By Emma Pocock
The Boys C team have become the first team in the Foundation’s history to move up to the next league. The team’s recent win against Newport means they clinched the league title, resulting in the whole team moving from the development league to the competitive league.
The Foundation has 4 development teams and 2 competitive teams across the two year groups of the educational programme. The C team are a second year development team, but their winning of the league means that they will move up into the competitive league, an outstanding achievement and one which no other team at the Foundation has achieved before.
The team’s training throughout last year focused on their own skills, which allowed them to come back this year and play well as individuals and as a team. For goalkeeper Kieran Jones, this involved working on his throwing technique, which he says, has gained more power and accuracy, improvements that have also transferred to his 11-a-side performance.
They took what they learned last year and brought all their skills together as a team, ultimately winning them the league. Their coach Daniel Smith said: “They started this season really well and you could see that everything they had taken from last year had sunk in. It was almost like getting all the pieces ready in first year and then putting them all together in second year.”
Daniel also felt that confidence had played a massive part in these improvements: “Last year they hardly won any games, so it was very much a developmental year for them. They all had a lot of potential to be really good players, but they just lacked confidence. This year, I think the penny dropped for some of them and they came back as different players.”
This growth in confidence gave the C team more belief in themselves and each other as players, allowing them to gel and work well as a team. Kieran said: “We’re much more confident now. We’ve definitely got more trust in each other’s ability.” Teammate Ryan Webber agreed with this, saying: “I think we’ve all just developed as players and in ourselves as well.”
Not only have the boys gained confidence on the court, but they have grown more confident in the classroom. Their academic studies have improved as they have become more comfortable in group work and class discussions. Daniel said: “When they see progression and development, they see themselves going on that journey rather than just staying still. That just breeds confidence in them.”
Goalkeeper Kieran agreed by saying: “I’m definitely more comfortable with my peers now because you talk to each other more during the Futsal session which means you can then talk to each other more in the classroom and ask each other for help with work.”
Furthermore, the social aspect has really improved too, with the lads bonding which enables them to work well as a team. One of the players, Philip Tosch, said: “Socially, Futsal has helped me loads. If you’re winning, there’s a much better atmosphere so everyone just gets on better. Some of the people on the course are now my best mates.”
As Futsal is on a narrow pitch with only 5 players on each team, tactics and formation are crucial. Because this team have quite a few defensive players, they previously struggled to score many goals and attack. So, this year, they decided to spend most of the game in a 3-1 formation in order to defend and catch the opposition out on the counter-attack. The success of this tactic for the C team means that other teams at the foundation are now trying similar playing styles to see if it also works for them.
Winning the league means a lot to the C team boys. Philip said that the Newport game was a highlight for him as this was when they knew they had won the league. He recounted the two games they had that day: “We had Bristol who were 3rd in the league and Newport who were 2nd. We played Bristol first and we lost 4-2 and we just played really badly. We had a 20 minute break before playing Newport so we all sat down and thought about it and all felt like we’d lost it. But somehow we got ourselves back up for the Newport game. They had brought a few of their national players back which meant we were against a really strong side, but we still managed to beat them 2-0 to win the league.”
This win was also a personal achievement for coach Daniel Smith, as it was his aim to move at least three players up to the next league, and he has done that by moving the whole team up!
So, where are the team now? They began playing in the competitive league at the beginning of February and are excited for the challenges ahead of them. One of their objectives for this season is to beat the A team, who they will face after half term. When I asked them if they could do this, Philip replied with one word: “Easily.”
This demonstrates the team’s new-found belief in themselves as a result of training hard, gaining confidence and pulling together as a team. It’s exciting to see where this record-breaking team will go next!