Journey

It is amazing the journey the TW Sports program has taken. We like to share with you our time line of events, celebrations and anniversary

Journey

It is amazing the journey the TW Sports program has taken.  We like to share with you our time line of events, celebrations and anniversary’s.  Scroll down to see how we have grown and the great happy memories we have had along the way!

Manchester City Seminar, November 2017

Tim Wareing attended a seminar organised by the Irish FA with the head line speaker, Kevin Murphy, who is the Technical Director at Manchester City Woman's and Girls Academy.  Those at the seminar were also treated to presentations from Dr. Jonathan Bloomfield on the importance of sleep and Kevin Gallagher focusing on strength and conditioning.  It was a terrific morning of learning and wonderful that it was completely FREE - well done Irish FA!

Kevin began his presentation focusing on the most important factor - mindset.  He is 1 year in to the project at Manchester City.  His previous positions include Glasgow Rangers and Hamilton.  At Manchester City he was proud to say how inclusive they are with the mens team, boys academy, woman and girls.  He believes they are pioneers in England for woman's football.  City are only 18 months old with regard to their woman's team.

You can read more from Tim's blog post by clicking here.

Finnish Talents Train and Guest for TW Braga, October 2017

We enjoyed welcoming three talents from Finland who travelled to Northern Ireland to guest for TW Braga.

The boys were selected from the elite clinic that Tim Wareing delivered in Imatra, Finland during July 2017. 

They travelled with their parents and stayed in a rental home in North Belfast. During their stay they trained and guest played for TW Braga. It was a wonderful experience for them to sample training and playing in Northern Ireland. They performed to an excellent level.  Tim Wareing provided daily sessions for Aatu, Daniel and Nikolas.  They also joined in with Donald Malomo-Paris and TW Braga 2005/06 side for group sessions. 

Along with the football they got to enjoy some sightseeing around Belfast. This included Titanic and a fun visit to 'We are Vertigo'.

We are excited to be travelling to Finland to deliver an elite clinic with Clayton Blackmore in July 2018!

TW Braga Frame Football Team Play at St. George's Park, October 2017

TW Braga Frame Football team travelled to Birmingham to compete in the Frame Football Association Tournament at St. George's Park, the home of the England National Team.

It was the second time TW Braga competed in the tournament. 

Massive thanks go to the parents for their hard work. Thank you to the sponsors, SUBWAY and ASDA, that made it possible. Thanks to Frame Football Association for everything they provided and to all the hard workers with special mention to Steve and Katy.

Thanks to the wonderful TW staff for giving their time up and being away from their families; Donald, David and Jordyn. Also to Coleen for making the travel arrangements.

The biggest well done goes to the players who represented TW Braga so well. 2 wins and 2 losses finishing 3rd overall. Regardless of the results it was the unbelievable experience to play at the same venue as the England national team and seeing the smiles and friendships developing even more.

TW Family, October 2017

When TW Sports was started Tim Wareing always had a vision of a journey being more than a year or two. The organisation adapted the saying, 'Creating better players, better people'. 

Back in 2005 when TW Sports kicked off in Cregagh the organisation played a part in the memory of George Best. On the right of the photograph you see Jordyn and Rebecca taking part in the George Beat Celebration Day with TW Sports.

On the left is a picture of them last night. Jordyn is coaching our first girls team at TW Braga and Rebecca was referee. 

Today, like in 2005, TW Sports continue to offer them guidance, support and an opportunity. The organisation offers them a platform to continue developing. 

What's exciting is they now are providing and facilitating football for young girls coming through the same program that they did over 12 years ago!

TW Sports hope more parents and children get back to the way it used to be. Too many move about from season to season stopping relationships and opportunities like this to develop.

TW Braga 2001-04's Travel to England, August 2017

Over 50 players travelled to Manchester for the TW Braga 2001-2004 tour.  It was an action packed weekend that included visiting two Premiership Stadiums and playing professional opposition.

An early start with a flight from Belfast to Manchester seen us meet up with our professional tour guide, Bert-Jan (BJ), and our coach driver that would take us everywhere over the course of the weekend.

We began with a Stadium Tour of Old Trafford, home to Manchester United.  It also included an education zone in the classroom with a tour guide.  It was really well put together and even the non Manchester United supporters in the group enjoyed themselves!

After the tour we transferred to our hotel to rest before the first set of friendly games that evening.  Both groups, 2001/02 and 2003/04 played Bury at Carrington.  This was the old training facilities of Manchester City where they trained to win their first Premier League.  Bury now own the facility and it is very impressive base for the League 1 side.  2 competitive games took place.  

Saturday morning the 2001/02 group played Burnley at their first team training ground.  Another impressive facility but the opposition were on another level.  You could really see the difference in the ability and game understanding!

After the friendly game we made our way to their stadium to watch the Premier League game of Burnley v West Brom.  The seats and hospitality was superb.

Saturday night offered a time to relax after a very busy start to the weekend.  Sunday the 2003/04's would play their second game against Stalybridge Celtic and narrowly lost 1-0 in a close encounter.  Prior to flying home we enjoyed time in the Trafford Centre.

TW Braga would like to thank BJ and the clubs for hosting us offering a wonderful experience for our players.  We would like to extend our thanks to everyone else that made the weekend a great success and to the TW Braga staff for their hard work over the weekend. 

TW Braga Awarded 1* Club Mark by Irish FA, August 2017

Proud moment for the club as TW Braga were presented with their 1* Club Mark Award for club accreditation at the National Stadium.

The club have invested so much time on and off the pitch to get to this level.  TW Braga would like to thank Diarmuid O'Carroll and the Irish FA for their wonderful support and guidance.

TW Braga are now on course for the 2** Club accreditation.  Academy Director, Tim Wareing, will attend a new course organised by the Irish FA during the next few months and on completion of that the club will be presented with their next star! 

A big well done to all our staff, parents and players for their hard work, support and playing their part in creating a wonderful environment.

TW Delivers Elite Clinic in Finland, July 2017

Tim Wareing returned to deliver an elite clinic in Imatra, Finland.

Tim travelled from Dublin to Helsinki.  Emilio, who organised the clinic with Tim, met him in Helsinki to drive him to Imatra. The transfer took just over 3 hours by car.  The nearest Russian town from Imatra is only approximately 8 kilometres away!

At the last camp over 30 boys and girls attended the 3 day clinic in December that was in the fantastic indoor arena at Base Camp.  This time there was no need to worry about the snow and the sessions took place outdoor on 3G.  Tim delivered the sessions with the assistance of the local coaches.  The children spoke and understood English and their ability was impressive.

64 children enjoyed the clinic this time round.  4 children travelled over 500 kilometres to attend along with another child flying in from Madrid, Spain!

Tim was interviewed by the local media and the article was featured on a full page of the newspaper.  

It was another wonderful experience for Tim.  To see Imatra in the summer was beautiful.  The lake beside the hotel is the fourth largest in Europe.  It was spectacular.  Emilio and the club looked after Tim so well.  There has been a small group of children selected to travel to Northern Ireland to guest train and play with TW Braga.

Elite Coaches Join Forces with EST in Hobbs, New Mexico, June 2017

Tim Wareing and Donald Malomo-Paris from TW Braga coached alongside ex Manchester United player, Clayton Blackmore, for EST European Elite Coaching week in Hobbs, (NM) USA.

Javier Perez, Academy Director of EST and Leonard Fuentez, EST President organised for the 3 coaches to deliver the elite clinic.  EST hospitality was second to none!

Tim, like Javier, are both Manchester United fans.  One funny story shared during the week was Tim having a poster of Clayton up in his bedroom wall when he was only 10 years old...who would have thought 28 years later he would be coaching alongside him!

Clayton was a very humble interesting character.  Was a lovely gesture to offer the coaches some Manchester United training wear as well!

TW Elite Clinic with EST in USA, June 2017

UEFA A Licence Coach, Tim Wareing, accepted an invitation to operate an elite coaching clinic with EST in Hobbs (NM), USA.

The relationship has developed seeing TW Sports return on a yearly basis to work with EST and their talented players.  This is the fourth year in a row they have worked together.

This year there was two groups that Tim and Donald Malomo-Paris worked with ranging from the age of 7 to 18.  Ex Manchester United player, Clayton Blackmore, performed 1-on-1 sessions and then joined the TW coaches for the final hour with each group.  It was very exciting at the camp that close to 60 children had access to an ex pro, a UEFA Pro and UEFA A Licence coaches.

The 5 day clinic is also a talent ID for Tim to select children to travel to Northern Ireland to guest for TW Braga. They experience playing and training football in Europe.  This year 12 children were selected!

Like last year, the 2017 clinic took place in the impressive indoor arena at Lea County Event Center and attracted talents from out of state.  EST are proving they are the market leader in New Mexico for soccer.  They also provided time for a group of disabled adults and young people to sample the session.

TW Meets Frank and Christine Lampard, June 2017

Tim Wareing and Donald Malomo-Paris bumped into Frank and Christine Lampard while connecting through London Heathrow.

What a lovely couple they proved to be.  Having time for a photo and chat.  Frank told Tim and Donald he was currently completing his UEFA A Licence qualification with the English FA.

Tim and Donald told Frank and Christine about their visit to USA to deliver an elite coaching clinic with EST as well as the project at TW Braga and Frame Football.

Hassan Ayari Returns from New York to sign for TW Braga 2002's, June 2017

Hassan Ayari is returning to Northern Ireland to sign for TW Braga 2002's.  He has guested for some professional clubs in England recently and wants to base himself close to these clubs while continuing his own development. 

Back in August 2014 Hassan and his father arrived from New York in a very exciting transfer switch.  Hassan's father remained the first 2 weeks to ensure he settled with his host family.  He also got to watch him train with his new team and play the opening games with TW Braga.  It will be a similar scenario come August 2017.

During Tim Wareing's 20 years coaching Hassan is one of the stand out talents he has ever worked with.  Here is the video Braga made for his arrival in 2014.  It proved to be a wonderful experience.  One that would finish with Hassan playing an important role in helping TW Braga win the league.  He also enjoyed a terrific experience representing TW Braga against Newcastle United and Sunderland.  Hassan scored against Sunderland as well.  Let's hope he can repeat the success he had last time and continue his own personal goals.

TW Braga 2008/09's Travel to Holland, May 2017

TW Braga 2008/09's travelled to Holland to compete in an international tournament in Rotterdam.  It would be an action packed weekend and a wonderful experience that would live with the young players a life time!

The group flew direct from Belfast International to Amsterdam.  Bert-Jan (BJ) Heijmans met the group and transferred by coach to Rotterdam.  The first port of call was the impressive Feyenoord Stadium.  The boys received a Stadium Tour around the Dutch Champions home.  It was the first time they became champions in 18 years. After the tour they transferred to host club, TOGB.  Albert van Offeren organised small sided games and a friendly against a visiting American side, Forza.  After entertaining games all the players sat together to have a well deserved meal.

After a long day the group travelled to their base for the weekend.

Saturday morning the players travelled back up to TOGB for a training session with a top coach.  The younger players also played in a 4 team 5 aside tournament.  The parents enjoyed a morning to explore Rotterdam.  The rest of the day offered time to rest and be with the family.  Many enjoyed watching the FA Cup final!

Sunday was the day everyone was waiting for.  A wonderfully organised tournament by TOGB.  Clubs from all around Holland, including Feyenoord, competed against international clubs from Belgium, France, USA and Northern Ireland!  What a welcome.  Each team was called through the speakers to a wonderful welcome from the hundreds upon hundreds of people watching.  Each team emerged from the tunnel to dance music blurring over the speakers. Then a brass band played each countries National Anthem while each competing nation flag was raised...what an experience!

The tournament was wonderful.  TW Braga got the opportunity to play Feyenoord and had some positive results against them.  They also got to play other Dutch clubs and the American team, Forza.

Each team were presented with a trophy but the friendships and experiences made together was the icing on the cake.  Everyone returned to the accommodation exhausted!  Each child represented the club so well from performance to behaviour and respect.

On the final day the group were transferred from Rotterdam to Amsterdam.  The boys and parents enjoyed a stadium tour of Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA before having some free time to explore Amsterdam.  The final stop was back to catch their flight from Amsterdam to Belfast.  What a great tour!

Here are some of our highlights on a short video made by Coach Artur.

TW Braga 2005's Play Rangers, May 2017

TW Braga 2005's travelled over to Glasgow to play the famous Rangers at their Training Centre.  It was a wonderful experience for everyone on the trip!

Braga travelled across on the boat from Belfast to Cairnryan.  The bus then transferred the group to Glasgow.  First up was a stadium tour of Ibrox where Rangers play their home games.

The party got to walk in the famous entrance and up the marble staircase to visit the trophy room of Scotland's famous club.  After seeing around the media room and changing rooms the boys got to walk down the tunnel and onto the hallowed turf at Ibrox.  What a treat to actually walk on the pitch then take penalties at the Copland End!  

TW Braga 2005's then transferred to Rangers Training Centre.  This is where all the teams train from the first team to the youth academy.  It was a very entertaining game.  The first two periods were 9v9 before developing to 11v11 in the last period.  Rangers won the game 4-0 but TW Braga competed well and created some good chances but the Gers keeper was in fine form.

Here are some of our highlights on a short video.

TW Braga Launch Girls Section, April 2017

TW Braga are very excited to launch a girls section at the club!

20 girls attended the first taster session.  TW Braga will be entering teams into the IFA Summer Festivals operating from May to August.  After that the younger girls teams will play in the IFA Small Sided Games program.  The older girls teams will look to play in the South Belfast Girls league.

The other benefit for girls is being able to play in TW Braga boys teams a year down.  Hannah has played in the 2004 boys team for the past 2 years and is now seeing the real benefits now playing in a girls only team.

For more information contact Tim Wareing on, 07740120788.  All girls are welcome regardless of age or ability. 

TW Braga Awarded Club Excellence 1*, April 2017

TW Braga have become the 26th club in Northern Ireland to receive the 1* Club Excellence award. 

Only 4 clubs have the 2** Club Excellence... we only need a few more bits to get to that level because the goal posts have moved slightly. After Easter we sit down and target that.

Many people reading this will not realise the hard work that is involved to get to this level. As a club we have worked so hard for over a year to get to this point.

I'd like to thank our wonderful coaching team, support staff, parents, players and sponsor, SUBWAY, for being part of something special.

Massive appreciation to Diarmuid O'Carroll and the Irish FA for their wonderful support and guidance.

Participation Games With TTBS and Sir Alex Ferguson, April 2017

TTBS invited TW Braga 2002's to be part of their mental health awareness day with guest speaker Sir Alex Ferguson.

It was a great honour to be involved in such a special day with the ex Manchester United manager while highlighting such an important message.

The game itself was very entertaining with TTBS and TW Braga both playing some great football.  The full time score was 1-1 with Spencer Beattie scoring the goal for Braga.

We thank TTBS for their kind invite and congratulate them on a well organised day.

Clayton Blackmore Clinic, March 2017

Ex Manchester United player, Clayton Blackmore, arrived in Belfast to deliver a clinic with TW Braga that was open to all players, coaches and fans.  The clinic took place at Cregagh Sports Club on Sunday 26 March. 

Clayton Blackmore was a former Welsh international footballer with 39 caps.  He joined Manchester United as a schoolboy at the age of 14, and was a FA Youth Cup finalist in 1982.

He made his debut for United on 16 May 1984 in their 2-0 league defeat against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.  He established himself under Sir Alex Ferguson during the 1987/88 season.  During this season Clayton played 22 league games and scored 3 goals.  The following season he enjoyed even more first team opportunities as he played 28 times in the league.

Blackmore won the FA Cup in 1990 after a replay against Crystal Palace.  He scored in the Charity Shield against Liverpool with both teams sharing it after a 1-1 score line.  In 1991 he won the European Cup Winners' Cup beating Barcelona in the final. 

More success came with beating Red Star Belgrade in the Super Cup (1991) & then lifting the first Premier League Trophy in 1992/93.  Famous for his attacking free kicks and being a utility player who excelled in defence but could play equally well in midfield.  After 12 years and 186 league appearances, he switched to Middlesbrough on a free transfer.

Blackmore played for a host of other clubs and had management experience with these clubs.  He is now back working at Manchester United. 

Clayton delivered a presentation focusing on an overview of his career and performed a tactical demonstration on 'Martinez Attack v Defence'.  The event took place at Cregagh Sports Club (Orangefield OB FC) on Sunday 26 March from 12-3pm and finished with a Q&A.  The event provided a class room session from 12pm and a practical session then take place on the pitch from 1.30pm (using 2001-2002 players).  Orangefield OB FC also invited everyone to stay on in their club house to enjoy a drink.  We thanked them for their hospitality.

The morning kicked off with a coaching clinic for 2003-2009's from 11am-12pm.  This was organised by TW Braga coaches.  Clayton Blackmore walked around each group to say hello and offered some advice.

EST Talents from USA Guest for TW Braga, March 2017

We enjoyed welcoming another four talents from EST in Hobbs (NM), USA who travelled to Northern Ireland to guest for TW Braga.

The boys were selected from the elite clinic that Tim Wareing delivered in USA in July 2016. 

They travelled with their parents and staff from the EST program. During their stay they trained and guest played for TW Braga. It was a wonderful experience for them to sample training and playing in Europe. They performed to an excellent level.

Along with the football they got to enjoy some sightseeing around Northern Ireland. This included Titanic, Giant's Causeway and the Mourne Mountains. They had a fun visit to 'We are Vertigo' and an exciting visit to the National stadium!  

We are excited to welcome EST again in 2018!

Steven Davis at Subway, March 2017

Our great sponsors SUBWAY invited us down to meet Northern Ireland and Southampton captain, Steven Davis.

TW Braga Academy Director, Tim Wareing, was joined by Head of Years, Paul Kirk and Donald Malomo-Paris, along with a few of the players to meet Steve Davis. 

The Northern Ireland international is the new face for SUBWAY stores promotion to win a training session led by Steve Davis.

He proved what a down to earth guy he is with taking the time to talk to the group, sign autographs and pose for photos.

TW Braga Frame Football Team Play at St. George's Park, March 2017

TW Braga Frame Football team travelled to Birmingham to compete in the Richard Seedhouse Memorial Cup at St. George's Park, the home of the England National Team.

It was some of the players first time on a plane not to mention play at such a wonderful facility that some of the England greats have trained at.  The boys are the first international team to travel to the tournament but the main person we were there to remember and celebrate was Richard Seedhouse.

Rich created Frame Football.  His vision and skill offers a wonderful opportunity for children to play football instead of being excluded.  Sadly Rich passed away in January.  The tournament was renamed the Richard Seedhouse Memorial Cup.  It ensures his legacy lives on.

TW Braga Frame Football had a wonderful day at the tournament and look forward to returning in the near future.  Thank you to everyone that made us so welcome.  Watch our video!

TW Braga Frame Football at West Brom, March 2017

TW Braga Frame Football team travelled to Birmingham to compete in the Richard Seedhouse Memorial Cup.  West Brom played Crystal Palace the day before the tournament and we were fortunate to have a great afternoon with them.

We arrived at the Hawthorns for 12pm and enjoyed the Fan Zone.  We watched Manchester United play Bournemouth on the big screen along with live music.

The group then transferred into the stadium to see the EPL game.  Crystal Palace were the visitors.  Big Sam left the happier manager with an important 3 points after a 2-0 victory.

The real excitement was to follow when three West Brom players, and Northern Ireland internationals, came over to say hello to the group!  Chris Brunt, Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley took time out of their schedules to sign autographs and have their photo taken with us all.

Truly memorable experience and we can't thank the players and West Brom enough for their hospitality.  Special thanks to the Irish FA for organising the tickets and meet with the players.  Thank you to Alan Crooks and David Currie.

Manchester United v Southampton Football League Cup Final, February 2017

Tim Wareing enjoyed watching the final of the Football League Cup Final at Wembley.

It involved Manchester United against Southampton.  United went 2-0 up before Southampton came back to 2-2 in a close encounter.  The Red Devils grabbed a late goal through Imbrahimovic to win it 3-2.  It was a great experience and the atmosphere was superb.

Tim Wareing Delivers Clinic in Finland, December 2016

Tim Wareing was invited to deliver an elite clinic in Imatra, Finland.

Tim travelled from Dublin to Helsinki via Copenhagen. Emilio, who organised the clinic with Tim, met him in Helsinki to drive him to Imatra. The transfer took roughly 4 hours by car. The nearest Russian town from Imatra is only approximately 8 kilometres away!

The facility where the clinic took place was an amazing site. Over 30 boys and girls attended the 3 day clinic. Tim delivered the sessions with the assistance of the local coaches. The children spoke and understood English and their ability was impressive.

Tim was interviewed by the local media and made the front page of the newspaper on the morning of his return to Northern Ireland.

TW Braga Receive McDonald's Foundation Club Mark, December 2016

TW Braga received the McDonald's Foundation Club Mark award after completing the requirements set by the Irish FA. 

Phil Melville from the Irish FA mentored the club and some of the younger coaches as part of the task in completing the award.

This is the initial grading before the main 1* and 2* grading for club accreditation through the Irish FA. TW Braga have been working very hard on and off the pitch to get to the desired level. 

Fleetwood Town Visit for Spencer Beattie, November 2016

TW Braga 2002 player, Spencer Beattie, was invited to League One side, Fleetwood Town, to train with them over the halloween holidays. 

TW Braga Academy Director, Tim Wareing, Spencer and his mother travelled to Fleetwood for a wonderful experience.  After the Belfast to Liverpool flight it was a transfer to Blackpool which would be the base for the 4 day visit organised by Mike McGarvey.

Spencer enjoyed evening sessions with Fleetwood as well as a full day training on the Wednesday.  He didn't look out of place and the coaches were very happy with him.  Fleetwood Town training facilities are very impressive.  The club have come from non league football to League One in a short space of time.  It has been remarkable their journey!

With staying in Blackpool we got to enjoy the illuminations, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and, of course, got to ride the trams!

We couldn't have been welcomed more by the club, coaches and players.  Spencer performed so well and deserved a wonderful experience after his consistent top performances at home with TW Braga.

Sunderland Club Visit, October 2016

TW Braga organised a visit for their players to Sunderland FC.

After an early evening flight from Belfast to Newcastle the group got checked into their hotel.

During the weekend our players got to watch Sunderland play Arsenal at the Stadium of Light in the EPL. We also enjoyed a training session by the Sunderland coaches. The weekend was complete with a tour round St. James' Park, home of Newcastle United.

We've enjoyed many happy visits to Sunderland previously and this was another terrific visit.

TW Braga Healthy Heart Warrior, July 2016

TW Braga Healthy Heart Warrior is going strong. Along with 4 national summer camps that reached out to over 200 children it is currently helping close to 100 players at TW Braga. Not to mention over 750 children that we work with every week across our program.

Kyle Ferguson fitted our 2002's with heart monitors and helped educate them on how to get their heart active. Leanne joined Kyle to get some of the players to make smoothies reminding them it's not just what you eat and drink before and during a game but what also to prepare for after training and games.

The boys had great fun. Thank you to all the TW Braga staff for working so hard and of course to Heart Research UK and Subway for making a difference to young people's lives in Northern Ireland.

TW Braga is a club open to all the community that offers teams for players born 2001-2010. Our community program offers football from 2 year old and above!

For more details get in contact with us; tim@twsports.org 

Talent from Finland Guests for TW Braga, June 2016

Daniel was staying in Belfast for a month with his family while his mother carried out some work. The family are from Finland. They did a search on the internet and asked could they train at TW Braga. 

It's a terrific experience and very interesting seeing how a player can adjust to a different environment, language and group of team mates. Likewise it is also interesting to see how our players cope.

Daniel is a fantastic talent. He trained with our 2005 group every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. He also enjoyed guesting in some friendly games. 

EST Talents from USA Guest for TW Braga, March 2016

4 talents from EST in Hobbs (NM), USA travelled to Northern Ireland to guest for TW Braga.

The boys were selected from the elite clinic that Tim Wareing delivered in USA in June 2015. 

They travelled with their parents and staff from the EST program. During their stay they trained and guest played for TW Braga. It was a wonderful experience for them to sample training and playing in Europe. They performed to an excellent level.

Along with the football they got to enjoy some sightseeing around Northern Ireland. This included Titanic, Giant's Causeway and the Mourne Mountains. They had a fascinating black taxi ride around the city reviewing our troubled past then an exciting visit to the National stadium!  

We are excited to welcome EST again in 2017!

North East Club Visits, February 2016

Our great friend BJ Heijmans organised a wonderful experience for us to travel over and visit some of the biggest clubs in the North East of England.  

Lucas Alcaraz travelled with Tim Wareing and enjoyed wonderful presentations by Sunderland and Middlesbrough Academy.

There was time to watch sessions at both clubs  along with taking in games involving Sunderland's U21's and their first team.

It was also nice to have a tour around Newcastle United's ground, St. James' Park. 

Lucas Alcaraz Visits TW Sports, February 2016

Ex Levante Manager, Lucas Alcaraz, visited Belfast to deliver a clinic that was open to all players and coaches.  The Irish FA awarded 5 CPD credits for coaches in attendance.

Born in Granada, Andalusia, Alcaraz started coaching with Granada CF in 1995 at the age of 29, achieving two top-four finishes in the third division in his three-year spell but failing to promote in the playoffs.  In the following two seasons he managed in the same category and region, with Almeria CF and Dos Hermanas CF.

In June 2000, 34-year-old Alcaraz signed for Recreativo de Huelva helping the oldest club in Spain return to La Liga after an absence of 23 years in 2002 behind champions Atletico Madrid and Racing de Santander. Even though Recre returned to the second level immediately, they also managed to reach the final of the Copa del Rey, losing 0–3 to RCD Mallorca.

Alcaraz then moved to Racing Santander before spending the following two seasons in the second division, helping Real Murcia get promoted in 2007.  He also enjoyed a spell at Recreativo.

In the 2009 summer Alcaraz signed with another team in his native Andalusia, Cordoba CF (second level), helping the side finish tenth in his first season.  In late June 2011, he re-joined Almería – now called Unión Deportiva.

Alcaraz had a short spell in Greece with Aris Thessaloniki FC before returning to his country and Granada, with the club now in the main category.

Lucas Alcaraz was appointed at Levante UD on 21 October 2014, to which he remained until October 2015.

'Tactics in Professional Football...Why Not Kids?' was Lucas Alcaraz topic that he focused on.  The event took place on Sunday 28 February from 12-3pm and included a Q&A.  The event provided a class room session from 12pm and was open to all coaches.  A practical session then took place on the pitch from 1.30pm (using 2000-2003 players from TW Braga). 

It was a terrific experience to learn from a top professional coach with experience of managing in la Liga.  We enjoyed making a great friendship and will continue to keep in contact with each other.

TW Braga Frame Football Launched, January 2016

Local youth football club, TW Braga, are delivering the first Frame Football Section in Northern Ireland.  Saturday 23 January 2016 will see the first meeting of the Belfast based club. This will take place at Loughside Recreation Centre from 1-2pm.

Frame Football was first launched in England in 2013 and provides the opportunity for children who are unable to walk unaided but do not require a wheelchair to play football. Many of these children use a walker style frame for mobility. These children cannot play in mainstream football because of the safety regulations. Frame Football brings them together to play an adapted game that suits their needs.

The IFA believe in creating opportunities for those with a disability to play the beautiful game. Let Them Play is the strapline of the new Youth Strategy and this Frame Football Programme will enable those children to play the game.

DJ and Let Them Play supporter, Colin Murray, recently raised over £5,000 for the establishment and development of Frame Football in Northern Ireland through the ‘101 Mankini’s’ walk on Boxing Day.

This money will be spent initially on starting a pilot Frame Football club in Belfast in partnership with TW Braga. In particular, it will go towards facilities, coaching fees, promotion within the disability sector and training kit for players. 

Irish FA Development Manager for Disability Football, Alan Crooks, is very positive about this new initiative in Northern Ireland. He commented, 'Frame Football is a great example of the how ‘Let Them Play’ is having a positive impact on the kids in Northern Ireland. We hope that with the awareness raised and support from Colin Murray that Frame Football will take off in our wee country.'

TW Braga Academy Director, Tim Wareing, added, 'We are so grateful to Colin Murray for his fantastic achievement of raising valuable funds & to everyone who donated.  This will insure Frame Football kicks off strong in Northern Ireland.  It's a wonderful opportunity to get everyone involved in the game.  I would like to thank Richard Seedhouse of Frame Football for letting us get involved with his exciting project that kicked off in Coventry.  I've enjoyed visiting & seeing Frame Football in operation at St. George's Park & appreciate the training & support the IFA have given TW Braga.  We all can't wait to get kicked off on 23 January!' 

It is anticipated that an additional two clubs in Armagh and Coleraine will be in operation by end 2016. Once these clubs are both up and running it will enable organisers to hold matches, competitions and festival days involving the three clubs.

For further information on Frame Football visit: https://www.facebook.com/FrameFootballor contact TW Braga Academy Director Tim Wareing on 07740120788.

Canadian Guests for TW Braga, January 2016

Ryan travelled to Belfast for 10 days with his family while his mother carried out some work. The family are from Toronto, Canada. They did a search on the internet and asked could they train at TW Braga. 

It's a terrific experience and very interesting seeing how a player can adjust to a different environment and group of team mates. Likewise it is also interesting to see how our players cope.

Ryan is a fantastic talent. He trained with our 2002 group every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. He also enjoyed guesting in some games.  He booked five special 1-on-1 sessions with Tim Wareing.

There is a possibility Ryan will return and play a season at TW Braga. As a club we are always open to create experiences for young people from within our club to those visiting from outside Northern Ireland.

The Secrets To Developing ELITE Youth Football Players Book Launched, December 2015

Tim Wareing has released his third book through his publisher titled, 'The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players.'  Copies are available in paperback or e-book!  You can order online by clicking here

Overview of 'The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players.'...

Tim Wareing is a highly sought after coach. With over 20 years coaching experience and having achieved the prestigious UEFA European 'A' Licence at the age of 24, his methods and coaching philosophy are known and respected worldwide. He has delivered clinics in Ireland, England, Europe and USA along with his previous two books selling in over 30 different countries.

Tim spent six years at Irish Premier League side, Lisburn Distillery. He held roles as Reserve Team Manager and under 18 Manager. He played his part in developing Youth International Players and players for the first team, before setting up a very successful Academy for the Club. 

As opinions changed in the direction the Academy was going, Tim stood down from his role and decided to take a sabbatical. He used the time to recharge his batteries and re-educate himself, visiting some of the top European Clubs, including FC Barcelona, SC Braga, Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, where he studied and exchanged ideas in youth development.

It was in Holland that he met with a top Portuguese Coach, Hugo Vicente, and the pair got talking about youth development. They shared similar philosophies and it was on this trip that two years later would see a new project launch in Northern Ireland.

The frustrations that Wareing had at his previous club are common across Northern Ireland. A lack of contact time with players, unqualified coaches, out dated methods and little to none specialist coaches and staff offer a limited opportunity for players to develop.

Re-energised he began to set up a very special project that would change the way youth football was delivered in Northern Ireland. Young players would come in and achieve up to 10 hours of contact time per week. Not only would they have access to Wareing but also a special talented team of experts. This would include games related training, match analysis, a conditioning coach, goalkeeper coach, education officer and pastoral care.

Players would come from all different backgrounds. Many arrived as broken players who had been told they weren't good enough, while others simply weren't receiving the correct education on and off the field to develop. Wareing would start to create better players, better people, using a new approach that was player and child centred. From conception to champions in 22 months attracted much interest from the National press and Irish Football Association. TW Braga would share their journey on their You Tube channel, @twsportsgroup, to date it has over 640,000 video views! These are the sessions that Tim Wareing used to help develop the complete player, that would improve each individual technically, tactically, physically and psychologically. This book has been specifically designed, so that each session is simple to follow, yet includes the coaching points that Tim offers to his players. These are all of Tim's preferred sessions that he has gathered on his coaching journey through his own experience and while visiting professional clubs across Europe.

'The Secrets to Developing ELITE Youth Football Players' will aid in developing your group of players, whilst having them enjoy their training!

Order your copy now!  Simply follow this link.  Available in book or e-book.  For more details contact Tim Wareing, 07740120788 or by email

Tim's first book, 'Toddler Soccer The Essential Guide', has sold in over 30 different countries This stretches from the UK & Ireland, across Europe to USA & Canada, the Far East & Australia!  Order a copy from here!  

Likewise his second book, '1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players - GUARANTEED!' is available to purchase here.

TW Sports Coaches Complete IFA Disability Award, December 2015

In the lead up to launching Frame Football 5 TW Sports staff completed their Disability Coaching Award through the Irish FA.

The course was delivered by ex Manchester United and Northern Ireland international, Mal Donaghy.

It was a very interesting course that got everyone involved in the classroom and out on the pitch.

The course will help support the staff deliver Frame Football across Northern Ireland.

Frame Football CPD at St. George's Park, November 2015

Tim Wareing visited Richard Seedhouse, the creator of Frame Football, at St. George's Park the home of the England National Team.

He wanted to watch how Frame Football was delivered in preparation of launching Frame Football in Northern Ireland. 

Rich is a terrific individual. It's a wonderful concept he has created that has so many children playing football up and down the country. 

North West Club Visits, November 2015

BJ Heijmans organised a fascinating 4 day visit around some top clubs through the North West of England.

Tim travelled from St. George's Park up to Blackpool. He was spending a couple of days there visiting a talent he worked with over the years who is now at Fleetwood Town. His friend also coaches there. 

Tim then transferred with BJ to visit Everton FC. The club welcomed them in for a cup of tea before they got the opportunity to watch sessions. 

The next day they transferred from Liverpool to Manchester. They watched Manchester United's Champions League game against PSV Eindhoven. The next day they spent with Bury FC. They sub let Manchester City's old training ground complex at Carrington. Like Fleetwood Town they have wonderful facilities for a League One side.

TW Braga Tour to play Newcastle United and Sunderland, August 2015

TW Braga U14’s enjoyed a wonderful weekend in Durham organised through our travel partners.  We had our own luxury coach and driver for the weekend along with great accommodation and first class meals.

We enjoyed training sessions and games against Premier League Academy opposition at their training grounds.  It was a terrific experience to play against Newcastle United and Sunderland.  We also enjoyed a stadium tour of St. James Park, home of Newcastle United.  We were fortunate to take in an EPL game at the Stadium of Light to watch Sunderland play Swansea.

TW Braga 2002's competed well in both games against Premier League Academy opposition.  Newcastle United won with a narrow 1-0 victory but encouragingly Braga had a few opportunities to score themselves,  Sunderland had a very comfortable first period against our 2002's.  Although during period 2 and 3 TW Braga competed more and played much better football along with creating some positive chances.  Sunderland won the game 3-1.

It was a wonderful experience for all players and staff involved and one that will always be remembered.

Belfast Telegraph report on TW Braga 2002's winning league, August 2015

This is the story of Lisburn League youth side TW Braga. The TW stands for Tim Wareing, founder of the club and a football academy that offers coaching schemes for children, from toddlers to teenagers.

The Braga comes from the Portuguese team of the same name, with whom Belfast man Tim has formed a close bond after becoming friends with their assistant Academy director Hugo Vicente.

Meeting on a coaching course in Holland, the pair realised they shared the same ideas about how kids should be coached and why enjoyment and education is key.

Inspired by the conversations, 36-year-old Wareing decided to launch a new Belfast-based team.

TW Braga's tale began just two years ago in the Lisburn League at U12 level in the 2013-14 season. Finding their feet, in more ways than one, the boys finished fifth in their first campaign and reached the semi-final of the Foyle Cup tournament.

A promising start but things were to get a whole lot better in the season just past when the TW Braga kids (now U13) won the Lisburn League title.

Coming top of the class in just their second campaign was impressive enough, but doing it by playing an entertaining and open brand of football made it that bit more special for coach Wareing and the kids themselves.

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"It took a little time to get my messages across to the boys because the kids came from different backgrounds and different clubs with different ideas," admitted Tim.

"We wanted them to get on the ball and be creative rather than just get rid of it and as time went by, games that we were losing in the first year we would win. The team gained confidence from that and went from strength to strength. It was great to see them want to get on the ball and play good football. That was important to me."

Winning the title was the icing on the cake, but it's the other ingredients thrown in that make TW Braga's success such a tasty and compelling mix with Wareing keen to give the kids an insight into the professional game if they are good enough or have ambitions in the future of going that far.

He explained: "The kids train on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and also have the option to attend additional sessions and receive one-on-one coaching, helping them to develop a lot quicker and improve them technically and tactically. We also have classroom sessions which include match analysis on video.

"We like to strike a happy balance so we are not taking too much out of their lives and asking too much of parents, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out if you have more contact time with the kids, with good coaching they are going to become better players."

Wareing also wants the children to become more rounded individuals and to that end his backroom team includes a conditioning coach, education officer and pastoral carer and over the past 18 months the kids have been taught basic first aid, had a work shop on nutrition and even a talk on money matters from Ulster Bank.

In the future he intends to hold classes on internet safety plus awareness on alcohol and drugs. "For us, we have a slogan about creating better players and better people," said Tim, who is married with four children.

"Realistically there will only be a small percentage of kids that actually make it through to the professional game but if we can do things that will help them with their schooling and in work later in their lives, that is rewarding for everyone.

"I am a stickler for manners at the club. I want to see the kids with TW Braga behave in the right way.

"The environment is professional yet relaxed so the players can express themselves. On a Saturday we want kids to have the freedom of play and we encourage them to write down their thoughts and how they feel they could improve."

Irish League clubs have already come hunting for the Braga players, which is a compliment to what has been achieved at the club to date.

Wareing started his TW Sports Academy 10 years ago.

"In my eyes there was restricted youth development in this country and I felt passionately about doing something about it," he recalled.

Encouraged and financed by his dad to complete his coaching badges, Tim was just 24 by the time he had worked his way up to A License level.

For six years he coached the Under-18s and Academy players at Lisburn Distillery, when his 'mentor' Paul Kirk was manager of the Ballyskeagh.

While thrilled to be working with the kids, Wareing was frustrated by the lack of contact time with the players, believing while he was making progress he could make an even bigger impact with more training sessions.

And so he decided to fully focus on taking his own Academy to a different level.

The acorn that began with just himself coaching youngsters in the Cregagh area in Belfast is fast becoming a big oak tree. Now, aided by sponsors Subway, he operates province-wide, employs 30 other qualified coaches and his Academy coaches up to 600 children per week ranging from the age of two to 15.

The first to bring a 'Toddler Soccer programme' to Northern Ireland, he wrote a book about it which has sold in 30 countries and he is never afraid to post videos of training sessions on YouTube for the world to see.

The TW Academy continues to grow.

And the next step for TW Braga? His reply: "We are losing some players to other clubs which is a shame but it shows we're doing things right. It also represents a challenge to recruit new players and coach them so that they can fulfil their potential."

Happy 10th Birthday TW Sports, August 2015

What a mile stone to reach and celebrate 10 years of operating TW Sports!  Over this time we have coached thousands, upon thousands of children across Northern Ireland and beyond!  We have played our part in developing some very talented players as well as creating magical experiences for so many people.  But how did it all start?

Tim Wareing launched the first Summer Camp and weekly centre for TWSports.Org in Cregagh (Belfast, Northern Ireland), August 2005.

From humble beginnings of one centre and Tim coaching to now one of the biggest and most respected football coaching brands in Northern Ireland.  Today TWSports.Org operates over 40 weekly sessions, has a staff over over 25 talented people and operates clinics outside of Northern Ireland.  Tim has delivered clinics in Ireland, England, Scotland, Holland, Finland, USA and has published 3 books selling in over 30 different countries.

Cregagh will always remain special to Tim as not only was this the first centre for TW Sports but this is where the great George Best grew up playing football in this estate.  Tim also met his wife here as well!

Here's to many more happy years at TW Sports.  Happy Birthday and a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us and please continue to enjoy the journey with us!

Paul Scullion Holland Visit, March 2015

TW Braga 2002 player, Paul Scullion, was invited to Holland to visit PSV Eindhoven and train with FC Eindhoven.

TW Braga Academy Director, Tim Wareing, Paul and his father travelled to Holland for a wonderful experience.  The bus transfer from Belfast to Dublin took them to the next leg of the journey flying from Dublin to Eindhoven.

During the 5 day visit Paul visited PSV Eindhoven and watched the first team and youth teams train at De Herdgang, met with the manager, Phillip Cocu and see the first team play at the Philips Stadium.  We also enjoyed a stadium tour.  The icing on the cake was a visit to the Amsterdam ArenA to see the National Team play Turkey.

The main excitement for Paul, from the playing side, was getting to train with FC Eindhoven.  They have close links with PSV and have a vibrant youth set up.  Paul performed excellent in the training and mixed well with the players.  He also enjoyed training with OJC Rosmalen.

We couldn't have been welcomed more by the clubs, coaches and players.  Paul performed so well and deserved a magical experience after his consistent top performances at home with TW Braga.

TW Braga Presentation to Villa FC in Waterford, March 2015

TW Braga Academy Director, Tim Wareing, delivered a presentation and clinic to Waterford side, Villa FC.

The southern Irish club were interested to hear how TW Braga operates their youth development program throughout Northern Ireland. 

Tim delivered a classroom presentation to all their coaches before providing a practical session with their under 15's. The evening concluded with a Q&A session.

Holland Club Visits, December 2014

Tim Wareing and 3 of his staff visited Holland to see around Ajax and PSV Eindhoven.

At Ajax they were fortunate to meet with Eddie van Schiak who offered a wonderful overview about the Ajax youth set up. A full tour of the academy complex and Amsterdam ArenA followed before taking in Ajax Champions League game.

The group then transferred to Eindhoven for the club visit to PSV Eindhoven. It was wonderful to watch sessions from first team to youth teams.

The highlight of the trip was meeting Dutch superstar, Marco van Basten.


American Talent Hassan comes to Belfast and Returns Home a Champion, August 2014

Hassan Ayari travelled from New York a number of years ago with his family to attend a TW Sports Easter Camp and Benfica Clinic operated by Hugo Vicente.  What an amazing journey that a few years later Hugo moved to SC Braga in Portugal.  We then set up an exciting project with them and Hassan would return to play for us!

August 2014 Hassan and his father arrived from New York in a very exciting transfer switch.  Hassan's father remained the first 2 weeks to ensure he settled with his host family.  He also got to watch him train with his new team and play the opening games with TW Braga.

It proved to be a wonderful experience.  One that would finish with Hassan playing an important role in helping TW Braga win the league.  He also enjoyed a terrific experience representing TW Braga against Newcastle United and Sunderland.  Hassan scored against Sunderland as well.

During Tim Wareing's 20 years coaching Hassan is one of the stand out talents he has ever worked with.  Here is the video Braga made for his arrival.

Tim Wareing Delivers Clinic in Hobbs (NM) USA, June 2014, June 2015 and July 2016

UEFA A Licence Coach, Tim Wareing, accepted an invitation to operate an elite coaching clinic with EST in Hobbs (NM), USA.

The relationship has developed seeing TW Sports return on a yearly basis to work with EST and their talented players.

Each year there is three groups that Tim and another qualified coach from TW Sports will work with ranging from the age of 7 to 18.

The 5 day clinic is also a talent ID for Tim to select 4 children to travel to Northern Ireland to guest for TW Braga. They experience playing and training football in Europe.

In 2016 the clinic took place in the impressive indoor arena at Lea County Event Center and attracted talents from Maryland (MD).

Ajax Clinic, March 2014

Tim Wareing enjoyed 2 clinics operated by Ajax in Belfast.

Rene Stam operated the first clinic then Eddie van Schiak operated the second clinic. The clinics offered a terrific insight into one of the most successful Dutch sides. 

It involved classroom presentations and practical sessions. 

TW Braga visit West Brom, March 2014

TW Braga visited West Brom and had an action packed weekend.

The highlight was seeing the EPL game of West Brom v Manchester United at The Hawthorns. The boys also enjoyed a stadium tour and training session at the Academy Dome.

During the weekend the boys also enjoyed playing a local team a friendly.

Dan Abrahams Clinic, November 2013

Dan Abrahams is a global sport psychologist with some of the leading turnarounds in Premiership history and a global bestselling book.

Dan is a former professional golfer and coach turned sport psychologist specialising in 2 sports; golf and football.  In golf he is lead psychologist for England Golf.

In football he is a leader in the field.

He has delivered to more than a dozen league clubs, to the English Football Association, the British Professional Footballers' Association, the English League Managers Association, the League Football Education, the Scottish FA and the League Football Trust.  He has held contracts at several Premiership clubs and is sought after by managers across Europe. He has spoken at some of the world's leading football conferences and has appeared on numerous radio and television segments providing expert comment, and was a studio guest on The Footballers' Football Show in December 2012. 

Dan is most well known for his work in helping several players turn around their careers.  For example, he helped Carlton Cole go from forgotten reserve team player to England international in just 18 months. He also helped Anthony Stokes go from just 4 goals in a season and a half to 6 goals in a month, 23 goals in a season and a million pound move to Celtic.

His books have achieved global bestsellers, with his first book, Soccer Tough, currently the leading selling soccer coaching book in America.

His passion is to de-mystify football psychology for footballers at every level of the game.  His workshops are fun, positive, upbeat and help all footballers develop their mindsets no matter their ability.

The Day

12-1pm - TW Braga U12's with Parents

A fun and interactive workshop that gives young footballers and their parents very simple ideas to help build confidence and self-belief, improve focus and train better.

1.30-4.30pm - Coaches Workshop

A workshop packed full of ideas, techniques, philosophies and strategies to coach more effectively and help young players develop quicker and perform more consistently.  Drawing from his two books, Soccer Tough and Soccer Brain, Dan will be sharing with coaches his thoughts on developing high performing coaching cultures and on simple ways to help players develop their mental game.  Features include;

The 4c's - developing your coaching cultures - creativity, confidence, commitment and cohesion.

Developing player self-belief.

Helping players build a mental structure for matchday.

Improving mindset in training and introducing deliberate practice to your players.

TW Braga Launched, June 2013

Tim Wareing met with his good friend Hugo Vicente who was the assistant Academy Director at Portuguese professional side, SC Braga.  It was on the back of that conversation that something very exciting would be launched in Northern Ireland!  We now see how TW Braga has developed inside it's first 18 months.

TW Braga kicked off last season in the Lisburn League.  After only forming in the middle of June 2013 they were ready to kick off at the start of the 2013/2014 season in the Lisburn League at U12 level.  They would finish the season in the top 5 and go on to finish 3rd in the Foyle Cup...a disallowed goal and narrow 1-0 defeat in the semi against Co. Cavan and Monaghan only kept them from the final!  They would be respected by the brand of football they would play.

This week is very exciting as not only do they sit 2 points off the top of the table (now U13) but have reached the semi final of the shield.  They play Lisburn Youth this Saturday.  They have also progressed to the next round of the NIBFA Cup after putting out last years runners up, Loughgall.

What is different at Braga that is not present in many other clubs?  The main thing Academy Director and UEFA A Licence coach, Tim Wareing, wanted to tackle was the contact time.  The 2002's will train Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday and play Saturday.  The players also have the option to attend additional sessions throughout the TW program.  Many of the players also receive 1-on-1 coaching and small group coaching.  This additional contact time is developing them a lot quicker and improving them technically and tactically.

Tim also has built a team of experts around him to support his players & parents.  This includes a conditioning coach, keeper coach, education officer, pastoral carer & of course all coaches are hand picked to insure they are most suitable for each age group.

The environment is professional but relaxed so the players can express themselves.  They learn during the week within the sessions & on a Thursday a class room session that includes match analysis.  So come a Saturday they have the freedom to play.

TW Braga also focus on life skills.  Over the past 18 months the children have been taught basic first aid, had a work shop on nutrition and a talk on Money Matters from the Ulster Bank.  Future life skills will include web safety and awareness on drink and drugs.

The club would not be as successful it it wasn't for the ongoing support from its sponsors SUBWAY.  Likewise the dedication and support they receive from the parents and players.  The icing on the cake come from a top team of coaches and staff.

Currently TW Braga have teams for 2001-2010 children.  If you would like more information or request a trial contact Tim on; 07740120788 or by email.

Leamington Spa Coaching Event, June 2013

Tim Wareing accepted an invitation to show case and deliver a clinic on his 1-on-1 Coaching program at the BCD Coaching Event in Leamington Spa.

Tim delivered to 100 coaches working with a talent showing his methods that he uses with his own students in Northern Ireland. It linked in nice with promoting his 1-on-1 Coaching book. The supplies he brought that day sold out.

During the lunch time period Tim worked with the talent in the photograph who travelled down to book a session with Tim.

Real Madrid and SC Braga Club Visits, November 2012

Tim Wareing travelled to Portugal to visit SC Braga. Tim enjoyed watching a number of training sessions from all age groups. 

The highlight of the trip was watching SC Braga play Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League!

On Tim's return home he stopped off in Madrid to visit Real Madrid.

Graham Taylor Clinic, September 2012

It was terrific to meet and listen to ex England Manager, Graham Taylor.

This was the third occasion I have met with him. The first time was on one of my UEFA courses. 

I always found him to be the complete gentleman. Always providing his time and experience to assist us on our coaching journey.

Premier League Academy Clinic, August 2012

TWSports.Org hosted a Premier League Academy Coaching Clinic at Belfast Boys’ Model School.  The clinic was operated by a top Academy coach who flew into Belfast to deliver a coaching clinic for all players and coaches.  A number of local players and coaches attended the clinic which provided 5 credits towards CPD for coaches.  Below we share with you the presentation and include videos from some of the sessions delivered during the day.

You can view some of the session by viewing the following videos (click on each link)

UTV Live and Sky TV interviews, July 2012

Tim Wareing enjoyed offering interviews to both UTV Live and Sky News based on his business, TWSports.Org.

Valencia Coaching Clinic, June 2012

The Spanish philosophy and training methods are high in demand with them being current World Cup and European Championship winners.  Along with the success of fellow club sides Real Madrid and Barcelona.  Valencia visited Belfast to operate clinics for local children and coaches.  TW Sports hosted an event in conjunction with organisers Saffron Sport.  Below you can read about the clinic along with some background about this famous Spanish club.

Valencia

Although Valencia deserve the credit as much as Barca and Real.  They play in La Liga and are one of the most successful and biggest clubs in Spanish football and European football.  Valencia have won six La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey trophies, two Fairs Cups (which was the predecessor to the UEFA Cup), one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and two UEFA Super Cups. They have also reached two UEFA Champions League finals in a row, losing to La Liga rivals Real Madrid in 2000 and then to German club Bayern Munich on penalties after a 1–1 draw in 2001.  Valencia were also members of the G-14 group of leading European football clubs.  In total, Valencia have reached seven major European finals, winning four of them.

In the all-time La Liga table, Valencia is in third position behind FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.  In terms of continental titles, Valencia is again the third-most successful behind the two, with these three being the only Spanish clubs to have won five or more continental trophies.

Valencia were founded in 1919 and have played their home games at the 55,000-seater Mestalla since 1923.  They are due to move into the new 75,000-seater Nou Mestalla in the north-west of the city in 2013.  Valencia have a long-standing rivalry with Levante UD, also located in the City of Valencia, and with two others club in the Valencian Community region, Hercules CF and Villarreal CF.

Valencia are the third most supported football club in Spain, behind only Barcelona and Real Madrid.  It is also one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of number of associates (registered paying supporters), with more than 50,000 season ticket holders and another 20,000+ season ticket holders on the waiting list, who can be accommodated in the new 75,000-seater stadium.

Session Plan

Registration for players and coaches took place from 9.30-10am.  The Valencia coaches, Jose and Manel, arrived early to set up.  Over 30 local children and coaches attended the event.  Many from my Academy attended along with some of my coaching team.  It was nice to see many other children from our Mini Soccer programme come along with children from other local grassroots and Irish League sides.  As always Northern Ireland mentality means so many other children and coaches don't bother to attend an excellent opportunity like this!  Was great to see a coach travel up from down south to attend the clinic too.

After a light warm up and fun game of tig in the 18 yard box they then divided the players to operate keep ball.  This took place in a series of small 5 x 5 yard areas playing 4 v 1.  The duration of the warm up and introduction was approximately 35 minutes before stopping for water.  After this Jose and Manel split the groups.  They worked with 14 children in each group.  

Pressing and Come Back

Jose used an i-pad to explain the session and draw out the session plan using a football pitch app.  The players embraced the new technology and way of explaining.  We would see them refer back and use the i-pad on a regular basis to get across explanations to the players throughout the day.  The session took place on half a pitch with full size goals.  The pitch was divided in half and goalkeepers were used.  The basic set up was 3 defenders in one half with 3 attackers in the other half.

One team had to always keep their defenders in that half while the other team had freedom for the defenders to join in with the attackers.  The scenario Jose was trying to create was a tight game whereby one team was winning 1-0 and wanted to keep it tight while the other team were chasing the game.  This was a nice session and you could see the players looking to press as a unit. 

Jose would add different restrictions to challenge the players.  The session operated for 30 minutes before players stopped for water and swapped groups.  We then followed the same group to see Manel's session.

Shifting

Manel worked on half a pitch with 2 full size goals and quartered the pitch.  He was concentrating on 'shifting'.  He used the i-pad to help explain to the players what he wanted.  Players were not allowed to tackle, only intercept.  The team out of possession was encouraged to pressure ball while the team in possession started with 3 touch play.  The main concept was when the ball was lost players were told to drop back and shift in relation to the ball.

This was a nice game that developed players understanding of their role when not in possession of the ball.  The Spanish teams don't get enough credit for their hard work and pressing to win the ball back.  This session offered an opportunity to the players to see how disciplined the Spanish are in relation to what each players role is when not in possession of the ball.

FIFA Street

The session took us up to lunch at 11.45am.  The players were given an hour to eat and rest.  After lunch Jose and Manel selected 4 teams to play 'Fifa Street'.  This offered players freedom to play.  They didn't shout or tell them how to play the players were simply given control and freedom of their games.  The only rules were maximum of 2 minute matches or goal the winner.  Winning team stayed on or if it was a draw both teams replaced.  The only other requirement was to make a pass before scoring in the other half.  They used the 18 yard box as the pitch and 5 aside goals.

This was probably the only bit I didn't like in terms that 2 teams were always off and 'ineffective'.  I would personally prefer to have all teams involved.  Although thinking about it and putting myself into their shoes in Valencia it is very hot and they want teams to receive recovery so I guess this is why they did it.  From my time in Holland and Portugal the European approach is that they like players to watch players.  They feel it offers opportunities to learn and if a player likes a move that a team mate tries they are more likely try to replicate it with possible variations.

From the small sided games they then operated a circle drill.  3 players were in the middle trying to gain possession of the ball while the outside players had to make 10 passes with a restriction to 1 or 2 touches.  They rotated players in the middle every 30 seconds.  This led us into the final part of the session for the day.

Space Management

Jose took the final session of the day based on space management.  On half a pitch with 2 full size goals he set up 5 different coloured boxes.  He had one in every corner with a central box.  The main objective was to pass into 2 boxes then play off central box before scoring.

This encouraged players to look for space and use width.  Jose would also at times call out certain colours if he wanted to dictate play more.  The players worked hard at this and I really liked the session as it focused on players finding space and good ball retention.

You can watch some footage I recorded of Jose & Manel working with the group by clicking here.

Interview

After the session I had an opportunity to interview Jose and Manel.  We spoke about youth development in Spain and Valencia's philosophy as well as covering touch line behaviour comparisons and on training methods.  You can watch the interview here.

Review

I'm passionate about sharing ideas and continuing my education in football.  What a treat to spend a day with Valencia and I can't thank Jose and Manel enough for their time and insight.  

They coached within the game and only in snippets.  This got players thinking for themselves.  Coaching really isn't a case of screaming all the time and telling players what to do.  Let players search for the solution themselves and you'll notice a real difference long term.

TW Sports Tour To West Bromwich Albion, May 2012

The club is also known as West Brom, The Baggies, The Throstles, Albion or WBA.  They are an English professional football club based in West Bromwich in the West Midlands.  The club was formed in 1878 & have played at their home ground since 1900.

Albion were one of the founding members of The Football League in 1888 and have spent the majority of their existence in the top tier of English football.  They have been champions of England once, in 1919–20, but have had more success in the FA Cup, with five wins.  The first came in 1888, the year the league was founded, and the most recent in 1968, their last major trophy.  They also won the Football League Cup at the first attempt in 1966.  The club’s longest consecutive period in the top division was between 1949 to 1973, and from 1986 to 2002 they spent their longest ever period out of the top division.  The 2011–12 season is their sixth season in the Premier League since 2002.

The team has played in blue and white stripes for most of the club’s history.  Albion have a number of long-standing rivalries with other Midlands clubs; their traditional rivals have always been Aston Villa, but more recently their major rivalry has been with Wolverhampton Wanderers, with whom they contest the Black Country derby.

The Hawthorns

The speed with which the club became established following its foundation is illustrated by the fact that it outgrew four successive grounds in its first seven years.  The first was Cooper’s Hill, where they played from 1878 to 1879.  From 1879 to 1881 they appear to have alternated between Cooper’s Hill and Dartmouth Park.  During the 1881–82 season they played at Bunn’s Field, also known as The Birches.  This had a capacity of between 1,500 & 2,000, and was Albion’s first enclosed ground, allowing the club to charge an entrance fee for the first time.  From 1882 to 1885, as the popularity of football increased, Albion rented the Four Acres ground from the well-established West Bromwich Dartmouth Cricket Club.  But they quickly outgrew this new home and soon needed to move again.  From 1885 to 1900 Albion played at Stoney Lane; their tenure of this ground was arguably the most successful period in the club’s history, as they won the FA Cup twice and were runners-up three times.

By 1900, when the lease on Stoney Lane expired, the club needed a bigger ground yet again and so made its last move to date.  All of Albion’s previous grounds had been close to the centre of West Bromwich, but on this occasion they took up a site on the town’s border with Handsworth.  The new ground was named The Hawthorns, after the hawthorn bushes that covered the area and were cleared to make way for it.  Albion drew 1–1 with Derby County in the first match at the stadium, on 3 September 1900.  The record attendance at The Hawthorns was on 6 March 1937, when 64,815 spectators saw Albion beat Arsenal 3–1 in the FA Cup quarter-final.  The Hawthorns became an all-seater stadium in the 1990s, in order to comply with the recommendations of the Taylor Report.  Its capacity today is 26,272, the four stands being known respectively as the Birmingham Road End, Smethwick End, East Stand and West Stand.  At an altitude of 551 feet (168 m) above sea level, The Hawthorns is the highest of all the 92 Premier League and Football League grounds.

Club Badge

Albion’s main club badge dates back to the late 1880s, when the club’s secretary Tom Smith suggested that a throstle sitting on a crossbar be adopted for the badge.  Since then, the club badge has always featured a throstle, usually on a blue and white striped shield, although the crossbar was replaced with a hawthorn branch at some point after the club’s move to The Hawthorns.  The throstle was chosen because the public house in which the team used to change kept a pet thrush in a cage.  It also gave rise to Albion’s early nickname, The Throstles.  As late as the 1930s, a caged throstle was placed beside the touchline during matches and it was said that it only used to sing if Albion were winning.  In 1979 an effigy of a throstle was erected above the half-time scoreboard of the Woodman corner at The Hawthorns, and was returned to the same area of the ground following redevelopment in the early 2000's.

The badge has been subject to various revisions through the years, meaning that the club were unable to register it as a trademark.  As a result of this, the badge was re-designed in 2006, incorporating the name of the club for the first time.  The new badge gave Albion the legal protection they sought.

Saturday night friendly in the Academy Dome

The success of the Academy teams reaching finals meant our scheduled game against West Brom had to be cancelled.  Although through the special effort of Rich he managed to organise a game against his own team that finished the season as league runners up and cup winners.  Another bonus was he secured the Academy Dome to play the game in!

What an experience for our boys to play in a Premier League Academy facility.  It was also great to have the Academy Dome, Foundation and The Hawthorn Stadium all in the one location.  This was something I liked at Stoke City and previous visits to the likes of European giants, Barcelona and Ajax.  I think it adds as an extra motivation to really make it as a kid developing through the ranks when you see the stadium every day from where you train.

We played 3 periods of 25 minutes.  The first period was very close with both teams playing some attractive football.  A well taken goal from young Ryan McCrory put TW Sports 1-0 up.  His finish was a quality lob over the keeper.  The second period seen another 2 well taken goals from TW Sports through Reece and Curtis Ritchie making it 3-0.

It was also encouraging seeing Rich, like ourselves, ensuring that all players were involved and received similar playing times.  The changes that were made seen TW slightly stronger in the third period with John-Lee grabbing a hat trick, Connor Maxwell getting on the score sheet along with Ryan McCrory adding to his tally.

It was a game played in terrific spirits and I was very impressed with the organisation.  Not only did Rich organise the Academy Dome and referee but supplied us with equipment to warm up along with plenty of water and cups for the players.  Although to have a physio present was crucial after Andy McIvor had a bad fall and needed extensive treatment.  It was reassuring that he could be checked over by her.  Again these are all things that people take for granted, but believe me, I know how much planning and organising that has to go in to bring it all together and I can’t thank Rich enough!

Here is some highlights from the game – watch the video!

Match Day Experience

What terrific value West Brom offered us.  For only £25 we received a match ticket to see West Brom play Arsenal, a stadium tour, fun training session and small sided games in the Academy Dome along with a packed lunch!

After a cooked breakfast in our hotel we enjoyed the short stroll over to the Hawthorns to meet Rich.  He welcomed us and placed all our bags securely away in an office so we didn’t have to worry about carrying them all day.  We started the morning with a tour around the Hawthorns.  The highlight was to get pitch side and sit on the bench!  Rich was very informative but ensured he kept interesting for parents and children.  After the tour we had an opportunity to see around the club shop and purchase some West Brom goodies!

We then transferred back over to the Academy Dome.  Rich took the boys for a fun warm up and kept it very light after the game from the previous night.  He then soon divided the boys and operated small sided games.  We then seen first hand to what level the club works in the community.  The Dome was packed with other clubs and teams doing the same package.  Not forgetting that they had to be split, so while we were all playing football there was another group doing the stadium tour…there must have been several hundred children on the match day experience!  We were even treated to a display of talent from Connor’s dad – watch the video!

After the session we all received a packed lunch.  This included a sandwich, drink, piece of fruit, chocolate bar and crisps.  We were able to eat this before taking our seats for the game.  What great seats we received as well!  We were in the third row & touching distance of the players.  It really was a special atmosphere as it was the final day of the season and many West Brom supporters came in fancy dress (Batman and Robin ensured we got across the road safely and into the stadium!)

West Brom wanted to finish on a victory as Roy Hodgson was leaving for his new role as England Manager, while Arsenal needed the victory to guarantee Champions League football next season.

It was a terrific start to the game.  After an early mistake by the West Brom keeper Arsenal went 1-0 up.  Then the Baggies fought back to go 2-1 up!  The atmosphere was electric!  Arsenal equalised before half time making the score 2-2.  It really was an unbelievable half of football and such a treat to see these Premiership stars live and be so close to the action.

The second half started well and Arsenal went 3-2 up.  After a lengthy stoppage West Brom offered everything going forward and forced what seemed to be 5 or 6 corners in a row but couldn’t find that equaliser.  We had to sneak away just before the final whistle so that Rich could grab our bags for us and we transferred back to the airport for our return flight to Belfast.

We captured highlights from a special day at the Hawthorns – watch the video!

On returning to the Academy Dome to collect our bags we bumped into Baggies hero, Darren Moore, who signed autographs and was happy to have his photo taken with us all.

Clubs don’t receive enough credit for opportunities like these.  People sometimes take things for granted but to receive what we did for such a low price is special.  To head to an Irish League game can cost in the region of £10-£12 per adult and £5-£7 per child.  To think what West Brom offered us for only £25 really does show you the lengths they work too.

SC Braga Visit TW Sports, April 2012

We were pleased to welcome Portuguese side, SC Braga, to Belfast over the Easter period.  My good friend and Braga’s Assistant Academy Director, Hugo Vicente, travelled with his U13 side.  They were taking part in a tournament in Dublin.  We organised for them to travel up to see Belfast and play TW Sports.

Belfast Welcome

We organised a coach to transfer the players, staff and parents of SC Braga from their Dublin base to Belfast.  Chris Lyttle, MLA, from the Alliance Party organised a tour around the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont.  This is were the Good Friday Agreement was signed.  The players and coaches enjoyed the tour and were able to get some great photos.

It was also superb to welcome a good ‘Twitter’ friend of mine called Liam.  He flew in from England to enjoy the full day…showing a real hunger to learn and develop as a coach!

After the tour it was back on to the Braga coach and transfer to Belfast Boys’ Model School to play the challenge game at the fantastic venue of Mount Pleasant on the 3G pitch.

Braga playing in their famous red tops while TW Sports turned out in their bright orange tops like the Dutch!  It was a very well contested game of football.  The technical ability from both sets of players on show was impressive.  TW Sports started well and were very disciplined and played some attractive football.

Very secure at the back with Matthew and Jamie having excellent games in front protecting the back 4 it allowed freedom for the attacking players to try and create opportunities.  It was Curtis Ritchie who controlled the ball toward the end of the first period and beat the Braga defender.  Stephen Wilson then made a great run from the right and when Ritchie weighted the perfect ball Wilson made no mistake with the finish.  What a goal it was going in off the underside of the crossbar!  TW Sports 1-0 SC Braga.

The second period was much more even.  Braga started creating more opportunities.  It was a pass that was made for the Braga forward that the defenders thought was off side but he didn’t stop and put the ball in the back of the net to equalise, 1-1.

Both teams in the last period defended well.  The central defenders of TW, Nathan Kerr and Louis Simpson, made it difficult for Braga to break them down.  The final score was 1-1.  The parents & supporters enjoyed a very entertaining game.  What an experience for our boys, and myself, to prepare and play against a top European Academy!  It was evident how developed the Braga players were and how comfortable they all are on the ball.  It was a nice test for us.

Hugo Vicente, Assistant Academy Director of Braga, commented; ‘I was very impressed with your team considering this was your first game together with a new squad and you only have access to the players once a week.  That is a testament to the work you carry out.  Imagine what you could achieve if you had them 3-4 times per week what you could achieve!’

Watch the match highlights by clicking here!

Player and Coaches Clinic

After the game the boys from both teams transferred to Belfast Boys’ Model School for refreshments before they returned to Dublin.  We supplied all the players with a goodie bag thanks to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.  I also included a copy of my ’1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players – GUARANTEED!’ book for each of the players.

Our players remained with a number of coaches for the player development and coaches clinic.  Nigel Best from the Irish Football Association was pleased to award 5 credits for coaches CPD.  Hugo Vicente led the clinic assisted by the Braga Director of Goalkeeping, Ricardo.

Below is the report of the clinic…

Aims

  • Develop players with initiative and top technical ability
  • Develop players’ able understanding, analyse and decide with quality in the game. – (Game based training helps develop intelligent players so they always include defenders)
  • Develop players with the right mentality and ambition to reach the 1st team and to play at top level football
  • Be a Community Partner (i.e. help them with school work, social lives etc.)


What they want to develop

  • Develop players through a clear vision
  • Create players in a team context and not teams (focus on individuals)
  • Specific contents for each age group, to develop the player in each dimension; Technical, Tactical, Mental and Physical
  • Creating a demanding environment but fun environment and ensuring the sessions are age appropriate (We need to put ourselves in the players place – what do they want?)

Main focus is on individual development – play players up if required. They are willing to lose to win in a few years’ time when it matters.

They believe when working with children it is essential to show you care.  Then they will be willing to learn – BE THEIR FRIEND!

  • Focus on technical ability
  • Focus on speed
  • Focus on aggressiveness
  • FORGET ABOUT SIZE

The club also do one on one training with each player every week to improve these areas.

When the teams are playing the coaches limit the players when they don’t have the ball but not when they have the ball.

At the club they strongly believe in having a club vision.  Therefore, they promote coaches after training to sit together and discuss the vision and develop ideas on how to achieve the clubs aims.

Specific Contents

Technique

  • Dribbling
  • Protect the ball
  • Moves
  • Shooting
  • Receiving and Control
  • Short Pass
  • Long Pass and Crosses
  • Heading
  • Other Behaviours

Defensive Techniques

  • Closing Down
  • Tackling
  • Charging


Under 9’s Syllabus

  • Technical development is top priority
  • Usage of weaker foot – condition games
  • Rules of the game
  • Basic tasks on different phases of the game
  • Learning the game principles
  • Learning the specific playing principles of the club: Focus on progression and closing down
  • Same percentage of playing time for each player
  • Players play in every position
  • 7v7 at this age group


Under 13’s

  • Technical development
  • Weaker foot
  • Pre specialisation: Players play in two or three positions according to their characteristics
  • Specific game principles based on the way we play
  • Percentage of usage time is merit based: According to the balance between quality and commitment
  • Control the game – don’t lose the ball

(Results are important as the games are reported in the papers).


Session Model

1st Phase – They do not believe in warm ups. Therefore they will play games such as tag.

2nd Phase – 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, 3v1

3rd Phase – 4v2, 4v3, 4v4, 5v2, 5v3, 5v4, 6v3, 6v4

4th Phase – 6v4, 7v5, 7v6

Final Phase – 7v7 with no coach intervention

Liam filmed some of the sessions in the clinic…the links are below;

Braga Clinic – Part 1

Braga Clinic – Part 2

Braga Clinic – Part 3


The European Approach

After the clinic Hugo and Ricardo took the time to speak with coaches.  This is typical of the European approach.  They don’t look at their watch or think I’m not being paid for this!  Remember they had departed Dublin at 7.30am and were still talking to coaches well after 9pm!  We got cleared up and drove them to Dublin.  Again many people would think that they don’t want to drive to Dublin at that time as they wouldn’t be home to after 2am…take 4 hours…spend money on petrol.  For me?  Easy decision, I jump at it.  Not just because Hugo is a great friend of mine and puts himself out for me when I visit him but I never stop learning.  In a car for a couple of hours with top European coaches develops me as well!

Can we change a culture here?  Let’s stop looking at our watches & thinking what’s the point…let us think can we develop and continue learning as coaches?  If it is the latter join me on my journey…

Thank you…

Massive thank you to SC Braga, Hugo, Ricardo, it’s coaching team, players and parents for offering us such a wonderful opportunity to play against them.  Thank you to my players and parents for supporting the event.  Massive thank you for the coaches that attended – especially Liam from England! 

Dublin Tournament

For those interested in watching some footage from the Dublin tournament that Braga took part in I have included links below.  They defeated Brondby from Denmark 6-0 to help progress to the semi finals.  They faced a very talented Arsenal side.  Enjoy!

SC Braga v West Brom

SC Braga v Arsenal (Part 1)

SC Braga v Arsenal (Part 2)

Stoke City FC Club Visit, April 2012

I had the pleasure to travel over to Stoke City FC with 3 boys from our elite squad.  This was a terrific experience for the boys to see a Premier League club and its academy set up.  Their U10 coach, Will Ryder, hosted us during our stay and I must say what a positive experience we all had.

Belfast Departure

We all met at Belfast International Airport for the 7am departure to Manchester.  A nice early start that had Ryan, Stephen and Tom all kitted out in their black TW Sports tracksuit along with white polo.  They all said goodbye to their parents and I became their surrogate father for the next 4 days.  We got straight through security and boarded the plane.  We enjoyed a pleasant flight over to Manchester on a lovely morning.  We used the time to chat about the experience telling them to be focused but to truly enjoy the experience.

The Stoke U10 Academy Manager, Will, arrived to collect us at Manchester and transfer us to his home in Stoke.  It was an enjoyable journey that offered an opportunity to get to know Will.  Straight away I found him to be very professional but with a warm personality that put the boys at ease.  It’s funny as over the years I sometimes would meet very stuffy coaches who seem to be above themselves and I wonder how they can relate to kids.  To meet a guy from a top premiership club that had such a welcoming and down to earth attitude was refreshing.  

Arrival and Small Group Session

We got settled in to his house and had a drink before preparing to go out for a morning small group session with Will.  The session took place on grass outside the Academy Dome which incidentally is just across from the Britannia Stadium.  What a back drop to have while you train!  It was a great opportunity to watch another coach work with a small group.  As many of you know it is something I work on a daily basis with – 1-on-1 coaching and small group coaching.

The boys had a terrific time concentrating on ball familiarisation, Speed, Agility and Quickness (SAQ), passing & then into finishing.  I filmed highlights from the session and you can see Will and the boys work by clicking here.  This is something I do until the cows come home.  You can never do enough ball work!  Will also had one of his academy development players arrive in to take the group up to 4.

When you watch the video you will see that Will has a great way with working with players.  I believe we share similar philosophies.  It is refreshing to see a coach work heavily on technique through demonstration, snippets of guidance and always positive encouragement.

First Team Training Complex and the Academy

After the session the boys got to see the Academy indoor 3G Dome and parents lounge.  We then transferred over to the first team training ground.  Will’s U10 team had a friendly against the only team that Stoke have an official link with.  They were over from Orlando.

It was terrific to see around the first team complex and to see one of the academy teams in action.  At this age group they played on a smaller pitch with smaller nets.  On all occasions the keeper looked to pass the ball out and play from the back.  The defenders were comfortable on the ball and we witnessed some lovely passages of play and individual skill.  The players looked to take players on and the coaches only added encouragement and short snippets of advice to the players.

The weather decided to put on a performance as well and wanted to make sure every condition got a game!  We had warm sunshine, cloud, rain to a heavy downpour of hail stones!

I captured highlights from the game and the Stoke City first team training complex and you can watch the highlights by clicking here.  All the pitches were immaculate and their was a mix of a couple of full sized pitches for the first team, the reserve team pitch, academy pitches full size and a number of marked out smaller sized pitches.  There was also a full size 3G pitch.

The complex was over two levels.  On ground level there was reception, changing rooms, gym and a rehab room complete with mini pool.  On the first floor there was offices, including the first team manager Tony Pulis’ office!  The canteen was also situated on this level.  Many may remember big Peter Crouch walking across this area on Sky Sports transfer deadline day!

We had our photo taken in here beside the Stoke City badge.  What was also present on all the walls was photos from the current stars of the first team to famous older players from yesteryear.  This included Gordon Banks and ‘the dribbler’, Sir Stanley Matthews!

I was very impressed with the facilities and the welcome we received.  There was always a smile and hello from coaches, players, staff or parents.  The boys loved the experience!  Not a bad first day to train, watch a game and be shown around the first team training complex!

The Britannia Stadium

The Britannia Stadium is an all-seater that can accommodate 27,598 spectators (reduced from 28,384 due to segregation.)  The name is taken from the sponsors of the Stadium the Britannia Co-operative Bank.  Along with hosting football matches, the stadium has played host to performers such as Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams and Elton John.  The ground also holds conference and banqueting suites, the Delilah’s Bar, and a club shop selling Stoke City merchandise.

The highest attendance being recorded at the stadium was 28,218 for the sell-out fixture against Everton in their FA Cup 3rd Round tie in 2002.  The first goal in the stadium was scored by Graham Kavanaghfor Stoke in a league cup game against Rochdale.  The club had played at the Victoria Ground until 1997.  Club legend Sir Stanley Matthews ashes were buried beneath the centre circle of the pitch following his death in February 2000; he had officially opened the stadium on 30 August 1997.

The Stoke City fans were awarded with the loudest supporters in the Premier League last season!  We were shown the executive boxes before being taken down to the changing rooms.   We then walked down the tunnel and out on to the pitch.  We got some great photos and memories that we’ll never forget.  Those that clicked on the above video link will also see the stadium tour after the academy game and first team training complex.

Before leaving the stadium we made sure we grabbed some Stoke City training gear and were all kitted out!

Stoke City Development Game

After returning home to eat and relax we prepared for a game that night.  The boys would feature for Stoke City’s Leicester Development squad playing against Stoke City Development squad.  This is the stepping stone to being selected for the academy.

The match was played at a local club called the Stoke Domino’s.  They have a fantastic set up that reminded me of a typical Dutch grassroots / semi pro club.  While the boys got ready I grabbed a coffee in the club house and had a walk around the facility.  I met with a parent whose son had travelled over from Asia.  He played in the academy game the previous day.  It was fascinating speaking to them and hearing about their experiences back home.  He was a talent.

The game was played on a smaller pitch with reduced size nets.  The pitch size was perfect for a 9v9 game.  The coaches on the night decided to play 11v11.  Personally I thought it was too tight a pitch but on a positive it meant that Ryan, Stephen and Tom all got full games.  They played 4 periods which allowed the coaches time to speak and organise the players.

The boys played in the Leicester Stoke Development side and played some great football.  They were very unlucky not to score with Tom going close while a team mate hit the post.  It was in the second period that Stoke City went 1-0 up.  During the third period the boys did excellent.  First of all Ryan came up with a terrific bit of individual play by flicking the ball up and over the Stoke defender before sending a looping shot over the keeper to equalise!  We captured the goal on camera.  Although no sooner had kick off taken place that Tom picked the ball up and sent a thunder bolt into the roof of the net to put the Leicester Stoke side up 2-1!

This was great personal achievement by the boys as Ryan and Tom had scored at Stoke while Stephen grabbed the goal against Braga before flying out!  Disappointingly I missed Tom’s goal on the camera.

The third period seen Stoke Development equalise at 2-2 and that would be how the scores remained.  Was made up for the boys to play in the Stoke top and have such a memorable experience!  Watch the match highlights here!

Indoor Tournament

On Friday there was a meeting for all academy staff based on the new EPPP coming in so it changed the schedule of the day.  The boys enjoyed playing an indoor tournament in the Stoke City Academy 3G Dome.  The bonus was it included a lot of players from the actual academy so the standard was very high.  It was non stop action and I enjoyed watching the game before having a walk around the facility and the local area which was beside the stadium.

I really do like the idea of clubs having their training bases close to their stadium…what motivation must it offer players – especially young ones.  Barcelona and Ajax are two great examples of this.

As Will attended the meeting that night it offered us some down time in the house to reflect on the experience.  I think I was buzzing as much as the boys!  To see the various training sites, stadium and for the boys to be involved in training and games…along with grabbing a goal each!  These experiences should be jumped on.  We need more children from Northern Ireland to sample being around the professional environment that a Premier League club offers.

Return leg

On our final day Will dropped us down to the Trafford Centre in Manchester.  We enjoyed some food together before the boys seemed to change into woman and went shopping!  Never been into so many shops in my life.  Will played a game for his club before returning to collect us and take us to Manchester airport.

I can’t thank Will and Stoke enough for what was an awesome experience.  Will opened up his home for us, as did Stoke City, and it will be a memory I’ll never forget about not to mention the boys.  We hope to link up and offer a clinic in Northern Ireland by Will as well as a return visit to Stoke City.

Manchester United FC Club Visit, April 2012

We brought the boys down to Old Trafford for a stadium tour.  This was terrific for them as they got to see around the ground, sit in the changing rooms and walk down the tunnel onto pitch side before taking their seats on the bench!  They also got to learn about the history of the club from the Munich disaster through to the the successes on the pitch.  It was great to see around the museum and trophy rooms along with seeing an area dedicated to Paul Scholes.

After the tour we visited the club shop and the boys were able to get some United gear.  Quite amazing what you can get a Manchester United badge onto nowadays!

We had the opportunity to follow Pavl and Andy up to Carrington, Manchester United’s training ground.  Andy organises a community programme every Friday evening at Carrington.  This allows children to come in for coaching and games.  They cater from 5 year olds up to 14/15 year olds.  There is also a dedicated goalkeepers clinic and coach assessments that take place.  We met with Bill who holds the UEFA A Licence and is also a coach assessor.  I was impressed by the team along with the facilities of course.

Upon driving up to Carrington you pass Manchester City’s training complex as well as Sale Rugby Club.  Arriving at Manchester United you wouldn’t really know it was there training complex at the end of a country road.  Only for a sign up saying about first team players signing autographs you probably wouldn’t think it was Carrington!  After driving down a narrow road we parked and then walked over to the complex.  This is when you know it is Manchester United!

The facilities are unreal.  The glass fronted complex we walked into is the famous complex where you see press gathering on a Friday for Sir Alex Ferguson’s press conference.  That takes place up the stairs in front of the sponsor board.  Any other time though it is best known as the parents lounge.  Tea, coffee, juice and wifi is available while children can go on ahead and train!  On the same level you have viewing galleries and the story of how the youth academy was developed over the years.

On the ground floor at reception you are met with a large photo of Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson looking over you.  2 of the most famous and most successful managers at the club and across Europe.  They both invested heavily and believed in youth over the years.  As you walk down the corridors you are met with terrific pictures on the wall from our very own George Best and Norman Whiteside through to Bobby Charlton, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs.  There is a number of changing rooms then the entrance to the indoor 4G pitch.  We were told the first team don’t like training on it and the surface was replaced.  Apparently this was due to a photo shoot being done with Park ji sung.  After the shoot the company knocked over one of the lights which smashed.  Due to them not being able to guarantee that all the glass was lifted they had to replace the whole pitch!  United at this stage then added to the amount to introduce the latest in 4G surfaces.  Although the first team still prefer to train outside even in the harsh winter weather.

Outside there is a full size 3G pitch and grass pitches as far as the eye can see.  There is a separate complex that houses the first team.  Unfortunately we never seen inside the complex but were informed it was the first team changing area, management offices, rehab area and gym.

What was a real treat was when our boys were asked to join in and play!  Cameron enjoyed playing with some of the coaches while Carson was straight in playing with the young kids.  Carson attends are Toddler Soccer programme and couldn’t believe the opportunity to play at Carrington!  I shot a video of our experience at Old Trafford and Carrington and you can watch it here.

This was a remarkable experience for me and the boys.  I honestly can’t thank Pavl, Andy & Bill enough for a wonderful time at Carrington.  I hope to return very soon.

Bolton Wanderers

Another Twitter friend organised tickets for Bolton v Swansea at the Reebok Stadium.  It is amazing how you just click.  The boys got on like a house on fire and mixed really well.  I enjoyed talking away to Mark who was telling me about his wee team he coached and it being their last game of the season.  He is a forward thinking coach and child centered letting the kids play and develop.

Bolton Wanderers offer grassroots clubs tickets for only £10!  It is a fantastic offer to see a Premier League game live.  The Reebok Stadium is a lovely ground.  There was great entertainment outside the ground before heading in for the game.

Swansea have performed excellent in their first season in the Premiership.  Playing some wonderful football they deserve to be where they are.  They took the lead early on with an amazing goal flying into the roof of the net that we were sat behind.  Bolton find themselves at the wrong end of the table and in the relegation battle.  To be fair they played some good football as well and deserved to equalise before half time.  Although that would be the end of the scoring as the game remained 1-1.

Watching the managers you could see Brendon Rodgers taking notes on a regular basis.  He’s a manager I have a lot of respect for and funny enough comes from an area only 40 minutes away from me.  Aaron Danks, a coach from West Bromwich Albion, attended a recent clinic of his.  It was terrific to read some of his comments that stick in my mind; Rodgers philosophy on developing players, ‘people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.’

‘Every player I see has 4 magic words imprinted on their forehead – ‘Make Me Feel Important’.'  He then went on to say about when he was out of work and trying to break down barriers, ‘ Don’t wait, CREATE.

Manchester United

Our final day away had arrived and we had another visit to Old Trafford to look forward to.  This time we were watching their Premier League game against Everton.  It was a wet Manchester morning so we had to take cover in the club shop. 

Our seats were in the Stretford End beside the tunnel.  The area we were in was the family stand.  It was great the activities and games they had going on in the concourse area of the stand for the kids.  We then settled down to enjoy the game and what a game it was!  We went 1-0 down to a Jelavic headed goal.  I must give the big man credit as never realised how good his movement was off the ball until I seen him at a live game.  Rooney though equalised for the Champions before half time.

The main action was saved for the second half.  Wellbeck scored a wonder goal at our end before Nani made it 3-1.  I managed to get his goal on camera and it was amazing to see the celebrations. But this is United and we never make things easy for ourselves.  Everton pulled another back to make it 3-2.  When Rooney made it 4-2 against his old club we never thought for one minute that the score would finish 4-4 but it did!  So the title race is going right to the last weekend of the premiership by the looks of it.  We were glad to be there!  Here is footage from the games, click here.

Watford FC Club Visit, December 2011

When you think of Watford FC you think about the previous club owner and famous musician, Elton John and the successful periods they enjoyed under former England Manager, Graham Taylor.  Taylor enjoyed a successful 10 year management spell between 1977-1987.  During this period Watford went from the old fourth division to the old first division.  They finished 2nd in the first division in 1983, competed in the UEFA Cup during 1983/1984 and reached the FA Cup Final in 1984.  Graham Taylor then took Watford to the Premiership during his second spell.  They also produced some terrific players like John Barnes and David James.

I had the pleasure of spending 3 days at the Watford Academy based at Harefield Academy.  I write about them briefly in my new book, ‘1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players – GUARANTEED!‘, so was very excited to travel over and see the great work the club is doing.

I flew from Belfast International to London Luton.  My good friend, Dave Godley, is Watford’s Youth Development Officer.  He very kindly collected me from the airport and offered me accommodation.  I met Dave when I was on a coaching visit to Holland.  He played for Dutch second division side OJC Rosmalen.

Harefield Academy

The next morning we travelled up to Harefield Academy, or ‘The School’ as many people refer to it.  Pat Cottis, Head of the school, gave us an insight into school life and a tour of the fabulous Academy.  I was very impressed.  She was passionate and driven to achieve success.  Watford Academy used the school as a training facility up until 2005/2006.  At this time it is probably fair to say the school was failing and facilities were not great.  But exciting plans of a brand new building and a relationship between Watford FC and the Harefield Academy were on the horizon.

The relationship began in September 2007 with about 35-40 boys, aged 12-16, from Watford’s Academy signing up.  This would be approximately 50% of the boys attending from Watford’s Academy.  There is always a lot of thought from both the football club and school as to who attends.  Players that have maybe only just started at the club, settled at other schools or maybe it’s not right for them would not attend.  Another factor early on was convincing parents to take their child out of their current school where they were settled, performing well and had their friends there.  Harefield Academy is open to all boys and girls – not solely Watford FC.

The School

‘The School’ is built over 3 floors and is open plan so is very modern, bright and the Head always has a good view of her pupils!  It has a real welcoming feel and offers everything for the pupils.  Pat explained to us about this unique school commenting, ‘take the school as a jig saw puzzle and put it together.’  Along with the normal lessons that children everywhere receive they also offer students 45 minutes in the middle of the day to progress in their dream, whether that be sport or music.

Children buy into it, it’s like a package deal.  For example, some attend horse riding for the day while others are based at Crystal Palace (athletics) for 2 days.  Their education is always closely monitored to ensure no one falls behind.

I love this philosophy.  We all perform better and put more effort into something we enjoy, that we are passionate about.  It makes perfect sense to offer it to students.  Children also have full use of I.T. with over 30 computer stations set up.  This is positioned on arrival at the school.  A real open, bright area with positive messages draped over flags coming down from the ceiling.  There is also the ‘wall of fame’ positioned here of previous students from the school that have developed well in their chosen profession.  This is a mix from footballers to athletics, including a young man who is being tipped to feature in team GB’s next Olympic team for the 200 metres.

The school also operates a no cash policy.  Instead it is replaced by students using their finger print to purchase food and monitor what they are eating and drinking.  This is especially useful for those training on a daily basis to insure each individual is hydrated and eating the right things.

Generally 6 or 7 players from each age group at Watford’s Academy will be invited into the school from a squad of 20.  The club assess players at the ages of 10 and 11 for entry into the school.  Then the school interview them based around the educational side.  Both parties are always looking long term – will this 11 year old be here at the age of 16?  It is very rare for a player to be released mid term, the club is always looking at long term assessment.  Players are assessed on a monthly basis with goals being set.  They are assessed twice a year on their technical, tactical, physical and psychological performance and given a grade of 1, 2 or 3.  1 being on track, 2 meaning work required and 3 being concerned.

Watford Academy

Nick Cox is the Watford Academy Director.  It is very interesting listening to Nick and seeing the thought process and the importance of everyone at the club to the school backing the concept.  The typical English Academy system will have boys going to school as normal then returning home to start homework, eat dinner and then to be transported by a parent to training.  This adds a busy schedule to each individual boy and adds pressure to the family life.  It is not uncommon for a father to return home from work early and to eat on the way to take his son to training.  Nor is it uncommon for that child to be up at 7.30am on the morning and on the go all day to 9.30-11pm at night.

Watford made many visits to European Academies to see what suited them best to move forward as a club.  The Dutch Academy set up was one of choice, especially a club called Willem II.  They have a similar set up in terms of stadium size, club structure, fan base, etc.  The big difference in the Academy structure was the club would work in partnership with a school.  This is what Watford FC based their concept on.  Although it was not copying the Dutch club they would simply set up an academy to best suit Watford FC and their Academy players.

Here is some videos on Harefield; video 1video 2video 3 and video 4.

The main positives for club, school and player include;

  • Increased contact time for training with the boys.  From an average of 3,500 hours to 9,000 hours (approx 10-12 hours per week but up to 15 hours available)
  • Greater Academic support and discipline – less conflict between school and club.
  • Prime time training – day light and on grass (indoor 3G dome available too)
  • Better home lifestyle – more family time with less inpact, i.e. transport and finance.
  • Professional lifestyle – more training, less late nights, regular meals, less hectic.
  • Better relationship with players – get to know them better.
  • Optimum time for education & sport.


Typical Day

Below you will find a typical schedule for a Watford Academy player attending Harefield Academy.  Classes are mixed, i.e. not exclusive to all WFC players.

  • 6.45am – Pick Up
  • 8.15am – Lesson 1
  • 9.15am – Football Training with WFC Academy Coaches
  • 11am – Lesson 2
  • 12pm – Lunch
  • 12.30pm – Lesson 3
  • 1.30pm – Lesson 4
  • 2.30pm – Normal day ends
  • 2.50pm – Study (home work / support)
  • 4.20pm – Day ends
  • 4.45pm – Football Training with WFC Academy Coaches


Success Stories

Over the years Watford have produced players like John Barnes, David James and Ashley Young.  But most recently other players have broken into the first team including Marvin Sordell, Lee Hodson, Ross Jenkins and Matt Whichelow.  Other recent first team graduates from Harefield include Tommie Hoban and Sean Murray.

The benefits of players coming through Harefield help to keep a normal school life.  The old cliche of footballers being stupid has been thrown out the window as 100% of junior scholars have achieved grades A*-C at GCSE.  This includes 88% achieving A*-C in English & Maths.  The average is 10 GCSE’s per junior scholar!

Harefield is entering its 5th year with the oldest graduate still only 18 including Ronnie Rosenthal’s son, Tom.  So far there has been 36 graduates, 7 internationals, 6 pro contracts signed, 22 scholars at Watford FC while 10 have signed for other clubs.  3 have played for the first team.

In 12 years 50 Academy players have made their debut in first team.  43% of all starts came from the Academy graduates.  20 Academy players featured in first team last season.  Last year there was 5 new debuts and 13 international players.  Genuine home grown players.  The average is 12 miles from Vicarage Road (Watford’s ground) with the closest only 100 yards away!

  • Better People
  • Better Players
  • Better Grades


Key Issues

The average spend from clubs on their Academy set up is 2-3% of turnover, Watford spend 10%.  The intial focus was on the start up.  As mentioned already it was convincing parents to come to a school that had a poor level of results and an old building.  Watford also had to be very selective of the players and also when it came to the release of players – U16 decision time.

They set up a talent ID for enrolling new students.  It is a demanding schedule when they enter into the school (the novelty factor can were off!)  The club has greater responsibility for player behaviour.  It is essential there is a ‘whole club approach’.  It really does require the right people that ‘want to do it’ v ‘have to do it’.

It was a very informative day.  There was representatives (invite only) from Tottenham Hotspur, Reading, Derby County, Southampton and the Scottish FA along with myself (TWSports.Org)  I personally believe that this is the best way forward to encourage a better education for potential players and to help develop better technical and tactical players through increased contact time.

Vicarage Road

After the presentation I had opportunity to walk around the town centre.  Watford is a lovely town and I found the people very friendly.  I then went back to the school to see the U7 and U8 development squads train.  Refreshing to hear Dave talk about them being one of the most important age groups.  Getting the ‘right’ coaches to work with them is essential to help develop them.

After the session we transferred to Vicarage Road to watch the first team play Bristol City.  It was great to see Watford old boy, David James, return to the ground as Bristol City goalkeeper.  It was a very entertaining game with Watford going 2-0 up before City pulled a goal back just before half time.

After giving away a goal at an awful time – just before half time – Watford then gave away a soft goal straight after the interval to level the score.  That is how the game ended, 2-2.  I was very impressed by the stadium.  We sat in the Rookery Stand.  This is positioned behind the goal and Dave tells me offers the best atmosphere.  As an added bonus it was great to read a 2 page spread on Dave in the programme!

After a very enjoyable day it was back to the boat to talk football.  How I would love to work at a professional Academy like Watford!  My final day in Watford was relaxing and after some lunch with Dave I had a final walk round the town before making my way back to Luton for my return flight home to Belfast.

I was returning home full of energy after an enjoyable 3 day visit to the school.  Not only was it a terrific experience to see Watford’s Academy but enjoyable to sample Dave’s way of life and his wonderful hospitality.

I would like to extend my thanks to Watford FC and the Harefield Academy for their wonderful hospitality.  It is refreshing to see a club open its doors to let other coaches view their set up.  Special thanks to my good friend and Watford coach, Dave Godley, for providing transport & accommodation for me.

Fulham FC, August 2011

Amazing how the internet brings people together and creates such wonderful opportunities.  After connecting with Hugo Langton on Twitter we found we shared similar philosophies as well as backgrounds.  We are both UEFA A Licence coaches operating our own academies.  So we began talking about organising a tour to visit each other.  Along with some of Hugo’s friends, an old friend of mine and we were booked to travel to London with games set up against North Kent Academy and Fulham.  How fate works – 10 years to the day I took my grassroots side, Castlereagh Colts, to London to also play…Fulham!

Travel

We flew as a group with Flybe from George Best Belfast City to London Gatwick.  Our party consisted on 25 coaches, players and parents.  Hugo’s friend, Sam, organised all the land arrangements.  What a top guy he was!  Attention to detail and communicating with me by email and phone – including one night to 11.30pm!  Sam organised the Hotel 7 Diner at Seven Oaks.  It is a lovely hotel with comfortable, en suite rooms.  The Diner is like a 60?s American style diner complete with 60?s music, shakes and burgers!

The hotel could not have been any better.  They had us checked into our rooms within 5 minutes of arrival.  Sam also organised a light pre-match meal to be ready for us before departing for our first game.  It was the extras that really made it.  Shakes and a meal for man of the match in each game.  They also offered our group a private section of the diner.  They set up a table tennis table and connected the Nintendo Wii up to a 50 inch TV screen!  We then watched Match of the Day on the screen!

We had Les as our coach driver.  He made sure we got to our games and activities on time.  Again, Les was a man that put himself out for us.  He came in early on the Sunday to transfer us to the local bowling alley before our return flight after our final game was cancelled.

Everything ran so smoothly from flights to hotel to transfers.  This allowed us all to concentrate on our games.

North Kent Academy

Hugo Langton is Academy Director of North Kent Academy.  We share similar philosophies in that we want to offer players an opportunity for additional elite training.  This is through good technical training and use of the ball.  We don’t exclude players for being to small or less physical, instead we look at their technical ability.  I’ve got a lot of respect for Hugo and very interested in his new concept about offering opportunities for school leavers.  This is something I wanted to do a number of years ago but got no support from the powers that be.  I hope to travel over again to London to see Hugo’s work.

Our referee, Will, is another of our Twitter friends!  He is a great young referee and you’ll be glad to hear that Hugo or me gave him any abuse!  The game was played in three x 25 minute periods.  NK Academy started the better of the sides and deserved to come in at the first break 1-0 up.  We made a slight change for the second period and found it reflected in our performance.  The boys played a lot better football and created more opportunities.  It was from a corner that the equaliser came from.  Luke Fisher fired in a very inviting ball that forward, Peter Freeland, got on the end of to send the ball into the back of the net.

The third period was pretty even.  We broke away and a great through ball was played to Jamie Rafferty.  He broke the off side trap and was one-on-one with the NK Academy keeper.  Jamie calmly passed the ball one side of the keeper and ran the other side (Pele style!) before putting the ball in the net.  Both Hugo and I (along with many others!) thought Jamie was going to lob the keeper.  Jamie calmly told us, ‘he was too big’, laughed and walked back to the centre circle.

NK grabbed an equaliser to level the score at 2-2.  Reece Montgomery made a great run down the left wing and cut inside to thunder a 25 yard drive against the crossbar.  NK also had some great chances only to be thwarted by TW keeper Reece Clougherty and a last ditch challenge by Ciaran Clougherty.  At the full time whistle 2-2 was probably a fair result.  A great game played in superb spirit.  The boys shook hands, had some photos taken before returning to the hotel base.  It was great to enjoy a few beers with Hugo and talk about the game along with the great work he is carrying out in London.  Hugo presented the man of the match awards.  The Hotel 7 Diner provided three free milk shakes for a MOTM from each period.  Hugo awarded Luke Fisher MOTM for the first period.  Ciaran Clougherty received MOTM for the second period for his wonderful timed tackle that stopped NK scoring.  Jamie Rafferty was awarded the other shake for his great goal!

Fulham

Well 10 years to the very day and I was back with a team to play Fulham.  We were due to play at the first team training base, Motspur Park, but with Martin Jol calling the first team in we played the match at nearby pitches.

One thing I love working with kids is that they offer you such an up and down experience!!  After speaking before kick off telling them they need to start well and couldn’t afford to start like they did last night or they would be punished.  Well after a few minutes we found ourselves 1-0 down.  To be honest we lost focus, shape and were shell shocked to find ourselves 5-0 down after the first period!  We simply didn’t keep the ball or our shape.  But taking nothing away from Fulham, what a great talented group of boys they have.

I got the boys back in after the first interval and told them to learn from the first period and treat the experience as 3 mini games.  Can we improve from 5-0?  In youth football this is important to set goals but at the same time to be realistic.  What would I have got from them if I simply shouted at them for 5 minutes?  It would be very easy for the boys to cave in, feel sorry for themselves and be very embarrassed.  Instead, they were positive and raised their game to play some of the football we expected.  We started to retain the ball better.  We were better disciplined and had a better shape and balance about us.  In fact we were very unlucky not to go 1-0 up in the second period after a great chance from Luke Fisher.  As the second period was drawing to a close we switched off for a second and were punished as the Fulham forward got to the ball before our defender and hit an unstoppable shot to put Fulham 1-0 up.

The third period was much of the same as the second.  We created a few chances while defending as a unit much better.  Again as we looked to secure a 0-0 draw in this period with Fulham with switched off for a second.  As Fulham were awarded a free kick one of our front men failed to stand over the ball.  They took a quick free kick was seen a terrific ball played through to the Fulham forward.  A last ditch tackle conceded a penalty.  Fulham scored that resulting penalty to win the third period 1-0 as well.

In reflection it showed the boys what level they are required to perform at.  It was also a valuable lesson that against a quality side if you switch off or make a mistake you will be punished.  On a positive note the boys showed great character to play some better football in the second and third periods.  Fulham also took the details of two of our players which is a great testament to what we are trying to do in Northern Ireland.

Reading FC

After the Fulham game we transferred straight to Reading FC.  We collected our Match Day Experience tickets and entered the Madejski Stadium.  We were welcomed by Club Officials.  The boys were brought down to pitch side.  We walked around the edge of the pitch looking around this fantastic stadium.  We were then brought onto the pitch for a team photo!  A mini tour was then carried out by the Reading FC staff.  This was done in a Q&A technique complete with photos.  This was great as the club officials worked interactive with the boys testing their footy knowledge!

We then returned to our seats to watch Reading take on Barnsley.  The game was quite unique as we witnessed 3 penalties all awarded right in front of us.  Our seats were the first row behind the goal – you could see us on the Championship programme!  Luke Steele, the ex Manchester United goalkeeper, saved the first 2 penalties that were awarded with only a minute apart from each other!  Although third time lucky Reading scored!  Although they battered Barnsley they still fell to a 2-1 defeat.

Shelley who organised the experience with Elaine came and met us.  I was so impressed with Reading FC.  If you are ever in London make sure you take in a game.  If you look after a team make sure you do the match day experience!  Our boys loved stepping onto the pitch!

We also met Luke Steele after the game.  I asked him how’d he not manage to save the last penalty.  He laughed and said he’d never experienced that in a game before!

Observation

Fulham Academy players were the same age group as our boys.  We had 2 younger players, but nevertheless, it shows the difference in ability and development when you train 4 times per week!  TW Sports provides additional training for players that only train once or twice per week at their clubs.  For those that take additional training through my 1-on-1 coaching and small group coaching, for example, benefit even more.

We also played on a reduced pitch against Fulham.  The nets were slightly smaller and there was a series of blue lines used to mark out the reduced pitch both in length and width.  Parents watched the game in a quiet, civilised manner.  This allowed the players to concentrate on their game.  The Fulham coaches were very quiet too.  Only offering short snippets of advice when required.  This reaffirms that parents should stop thinking if you have a loud mouthed manager that continually shouts is a good thing!  Let your child play and learn.

From Hugo at NK Academy to Fulham and Reading FC we were made to feel most welcome.  They took a real interest in our group.  It is great to see that professional coaches and clubs take time to forge links and friendships with visiting clubs.

1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players - GUARANTEED! Book Launched, June 2011

Tim Wareing has released his second book through his publisher titled, '1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Players - GUARANTEED!'  Copies are available in paperback or e-book!  You can order online by clicking here

Overview of '1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Players - GUARANTEED!'...

Tim Wareing is a highly sought after coach.  With over 15 years coaching experience and having achieved the prestigious UEFA European 'A' Licence at the age of 24, his methods and coaching philosophy are known and respected worldwide.
 
Tim spent six years at Irish Premier League side, Lisburn Distillery.  He held roles as Reserve Team Manager and under 18 Manager.  He played his part in developing Youth International Players and players for the first team, before setting up a very successful Academy for the Club.

He continues to travel across Europe on a regular basis to continue learning and sharing his coaching philosophy.  Tim has visited FC Barcelona, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Braga.  His training methods will improve ALL players through using the latest and most innovative procedures.

With a host of clients and clubs requesting Tim to work with them, and families travelling from New York and Paris to access his coaching, he has put his award-winning programme together in this book '1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players - GUARANTEED!'  It not only provides readers with his session plans, but includes information on his successful blue print on how to coach players on a 1-to-1 basis.  He has also included a section on his renowned 'Player Development Plan'.

This book has been specifically designed, so that each session is simple to follow, yet includes the coaching points that Tim offers to his players.  Today, when we see less and less street soccer, the technical ability of our players is decreasing.  '1-on-1 Coaching The Secrets To Improve ALL Football Players - GUARANTEED!' will change that and improve everyone's technical ability and game understanding.

'Luke has been receiving 1-on-1 coaching from Tim for over two years.  He has been part of Tim's community programme from the age of six.  After six months of Tim working with Luke he was invited into the Liverpool Academy based in Belfast.  He has also been invited to the IFA County Down and Excellence programme.  A number of clubs are monitoring Luke's development after a successful performance in Holland on Tim's Academy tour as well as a great season at his club.  I can't speak highly enough of the importance of 1-on-1 coaching and how it has developed my son's talent and ability.' 

Martin Kenny, parent of Luke, current Liverpool's Belfast Academy student.

Order your copy now!  Simply follow this link.  Available in book or e-book.  For more details contact Tim Wareing, 07740120788 or by email

Tim's first book, 'Toddler Soccer The Essential Guide', has sold in over 30 different countries This stretches from the UK & Ireland, across Europe to USA & Canada, the Far East & Australia!  Order a copy from here!

Europa Final, May 2011

Tim Wareing enjoyed watching the final of the Europa Final in Dublin.

It involved SC Braga against Porto.  Porto went on to win the final in a close encounter.  It was a great experience and the atmosphere was superb.

The connection with SC Braga would continue...

SC Braga Club Visit, April 2011

Director of TWSports.Org, Tim Wareing, travelled to Braga to meet up with his good friend, Hugo Vicente, at SC Braga.  Coach Frank and Coach Andrew joined Tim on a 4 day Club visit of a top Portuguese club who have secured a place in the semi finals of this year's Europa League.

A 3.30am departure from Coach Tim's house was in order to make the flight departing from Dublin at 7am.  After checking through security it was a full cooked Irish breakfast with a bucket of coffee...after only finishing work at 1.30am Coach Tim believed this would keep him going after his 2 hour sleep!

The Ryanair flight arrived into Porto all on time.  With Hugo busy taking training sessions it offered an opportunity to see around the city.  What a beautiful city Porto is.  The team had a look around the stadium before making their way to the river to meet Hugo and have some lunch.

After lunch the team transferred to Braga to get settled in and freshened up for the evening session.  The U13's, U12's, U11's and U10's all trained on a full size 3G pitch spread over a 2 hour period.  All the sessions involved the ball and fun activities for a warm up before possession type games and small sided games after.  The Braga Academy has some of the best goalkeeping coaches in the country.

As Tim remembered during his last visit in November about the well mannered kids from the Academy it was evident still to this day.  On arrival players from the age of 7 automatically greet their coaches (and us visitors!) with a hello and hand shake.  They are confident children that behave and represent the club to such a high standard.  What is also refreshing is the relaxed friendly environment.  Although this doesn't stop the coaches demanding the players to work hard but it proves children respond better in an enjoyable setting.

We also enjoyed a second day at the old stadium which is now the base for the U19's and an athletics club.  We saw Hugo work with a small group of players on a technical basis.  Very interesting that it was the goalkeepers.  The hour was based around working with their feet as the modern day keeper is seen as a sweeper too.

We enjoyed another evening session with the younger boys of the Academy.  A real bonus was for us to eat with one of the U13 players who lives in Braga with a club 'nanny'.  To be away from his family at such a young age and carry out such a busy daily schedule was amazing to hear.  Although the club look after Pedro so well.  I will share more information on Pedro's schedule on my blog very soon.

On the Thursday Braga were away playing their quarter final first leg game in the Europa League.  The Club President has a rule that all teams don't train so they can watch the first team.  This gave us the opportunity to watch a typical grassroots club in Portugal train.  It is always interesting comparing the professional game to grassroots from country to country.

The Amateur Club had a very impressive set up.  From a full size grass pitch and a full size 3G pitch with floodlights, an impressive new stand and club house to an indoor 3G pitch for when the weather is poor (in north Portugal it gets very cold in the winter)

We enjoyed dinner along with watching Braga achieve a great result.  A great night was enjoyed along with a relaxing Friday before our return home.

This proved to be another great fact finding trip.  TWSports.Org would like to thank Hugo and Braga for their hospitality.  4 days of being looked after by a wonderful club and players was truly amazing.  We enjoyed great friendship, football, weather and food.  We now look forward to welcoming Hugo back to Northern Ireland.

SC Braga Club Visit, December 2010

Director of TWSports.Org and UEFA 'A' Licence Coach, Tim Wareing, travelled to Braga, Portugal.  It was another great experience viewing a top European Club that is competing in the UEFA Champions League.  The TWSports.Org Group and Tim would like to express their thanks for the kind invite and hospitality from Hugo and SC Braga.  Here is Tim's report...

Braga

The northern city is the third biggest in Portugal, although it still keeps its charm and feel of a village.  The architecture of the buildings and Se Cathedral were beautiful.  The views over the city from the Bom Jesus do Monte was breath-taking. 

We found the people to be very friendly.  The food was of a very high standard and very reasonable to eat out.  The Portuguese don't do a quick sandwich but eat a large meal at lunch time as well as evening.  It is a very social thing to meet friends and family at lunch.  We enjoyed eating fresh bread and a great main course before finishing with coffee.  It was great to eat at leisure and talk about football.

SC Braga

Sporting Clube de Braga is commonly known as Sporting de Braga or simply Braga.  They play at the AXA Stadium which is also known as 'The Quarry' or the 'Tool Box'.  This is due to the design where the stadium is built inside a Quarry with cables attaching the 2 main stands.  The ground was built for UEFA Euro 2004.

Braga had been known as Arsenal do Minho and changed their kits from green and white hoops to their Arsenal style red in 1935.  This is due to their coach, Jozsef Szabo, visiting and watching Arsenal at the old Highbury ground. 

The emblem of Sporting de Braga is the city of Braga's shield with Mother Mary and baby Jesus.  On the top of the emblem is the golden Mural Crown of Braga, with the name Sporting Clube de Braga on it.  Many fans of Braga have said that Mother Mary gives them luck.  The fans of Braga are known as Arsenalistas due to their team home kit that resembles that of English club Arsenal.

After finishing runners up in the Portuguese league during season 2009/2010 they qualified for the knock stages of the Champions League. They defeated Celtic and Sevilla to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League for the very first time.

Youth Set Up

Braga provides teams from 7/8 year olds and above.  The younger section of the Academy will train 3 times per week along with a match.  They concentrate heavily on ball mastery and 1v1 duels on defence and attack.

Players also receive homework so they really develop and are confident using both feet.  Braga will work closely with a number of other local clubs.  They play in a number of tournaments so they are playing against the best.

They will play small sided games on smaller pitches and with a smaller ball at the young age.  On the day we arrived into Portugal we got to watch their U13's.  At this stage they play 11v11 on a full size pitch.  I suppose one of the problems is with the local leagues that they are forced to play in.  Some opposition are very poor.  Braga eased to a 19-0 victory on the day.

As the players get older they will start to train more.  The U19's for example are in every day.  They also have players from all over the world.  The nationalities in the squad asides from Portuguese include; German, Greek, Brazilian along with a number of players on trial from Africa. 

The U19's train at the old Braga stadium which is a great facility.  The Spanish National team used this as their base during Euro 2004.  They also play their home games here.  An athletic club also operate out of the same base.  During the week that we were in Braga there had been a lot of rain so the training was transferred to 2 full size 3G pitches that are at the same location.  They are Council run but a great facility to fall back on.

All the players training clothing is ready on their arrival in a basket set out in the changing room with their name on it.  They change before reporting to the pitch.  Each day we watched we were always greeted with a smile and hand shake.  I also found it nice that all the players always shake hands when they meet including players and children from different age groups. 

1-on-1 Coaching

Another important role for Hugo Vicente as the Technical Director is to work with players 1-on-1 or in a small group.  He'll concentrate on ball mastery, using both feet and a number of games and sessions that relate to the position they play.

This is something crucial to the overall development in each individual player's game.  The players I personally work with 1-on-1 have found the benefits that it has added to their game and overall development.

Champions League

What a treat to watch a live game in this wonderful stadium.  Made even better that it was Arsenal in the Champions League!  To be a stone's throw from the players during the warm up and to be part of the crowd was something else.

With the teams lined up, the Champions League music blasted out and all the home support held up Braga posters to really create a special atmosphere.  I got goose bumps; I knew something special was going to happen!  

To see players like Theo Walcott, Denilson, Jack Wilshere, Rosicky, Bendtner and the great Cesc Fabregas in the flesh was a treat.  Although I must admit, Arsenal was very disappointing on the night.  Braga over all deserved their win and Nascimento Matheus scored two great goals - especially his second.

What a result from Braga, especially after being defeated 6-0 away to Arsenal earlier in the group.  I was surprised that it was not a sell out but those that came went home happy...apart from the travelling Arsenal supporters!  The Porto Manager also watched the game behind us. 

Review

The hospitality that was shown to me and my colleague Daniel is hard to express in words.  Hugo, the club and the players were so welcoming.  SC Braga is such a family, friendly club.  Every staff member and player - from the young age of 7 - welcomed us with a smile and a hand shake.  This created such a positive experience as everyone was so approachable.  Especially in a day and age where at some clubs people and players feel they are above the normal person.

I also found all the youth players very confident and polite.  This is very much a European way but something I like to instil in my own children and kids I work with.  Manners and confidence cost nothing but create a lasting experience.

This experience will last with me & I will always have a real fondness & interest in SC Braga.  Watch our video review by clicking this link!

Holland Tour Success, August 2010

Tim Wareing, Director of TWSports.Org, organised a tour for 25 boys and parents to travel to Holland.  The tour arrangements were organised by Tim's close friend and top Dutch Coach, Bert-Jan (BJ) Heijmans.  The tour brought together a selection of boys from over 6 different boys and Irish League clubs.  The tour offered an opportunity to live the life of a professional during the 4 day training camp.

After a great flight from Belfast International to Schiphol Amsterdam we were met by a luxurious coach and good friend BJ.  We transferred to Den Bosch to our base at the 4* Hotel Vaught.  After checking into our rooms and unpacking we met up for a team meeting.  BJ took the opportunity to welcome everyone and explain in full the weekend ahead.  The squad then enjoyed a meal together before having a stroll to the old town.  The boys then headed to their rooms for a well deserved rest.

Saturday morning the team met for breakfast before transferring to VV Eindhoven, this is a feeder team of PSV Eindhoven.  After a team talk and warm up the boys took to the field for what would turn out to be an excellent performance and very entertaining game.

Eindhoven v TWSports.Org, Saturday

The match was played in 3 periods of 25 minutes.  During the first period we had a number of great chances created by some fast flowing football.  Unfortunately Mackie, Stewart and McCrory couldn't break the deadlock.  Against the run of play, and right before the first break, Eindhoven scored to go 1-0 up.  A very cool finish by the Eindhoven forward.

The second period was very exciting.  Mackie scored probably one of the hardest of his opportunities by finishing well with a volley to make the score 1-1.  More excitement was to follow after a free kick was awarded on the edge of the Eindhoven box.  Ryan McCrory stepped up to score a marvellous free kick into the right hand corner of the goal, 2-1 to TW Sports!

All the goals seemed to be saved for the final period.  Eindhoven equalised, making the score 2-2.  Soon after Luke Fisher received the ball on the half way line and beat 2 players as if they weren't there.  He then outsprinted the covering defender before cutting inside and finishing with a lethal right foot finish, 3-2.  TW Sports then took control with Mikey Crawford taking a well worked goal, 4-2.  The temperature continued to rise and some tired legs started to show.  Although it was the heads to go first, switching off from a corner Eindhoven pulled a goal back.  A number of the Academy players were frustrated and ran to the referee claiming that the corner was taken half way between near post and corner flag.  To their frustration this is allowed in Holland.  Again this shows how they tailor the game to the children in Holland.

With minutes remaining the talented PSV Eindhoven forward finished brilliantly to make the final score 4-4.  What a great performance by the young boys.  The scouts watching were very impressed & will monitor a number of the TW Sports players. 

Philips Stadium

After the game we enjoyed lunch on the executive bus that the Premiership teams use for games.  We transferred to PSV Eindhoven's ground, The Philips Stadium.  Our tour guide was very friendly, informative and interested in our party.  We got pitch side, taken through the changing rooms, media room and executive seating area.  We walked the corridors that many famous players and managers of the past have done.  This includes the great Sir Bobby Robson and players such as Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Before returning to the hotel we had opportunity to purchase some PSV gear in their shop.

Evening Session

BJ then took the boys for a training session at a fantastic indoor arena owned by our friend Martien Pennings.  Martien is a head scout at PSV and travelled over to Belfast to operate a clinic for coaches for TWSports.Org.

BJ's session involved all the players and each of them always had a ball.  You can view these sessions on a DVD that will be produced from our trip.  

Helmond Sport v TWSports.Org, Sunday 

After breakfast we transferred to Dutch First Division side, Helmond Sport.  With the first team being away we had the opportunity to play in the first team stadium, a 5000 all seater stadium!  What a great experience for the boys.  The pitch was shortened and smaller goals placed on either 18 yard line.  Again proving why the Dutch are more technically gifted and offer a more child friendly approach.

The game was quite one sided with TW Sports recording a great 10-1 win.  Although the Dutch counter parts were younger, played some nice football and never gave in.  Again a number of the TW Sports players attracted interest.

The game finished with everyone hitting a penalty.  In both games our Dutch counterparts offered us all the balls, bibs, cones and water we required for our warm up.  We had showers and changing rooms and a club room for tea and coffee.

Dutch Taste

After the game we went to the local chippy to discover the Dutch equivalent to fish and chips!  Although some of the kids were not fussed on some of the items the parents and coaching team enjoyed it!

We then went for a game of bowls before transferring back to the Philips Stadium to watch PSV Eindhoven v AZ.  After a non eventful first half the second half improved and we cheered PSV on to a 2-1 victory.

After a very busy, but very enjoyable couple of days, we enjoyed a free night in the hotel.  Along with BJ and Danny we carried out player analysis after dinner.  This offered a 1-to-1 informative chat with each player to add to their game and how they can improve on any weaknesses.

PSV Eindhoven First Team Training, Monday

After breakfast we boarded the bus with our luggage sad knowing that it was our last day in Holland.  But to cheer us up BJ had organised another fantastic day!  We arrived at the first team training ground of PSV.  We saw a couple of first team and reserve team players train.  They also took the time to speak with us, sign autographs and pose for photos.

They also had their academy players in for a week of professional training.  2 sessions daily, basically training as a first team player.  It was fascinating to watch.  Kids had the freedom to train and coaches got down to their level and made it fun but always high tempo and use of the ball.

Hans Segers

I think the highlight was meeting ex Wimbledon keeper (aka crazy gang!) Hans Segers.  He is now a goalkeeper coach at PSV and organised a penalty shoot out for the boys against the PSV keeper!

It hit home to everyone - players and parents - to what I have been saying over the past number of years.  In Holland everyone is so approachable and down to earth.  There are no big egos or super stars.  This was our final meeting at PSV at what a way to finish on! 

Ajax, Amsterdam ArenA

Before making our way back to the airport we stopped off to enjoy a stadium tour of Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA.  We also had time to view the historic museum of this great European club.

On our way back to the airport our captains, Luke Fisher & Keegan Rice, presented BJ and our coach driver with gifts and made a speech through the microphone on the coach.  They spoke very well and it was very moving for BJ to have 2 young boys speak so well.

Observations

This was my fourth time in Holland.  So was great to meet up with friends and for so many parents and boys to see my love for the country and philosophy so much.  The boys and parents mixed so well.  It shows the training each week at the Academy really does add to their games along with what they receive outside of that.  In Holland boys of 11 and 12 will train up to 4 times per week.  In Northern Ireland the reality is once weekly, maybe twice.  This is why children attending TW Sports don't only benefit from another session but the quality coaching and opportunities they receive really does add to their game.

Another massive difference is that the Dutch continue to work with players and always keeping them at a level that suits.  While Premiership clubs (and youth teams in NI) replace up to 50% of their players it is no surprise long term development is not available and more and more players are leaving the game.

Toddler Soccer The Essential Guide To A Toddler's First Steps In Soccer Book Launched, February 2010

Tim Wareing released his first book based on his award winning program, Toddler Soccer. He received a publishing deal from 'The Book Refinery' & copies went on sale February 2010!

The book has sold in over 30 different countries and used as a resource for many professional clubs in their community projects.

You can order the book or e-book online from the Club Shop.

SL Benfica Clinic in Belfast, August 2009

Hugo Vicente and Victor from SL Benfica flew in to Northern Ireland to deliver an elite training session for local children in conjunction with TWSports.Org.

Dundela FC kindly opened up Wilgar Park for the clinic to take place.  The weather was even kind to us, sunshine the whole day.  Although on arrival Victor had to jump back into the van as he was that cold after leaving the sunshine & 30 degree heat in Portugal.  Hugo on the other hand had climatised with a week in Scotland!

Hugo and Victor then took to the pitch to provide a coaching session for the children.  After introductions and a brief insight into Portuguese football the action kicked off.  What was evident throughout the entire session was use of the ball and a great repore with children.

The session was full of energy, passion, personality and of course knowledge.  The children worked hard but always had a smile of their face.  The session featured heavily on the technical side of the game but was pressurised.

Some of the feedback we received;

'Tim, just a short note to congratulate you on a most fantastic day today.  Both my boys had a great time and they were extremely inspired by the tuition given all day.  You are definitely in the right job as all the kids adore you and all your efforts are appreciated.'

Murray Erskine

'Hello Tim, we just wanted to thank you for such a brilliant footie day yesterday with the Benfica coaches.  Reece thoroughly enjoyed himself and it was great to watch too.  We hope Hugo and Victor will come back again someday, they were fantastic!'

Gina Everett

'Tim, will you pass on my thanks to Hugo and Victor.  Ryan really enjoyed it this morning and I thought the session was fantastic!'

Kerrie McCrory

'Mate just wanted to say thanks for today.  Nathan had a real good day.  Thanks also to Hugo and Victor who made it enjoyable for us as parents too.  Nice to see kids having fun.  Cheers mate.'

Drew Kerr

The clinic took place at Dundela FC on Sunday 16 August.  The children that attended not only received 3 excellent hours of coaching from SL Benfica Academy coaches but returned to take part in the session for the coaches' clinic in the afternoon!

PSV Clinic, April 2009

Head Youth Scout of PSV Eindhoven and the Dutch FA (KNVB) operated a clinic for coaches in Belfast during April 2009.

Martien Pennings joined Dutch coach Bert-Jan Heijmans and Paul Cooper from Give Us Back Our Game in Northern Ireland. 

Sunday 5 April - 1 Day Coaching Event with Martien Pennings.  Clinic held at Orangefield FC, Belfast.

Martien talked about...

  • His background as a player growing up in Holland and experiences.
  • How he moved into coaching.
  • Coach education in Holland including support and opportunities.
  • His coaching career.  Featuring heavily on his role as youth scout for PSV and the Dutch FA (KNVB).
  • What is the difference between a talent and a good player?
  • What is the thought behind the willingness of PSV to share knowledge with amateur clubs?
  • How does PSV see the future?

After the presentation Martien took to the pitch for demonstrations working with an elite team.

  • Selection of warm ups and favourite sessions that all coaches can adapt to use for their team.
  • Why technique and awareness is so important for tactical decisions during the game.

The clinic also included a Q&A session, hand outs and a certificate.

Advantage Young Business Award Winner, March 2009

Thirty year old Tim Wareing of Castlereagh based TWSports.Org Mini Soccer Centres, has been recognised by Advantage NI and Invest Northern Ireland for being amongst the most successful and inspirational young entrepreneurs in the Castlereagh area.  Funded by Invest NI, Advantage NI celebrates the spirit of enterprise that is alive and kicking in young people aged 16-30.

TW Sports offers children the opportunity to play football in a pressure free environment, and welcomes children from as young as two to sixteen to join in.  The business has been extended to reach children and coaches around the world by utilising their web based products.

Football has always been a passion and hobby for Tim Wareing.  Though it was after he completed his football qualifications and observed the lack of youth development in sport and football that he decided to put all his interests and energy into starting up his own business.

Tim’s business has a strong customer base and he believes this is down to the fact that parents know that their children will meet new friends, have fun and develop their skills with highly qualified coaches at an affordable price.  This Easter will be an exciting time for the soccer centre as TW Sports welcomes Martien Pennings of Dutch side PSV Eindhoven to deliver a coaching clinic for Northern Ireland coaches and children.

Sharon Polson of Invest NI’s Entrepreneurship Development Team, said: 'By supporting initiatives which encourage our young entrepreneurs to further develop their ideas and grow their businesses, we can help increase the number and quality of locally-owned businesses, create wealth and strengthen the Northern Ireland economy.

'Many local young people have started successful businesses in recent years. These entrepreneurs are role models and it is important that they are recognised for their achievements.'

As TW Sports goes from strength to strength Tim is still not content with stopping here, as he sets his sights high for the future of his business - just as any entrepreneur would!  He intends to continue the high standards he has set for child and coach development in Northern Ireland but he also aims to franchise his product further afield.  He would even one day love to own his own indoor arena.  With ambition like this it is easy to see why TW Sports has been awarded an Advantage Young Business Award.

If like Tim, you are under thirty one and are running your own business, or, if you are simply interested in finding out more about starting your own business, Advantage NI wants to hear from you.  Advantage NI provides start up support and guidance specifically for young people aged 16-30 through a suite of programmes including Business Boot Camp, Ignite, The Big Idea and The Advantage Young Business Awards and what’s more, they’re all free. Contact Advantage NI on 028 9093 0046, info@advantage-ni.com 

Exhibited at the National Grass Roots Live Show in Birmingham, May 2008 and 2009

TWSports.Org was exhibiting at the national Grass Roots Live Show in Birmingham's NEC.

The show attracted over 15,000 people. TWSports.Org was promoting MySportsCards.  The website has people signed up from the US and Singapore not to mention a host of people throughout the UK and Ireland.

Children both young and old were able to get their photo taken in front of our footy stadium. Their very own personalised footy card was made up and sent direct to them. Remember, you don't have to be a pro to feature on a sports card!

The stand attracted a lot of interest throughout the weekend. This was from footy fans to club coaches and managers of all levels - from park to premiership. Also a number of magazines and county coaches from the FA expressed an interest in MySportsCards.

We had some famous visitors to the stand including ex West Ham and Liverpool player, Neil Ruddock. What a complete gent he was. Not only visiting the stand and posing for a picture but also remembering us and MySportsCards at a hotel later that night when we bumped into 'Razor' again!

Holland Club Visits, April 2008

The trip from start to finish was a huge success and very enjoyable.  To see a different football culture is a fantastic experience and goes to show how far we really are behind in this country.

Our week started in Amsterdam with a 2 day visit to Ajax.  We enjoyed the tour of the Amsterdam ArenA and then took in the first team training.  I approached one of the coaches to enquire if we could come in and observe the training.  He immediately responded, 'yes'.  A prime example of how accommodating and welcoming the Dutch are.

The facilities are second to none, maybe something you would expect at a top European side but not what you would expect at Amateur Clubs - more on that soon!

We viewed the sessions and took some video footage.  We also got to meet a number of the first team players including Edgar Davids.  After training we took a short stroll over to the famous Ajax Academy.  Again facilities to be envy of.

Our trip then took us south to our Hotel based near Eindhoven.  Over the 4 days we visited top Amateur Clubs, Geldrop AEK & vv Schijndel.  These clubs would be the equivalent of Northern Ireland's Premier Amateur League teams but that is were the comparisons end.  The facilities and presentations included the following;

  • Approximately a dozen full size grass pitches at each venue owned by the Club.
  • The main pitch included a stand and seating.
  • 2 x 3rd generation pitches with floodlights.
  • Each Club had between 40-60 teams!
  • Bar & restaurant.
  • Balcony / upstairs viewing lounge.
  • Over 40 volunteers working on a daily basis.
  • Amateur Clubs inform professional teams of any youth talent to progress the child.
  • Clubs and coaches more concerned on youth players' development and progression in football rather than holding them back.
  • They work with the professional clubs.
  • Councils support them!  One of the clubs received 40,000 euros last year.
  • Due to having over 900 members they will build another 3rd generation pitch.

We were lucky enough to watch the PSV first team training and view their terrific facilities.  We also received a presentation from their Academy Director, the same presentation that was given to ex England Manager Steve McClaren the day before!  This was another example of how open and friendly the Dutch are.

We had time on the Saturday to watch William II Tilburg take on PSV U17's.  After the game we had a presentation from Martien Pennings who eats, drinks and sleeps football!  Also Harrie Biemans, a young coach at William II and Harry Drummond a young English man playing in Holland.  That night we had the pleasure of having the two Harry's out with us.  It was fascinating speaking to them about football in Holland.  I honestly would love the opportunity to work in Holland in the future.

It does seem a world apart when you receive the support from the local football authorities & Councils along with the Amateur Clubs.  Top grade facilities and volunteers at hand is another fantastic bonus that as a coach you just want to be involved in. 

My thanks must go to B.J. and Paul for the invite and their hard work.  Also an extended thank you to all the coaches and friends that I had the pleasure of meeting.

Barcelona Club Visit, May 2006

Tim Wareing enjoyed 5 days at FC Barcelona watching training sessions from youth teams through to senior team level.  He was also shown round the Camp Nou and was present to see them lift the Spanish League title against Espanyol.

Tim Wareing said, 'The game at the Camp Nou was the highlight of the trip.  110,000 people watched the derby game between Barca and Espanyol.  The celebrations after the game were unbelievable.  From my seat in the 2nd row, I was beside the sub benches, and was close enough to smell the freshly cut grass, hear the players talk and smell the champagne during the celebrations!'

The main reason for the trip was to exchange ideas and to see the training methods implemented in Europe.  'The set up, as you would imagine, was simply astounding.  Their junior stadium which hosts training sessions and the 'B' team is a 20,000 all-seater stadium!  I've come away with some fresh ideas to put into practice.' Tim Wareing.

George Best Celebration Day, May 2006

TWSports.Org provided their services free of charge to operate Mini Soccer and skill stations on the new grass pitch in the Cregagh Estate.

It was for the George Best Celebration Day which took place on Saturday 20 May 2006.

TWSports.Org welcomed over 130 children who enjoyed the fun activities and games on offer.

28 lucky children selected from TWSports.Org Centres show cased their skills in a Northern Ireland vs. Manchester United Challenge game.

TWSports.Org provided the children with Northern Ireland and Manchester United tops with 'BEST & number 7' on the back.

Derby County Club Visit, February 2006

Visit to see Derby County's Youth Academy and First Team.  We enjoyed watching sessions from the youth team through to the first team.  We were also fortunate to see a first team game at the stadium too.

The club visits are always a great experience to share ideas and meet top, professional coaches.  This was one of our first club visits and the hospitality from Derby County will always be remembered.

TWSports.Org Launched, August 2005!

Tim Wareing launched the first Summer Camp and weekly centre for TWSports.Org in Cregagh (Belfast, Northern Ireland), August 2005.

From humble beginnings of one centre and Tim coaching to now one of the biggest and most respected football coaching brands in Northern Ireland.  Today TWSports.Org operates over 25 weekly sessions, has a staff of over 25 talented people and operates clinics outside of Northern Ireland.  Tim has delivered clinics in Ireland, England, Scotland, Holland, Finland, USA and has published 3 books selling in over 30 different countries.

Cregagh will always remain special to Tim as not only was this the first centre for TW Sports but this is where the great George Best grew up playing football in this estate.  Tim also met his wife here as well!

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