In January I took 34 players (2 x squads of boys aged 14 to 17 years) to England and Spain. We spent time training with Manchester City at their state of the art Etihad training centre, using their full-sized indoor synthetic pitch. We watched The Caribao Cup match where Man City won 2-1 playing against Bristol City. We had an escorted tour of The Stadium and dressing rooms (something to behold). The boys played a match against Stockport Grammar and were outgunned by a couple of goals.
A quick visit by bus down to Portsmouth was taken where we showed the boys around the historic dockyard and the HMS Victory, Lord Horatio Nelson’s flagship, launched in 1765 and took part in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar (Yes this ship is older than our country’s European settlement) There was a tour of Fratton Park where as a young man I started my professional Footballing career. Some of the boys found it amusing that the Tour guides had dug out a match-day program from 1976 which had my player profile in it.
Then off to London for some sightseeing, shopping (gee these boys know how to shop and spend their parent’s money) and we took in a trip to Wembley Stadium where we watched Spurs beat Everton 4-0 in front of 79,000 fans.
The next day our flight left Heathrow for Madrid, where we landed in amongst snow covered mountains and a glorious 2 degrees Celsius. We spend a 3 days training at the Real Madrid centre of excellence and sightseeing around Madrid and touring the Santiago Bernabau Stadium,(and shopping). The boys played a match on the outskirts of Madrid and claimed a win, …. The Victory song sounds very good when being sung on foreign soil!
A 4-hour bus ride across the Spanish plains to Valencia was next and 3 days of training at Valencia Football Club. We were totally outclassed in our Matches there but were all the better for the experience gained. There was sightseeing around the incredible Park of Sciences and the Old Town of Valencia, we took in a tour of La Mestalla (one of the oldest
stadiums in Spain). And some shopping. Then a trip to Villareal’s El Ceramica Stadium to watch Villareal beat Levante 4-2.
The final leg of our Football tour was to take us to Barcelona where our hotel was in close proximity to the beach (the temperature had risen from 2 degrees in Madrid to 23 degrees in Barcelona), so the boys had time to play beach Football and brave the cool Mediterranean waters. We went into Barcelona City and saw the Sagrada Familia up close and other Gaudi buildings. The highlight for the boys was touring the Camp Nou Stadium where Barca play, and the chance to do some more shopping. (Some of our boys have more football jerseys than most clubs).
On return to Sydney, our 1st and 2nd XI prospects were put into a weekly early morning training schedule (each Wednesday at 6.30am). Their experience from the tour had helped many of our boys to really ‘Kick-on’ in their confidence.
In March our Winter sport training began in earnest with all boys trialling to get into the highest team possible. This process of selection continued all through the season.
Our budding referees completed a level 4 course in May with our guest of honour Kris Griffiths-Jones. I hope to see some of these boys go on to much greater things in refereeing.
With the fantastic organisation skills of the Football Committee, we held our Gala Day and Season Launch, where our 1st and 2nd XI squad was presented with their jerseys. This was on the 3rd weekend of May.
The Committee also put together a fabulous Lunch at the Maritime Museum function room in June, which was attended by Sydney FC Captain Alex Brosque and our favourite referee Kris Griffiths-Jones.
In June our Annual seven-a-side tournament took place, again the Football Committee and in particular, Andrew Rider were the drivers for the organisation of the Day, where some 30 teams took part. The good news was that our 2 x Opens teams played each other in the Grand Final of their age group and so we couldn’t help but win the major trophy (second year in a row and in 2013).
Also in June were the Combined Independent Schools Championships (held at Football NSW Headquarters at Glenwood) and in the 16 and under age group The King’s School had no fewer than 5 boys playing for the GPS representative team. Harry Bell, Rylee Hazell, Jayden Tran, Angus Ingham and Finn Grieve all performed exceptionally well without losing a game.
The great news was that Harry Bell was selected in The CIS rep squad to play in the NSW All Schools Championships, which he did, and he was very good. Well done Harry!
In each of the school the holidays I ran training sessions for the pool of 1st XI boys who were local to Sydney, and Sydney FC came in during the July break to run coaching clinics for our Prep and senior school boys. We had an average of 29 players each day being coached by the Sydney coaches and Alex Cisak and Alex Brosque put in an appearance on one of the days.
The 1st XI squad and one or two others played in the St Pius Tournament over at their Oxford Falls playing fields. There were 5 teams competing, among them were a very strong Manly Utd FC who went through undefeated to win the comp. But our boys played extremely well winning one, drawing on and narrowly losing two of our matches.
When term 3 came and we had to do without one of our fraternity when Mr Paul Buxton and his wife Min decided that the Central Coast looked more inviting than Sydney, and who can blame them. So with the 2nd XI without a coach Mr Ben Phillips stepped up to assist me with the job for the final 4 matches.
Our 1st XI played 11 matches in total this season and won 3 of them. The 2nd XI won one match but managed to draw 6 of theirs. Considering how young both squads were, I think these results are admirable.
Our 468 Football playing boys were allocated 33 teams between them playing 363 games during this season, and the vast majority of them had a wonderful experience this year, with varying success rates. I am aware of the one or two problems which popped up and I can assure you that I will vigilant and try to rectify them for our next Football year.
I wish all of the year 12 boys all of the very best in whatever field they chose to stray into, but most of all I hope that you continue to play the World game or at least are involved in it in some way.
I would like to extend a massive ‘Thank you’ to all of our 47 coaches of 2018, especially Lee Sterrey our 1st XI coach Bruno Jasiczek our goalkeeper coach, and Ben Phillips whose Wednesday morning fitness sessions have become legendary. All of you have worked tirelessly through the season.
Finally, to our Football Referees coordinator Amanda Hooker who shuns the limelight but does an amazing job making sure that each week we have refs to cover all matches.
1st XI team
Anderson G P A, Clough L M, Dingwall A N, Gikas G D, Grieve F W, Hazell J R, Kim Y, Konstandinidis W A, Lam C, Shahnshahi M I, Tran J H, Vale H R,
2nd XI team
Addison B L, Anania C, Bell T H S, Bird W J, Bishell L J R, Emmett B M, Ingham A J, Mansour K M, Mohan K, Mrabet H J, Prideaux A W
COACHES, Mr L Sterrey, Mr P Denyer
MIC Mr P Denyer