TNS Academy report by Jason Brindley

Last weekend we completed the penultimate weekend of action for 2019 for The New Saints FC Academy.

And what a weekend it was, full of fantastic games and learning opportunities for our young Saints.

On Friday evening we hosted ProSoccerGlobal Hungary, with a mixed group of under-15 and U16 players. They were a fantastic team, made up of players from very good Hungarian teams, also mixed U15 and U16. A coupe of players were from Videoton, who our first team played in UEFA Champions League qualifications a few years ago.

They also had a boy centre midfielder who plays for the Hungarian national team, so we knew the challenge ahead for the players.

I felt we gave a really good account of ourselves. We defended well when we had to and had a good attacking threat on the counter. I was delighted with the way the boys played and worked throughout the game.

We thank ProSoccerGlobal for the fixture and look forward to future games against them.

Following this fixture, our U15s hosted Port Vale. It’s good to have two fixtures, so maximising game time for the players. Two very high standard fixtures also. We have a really good relationship with Port Vale, as we look to arrange and grow our network of cross-border fixtures.

It’s important that games are a good level and standard and we always have good challenges against Port Vale. We thank them for travelling and look forward to playing them with other groups in the future.

On Saturday morning our U8s and U9s travelled to Deeside for their second futsal contact. Despite the wet, cold weather, boys really enjoyed themselves, playing some excellent football. Delighted with the continued development of both groups, individually and collectively.

Our U13s hosted Wirral Schoolboys at Park Hall Stadium. Wirral Schoolboys were excellent, containing some top players from some of the biggest clubs in England.

We knew it was going to be a tough game, missing a couple of players also. However, the boys worked hard throughout and created some good chances, but just were not clinical enough. We thank Wirral for travelling and wish them luck in their national semi-finals.

On Sunday morning we hosted Port Talbot at Park Hall Stadium, with our U10s and U11s age groups. It’s good that teams are willing to travel to us to play fixtures. Some make a day of it, with food or bowling also. Good to have these facilities available at The Venue.

Both games were excellent, some fantastic young players on show by all teams. Both games were entertaining and beneficial. We thank Port Talbot for travelling to us.

Our U16s hosted Connah’s Quay Nomads in a tight contest. Nomads’ 16s are a strong group, well-drilled and contain some excellent players. The game was a good advert for the continued improvement of football within Welsh Academy Systems, with both teams playing some good football throughout.

The only way for football to improve is for teams to compete and challenge each other, this game was certainly this. Lots came out of the game. We thank Nomads for an excellent fixture and look forward to the return fixture.

Our U12s and U14s concluded the action, with their second futsal contact, at Deeside.

Our U12s were much improved from week one, with everything quicker, from ball speed to decision making. Really delighted with the improvement from week one.

Our U14s continued where they left off two weeks ago, with another good day. Some of the stuff they played was brilliant to watch. Really entertaining and what I liked was that the subs were encouraging and giving info to players about what they could see and the next pass.

This group are developing in other areas and it is great to see.