable with both feet. It’s good to see this being practiced from a young age and foundations being set.
Our U9s travelled to face Burnley. It was a great experience for our young Saints, playing in their impressive training facilities. The game was extremely close, and very high scoring affair. Especially as they were playing 7v7 on a bigger pitch, with loads of space to attack.
Both teams played well throughout and put in some really good individual and collective performances. We thank Burnley for hosting and look forward to travelling there in a couple of weeks with other age groups.
Our U10 and U11s finished off Saturday’s action for our Foundation Phase, also at Llandudno. All games against them were of good standard and we thank them for hosting. We look forward to welcoming Llandudno to Park Hall Stadium in the future for return fixtures.
On Sunday morning, it was our Development Phase in action. Our U16s kicked off the day, when we welcomed Brookhouse College to the home of the JD Cymru Premier champions. Like I mentioned last week, when our U13s played Brookhouse, we have a really good relationship with the Leicestershire based College. They house International Students, some who come across for sporting reasons, as it has a very good football programme.
The game started with frightening pace, with both teams playing really good, attacking football. It was a proper good battle, with both teams trying to outwit and out play each other. Brookhouse contained some top players, so ours knew they would be in for a game and would have to raise it.
I’m delighted that was the case. Any neutral would have really enjoyed the game. Both teams were looking and playing expansive, quick attacking football. We thank Brookhouse for the game and look forward to playing them again later this season.
Our U13s game got cancelled late on Saturday, but we thought that we wouldn’t waste the contact but make the most of it. The group came in for a team building day. It was really beneficial and fun and the players got a lot out of it.
Players were split into two groups early on, and then they contested a variety games. All games contained various types of problems and players were challenged with developing their own strategies to overcome the problems they faced. It was really good to see players discussing and working together problem solving.
Our U12s and U14s finished off the day when we welcomed North West Elite to Park Hall Stadium. We have played North West a lot over the past few years. They are based in Liverpool and are a coaching centre, who also play games against various Academies.
The U12s were up first. It was a really good game, with both teams creating good chances and the game was tight. Our 12s are travelling to Germany next weekend to compete in an International Football Tournament, so there were a couple of discussions in relation to ‘what if’ scenarios in games. It’s good to try and prepare the players as much as possible.
Our U14s finished the day with an evening KO. North West started the game very strongly, with a high aggressive press that caused us a few problems. We scored a couple of goals against the run of play and I think that took the wind out of their sales a little. They kept going and worked tirelessly throughout. We thank NWE for the fixtures and again look forward to playing them in the future.
As we conclude, it’s been a very positive week, ending with all of our players involved in football action the weekend. I was delighted with the games. There were some cracking ones, with teams just going at each other. It was great to see and really entertaining to watch.
A superb experience is coming next weekend, when our Under 12s travel to Germany. It’s a great and exciting challenge to face some huge clubs, and good that we continue to provide these opportunities to our Young Saints.