Taunton Academy Wins National Football Final
The Taunton Academy were winners of the National Schools Football U15 Cup Final on Tuesday (23rd May), with a winning goal described by the commentators as the best they had seen in the tournament. The final score was 2-1 v Thomas Telford School. The match, sponsored by PlayStation, was at West Bromwich Albion FC’s ground and watched by hundreds of supporters from Taunton who travelled up for the game, as well as going out live on YouTube via English Schools FA TV.
In a tense game which began with an early goal from Taunton, followed by a stunning second goal by Declan Berry after half time, it was looking like a victory for the academy until Telford gained some last minute momentum and suddenly scored with just six minutes to go. However, Taunton were able to keep up the strong defence they had shown throughout the game, which meant they went home with the trophy. Player of the Match, as voted by Twitter, was Sam Scott.
Coach Ben Saddington said: “It was an incredible game, the boys were just amazing. Everybody in the school just loves them, they are a brilliant bunch of boys and they really pulled out all the stops for us today. We could not have done it without the support of teaching staff and parents, who have been with us every step of the way.
“As far as we are aware, our Year 10s are the first school in the south west of England to win the national cup. We have done this with no players playing for pro clubs and two boys who don’t play football out of school. We started our football academy with a focus on giving the students exposure to national standard competition. Over time we have developed a style, identity and a team with good mental focus. We started this season letting the boys dare to dream, to dream that a sleepy Somerset school in a county with no professional football team could go to schools with 1,500 plus students on roll.
“We had only two home matches in the run to the final, clocking up 1,000 miles on the road with games in London, Plymouth and Birmingham to mention just a few. We scored more goals than any other team in the competition and conceeded the second least. But all this came from the boys daring to dream, wanting more, to be the best they can be. We don’t have the facilities that some schools in the league have but the boys never moan, they turn up to training and give 100%, they step on that pitch, with pride, proud to play for The Taunton Academy, proud to be from Somerset and are a team.”
Head Teacher Lisa Webber said: “I’m so incredibly proud of The Taunton Academy. From the staff who coached the team, to the students and staff at home who watched, to the supporters who travelled up with banners and songs and of course to the incredible players themselves. We beat off teams from all over the country. It goes to show what a little school like ours can achieve with courage and heart.”