A group of boys aged 15-18 just completed their 1st season in the FKF Men's County League.
At the start of the season, the intention was to gain valuable experience by:
Playing against experienced and older opponents - fully grown MEN
Playing in difficult AWAY environments - in some cases even hostile - especially when they see our young MULTI-CULTURAL team
We knew it was going to be a WILD ride for the boys and our expectations were pretty low - mid table would have been a success. We complemented the group with a few older players to provide some experience on the pitch.
We lost the first game 4-3 where we conceded all 4 goals in the last 10 mins - there is a saying 'the game is not over till the ref blows the final whistle' - this couldn't have been more true for the boys.
The boys picked up gradually. We got our 1st WIN in our 4th match. A few game later, word started getting round NOT to take these boys lightly. We knew what was coming - an all out physical assault on the boys - pushing the rules of the game right to the edge - in many cases violating the rules and the referee's allowing it.
My GOD - the boys reacted - they got hungrier and more focused - and they got SMARTER - they started playing the space and the gaps - reducing contact as much as possible.
You know what? These boys finished the season in 6th PLACE out of 23 teams.
So many lessons learnt - so many ups and downs - but gradually making progress.
We are SO SO proud of these boys. They are an example that age is just a number. The real important thing is:
The ability and drive to keep learning
Courage and the willingness to push beyond comfort zones
The commitment to train several times a week, regardless of the all the other pressures including academics and school teams.
Some of the boys have since moved on to SPAIN, ENGLAND and CANADA to pursue opportunities at a higher level. We wish them INCREDIBLE success!
For those who remain - we GO AGAIN this year!