A positive attitude, dedication and faith in their coaches have helped one school’s footballers achieve their best season on record.
Two teams at Monmouth School, the U14 A and the 3rd XI, finished with unbeaten records against school opposition, while the U16 A and U15 B sides lost just once in 2015.
Two hundred and fifty goals were scored and less than 100 conceded across the exceptional season, during which 70 matches were played, with only nine defeats to school opposition.
Mark Tamplin, who has coached football at Monmouth School for 17 years, said: “This is the best season I’ve ever seen.
“One of the things I’ve noticed about these boys is they have the right attitude.
“They put into practice what we’ve done on the training pitch, and they believe in our systems of play.
“They give everything, 100%, and they enjoy training – that’s really important.
“The boys performed really well, I’m delighted with the work they’ve put in.”
It has been especially rewarding for Mr Tamplin to see the footballers’ progression over the last few years.
He added: “These boys were brought into the system under 14-years-old, and four or five years of playing with the same philosophy has come to fruition.
“Progress and performance is outstanding at senior level – they all buy into our philosophy and style of play.”
Three boys in the U14 team also got the opportunity to impress at a Cardiff City FC trial after being spotted by scouts at a Monmouth School U14 match.
Mazhar, Adam, Cedric, now all 14, impressed an external coach with links to the Cardiff club who put the boys forward.
Mr Tamplin said: “The boys were picked for their performance on the pitch, work in training and good attitude.
“They all have aspirations of playing professional football and this is the first step on the ladder.
“They thoroughly enjoyed it and had some positive feedback. Next year, the coach will look at them again to see how they’ve developed.
“It’s just a great experience for them to have a taste of that level of football.
“Mazhar scored four goals so he was very happy. He keeps knocking on my door to ask what’s going to happen next.”
The football season at Monmouth School runs from January to April, with training continuing between October and December.
Players receive four hours of coaching a week during school hours, with a match every Saturday during the season.