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A Football Academy established to shape the development of ACG Parnell College’s budding footballers is already scoring goals.
Launched 12 months ago by Sports Coordinator Steph Trowill, the Academy’s inaugural year has seen the best Year 8 and 9 boys compete in the College Sport Auckland 13th grade.
“Last year we had a number of these boys playing in our Junior Team in 15th grade alongside a number of Year 10s. They were just Year 7 and 8 students at the time, so this was a big ask,” says Steph, who has represented Auckland and New Zealand in the sport.
“After the Year 7 and 8 Eastern Zone Tournaments in 2019, I saw enough talent to put together a team for this age group and have them play in a more appropriate grade this year.”
Now training three times a week with the Academy – including two sessions on the field and one in the gym – the players’ skills are going from strength to strength.
“The improvements in our on-field performances has been evident throughout the season, and it’s a credit to the boys’ commitment. They found the back of the net 24 times from just six matches and picked up wins against top schools like Sacred Heart and St Peter’s.”
And although Covid-19 prevented them from competing in the Gold Coast Champions Youth Cup earlier this year, the disappointment has not dampened their enthusiasm. Steph is now working hard to develop the team to ensure a strong First XI in the future.
“A number of these boys chose to give up club football to play for this group so my goal is to work with them for as long as possible and help them grow not only as players, but people too.
“I often see and spend time with the group around school and ensure they are keeping on top of their schoolwork and showing the school values such as respect, consideration and excellence.”
One of those who gave up club football to represent his school is 2020 Captain, Lasse Veith.
The Year 9 student echoes his coach’s thoughts and is pleased to be getting more of a balance between academics and sport.
“It’s great that ACG Parnell is putting more emphasis on sport now, and I am really excited to be part of this group,” says Lasse.
“The school excels academically and that’s what we are known for, but we also have some talented athletes in a number of sports. ACG Parnell offers so much more for students than just a high-quality academic education.”
The Football Academy for 2021 will be open to students aged 15 and under on January 1, 2021. Students who would like to try-out for next year should contact Steph at Steph.Trowill@acgedu.com to register their interest.