We are the Champions! Altrincham Preparatory School’s U11s team are celebrating after winning a hugely prestigious nationwide football competition at The FA’s state-of-the-art National Football Centre this week.
The ISFA U11 Seven-a-Side National Finals at St George’s Park in Burton featured some of the country’s best school teams, and after coming third in consecutive years, the boys were determined to go one step further. Four consecutive wins saw them through the group stages on Wednesday, and APS then navigated the knockout phases without conceding a goal. Lochinvor House from Hertfordshire were their opponents in the eagerly-awaited final, and just when it seemed extra time was on the cards, an wonderful strike meant APS secured a 1-0 victory.
With onlookers commenting on the excellent passing football and build-up play, Senior Master and PE/Games Master Mr Birch said he was delighted not just by the final result, but the teamwork that the Altrincham Preparatory School side had displayed all day.
“We have some good players here, but people told us that they were really impressed by how organised and tactical the boys were,” he said. “They really worked together to take the lead in games and then defend it. We’re really thrilled that the boys brought the trophy back to Altrincham for the first time.”
The boys themselves revealed they have been modelling themselves on teams “like Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund”, carefully watching how the very best sides in the world are successful. “We love to try and play fast, pacey, attacking football, always passing the ball,” said Jack.
All of which was made easier in the incredible surroundings of St George’s Park - where England will be based before they fly out to Russia for the FIFA World Cup this summer.
“The pitches were amazing - absolutely pristine - but it was so wet,” said Anoop of a tournament that was played in torrential rain. “It was fantastic, and really inspiring, to play at the place where so many incredible footballers train.”