Our ‘Junior Chat’ feature is all about showcasing our thriving Junior section and in the spotlight here is our U10’s Racing. The Racing team compete in the East Berkshire Football Alliance. They are coached by Joe Legge & Rhys Beer and managed by Paul Allen.
We spoke to Paul to get the lowdown on why he chose Ascot, the Racing’s season so far, the highs and lows of the squad and the joy of summer tournaments.
2022/23 season so far
The 2022/23 season has started well for us. Some great games of football, close matches and lots of fun.
It’s been extra special after last season, where we found it tough, but for all the boys to keep coming back, week in week out makes it all worthwhile. I’m also really surprised at how quickly the boys are developing this season, their reading of the game, improved communication and putting training in to practice all grows each week.
What brought you to Ascot?
I came to Ascot United after my son got in to football. He’d outgrown Little Kickers, so we took him to the U6’s Soccer School and he hasn’t looked back since. After one of the sessions the parents were called together and talked through the club, how it worked and I knew I wanted to get involved from then.
What do you enjoy most about coaching the Racing?
It’s hard to say what I enjoy most about running the team, there are lots of parts to it. Seeing the boys on a Saturday, the excitement for the game ahead, chatting away with their mates, then watching the game as some of our training comes to life is really nice too. But generally the fact that they come back each week with a smile on their face ready to go again. That’s the beauty of football at this age, no matter the result, you’ll be back on the pitch in a couple of days time to have another go.
Oh I and I love the rain, wind and cold weather and how far my wardrobe has had to come to keep me warm and dry!
What’s been your highlight of the Racing tenure so far?
The highlight is also really tough too, but after the 2021/22 season had ended we took part in a couple of six-a-side competitions. I must admit I remembered them fondly from my youth, so I thought it was another excuse for the boys to play football. The first one was the annual Ascot United one, which we found tough with some great sides there, but the second one in Windsor was a different story. Although we didn’t make it out of our group we went in to the Shield competition and with two wins we won it! It was such a positive end to a tough season and to see the boys beaming faces really made it all worthwhile. I’m convinced it’s boiled over in to this season and given them so much confidence to keep enjoying their football.
Have there been any moments of adversity for the Racing and how have you overcome that?
I’ve mentioned it a few times, last season was tough. I’ve managed the team since they were U7’s and each season we’d win games, lose some and draw the others, a healthy balance. But last year, luck just wasn’t on our side. Defeat after defeat and sometimes some big ones, but not once did the boys moan or complain, they always came training and never gave up and the parents have been so supportive, we couldn’t have been prouder of them.
Something to celebrate about the Racing
I think the togetherness of the team is something to celebrate. Six of the boys have been with us since U7’s and each year we have welcomed new players in to the team seamlessly. It’s the same with the parents too.
Everyone helps each other out with lifts to training and matches, support for work outside of football and generally being a great bunch. Oh and of course the swapping of World Cup stickers helping each other complete their books – it’s for the kids, honestly!
One more thing…
I can’t forget the coaches and Archana who does all of the admin for us, we have a great group and we make it work between us, ensure training sessions are great each week and that we always turn up on time and in the right places – well nearly always (you know who you are!).
Good luck for the rest of your season, Racing!
The U10’s Racing are sponsored by Savills for the 2022/23 season.
If you’d like to have your team featured in Junior Chat, please get in contact with our Marketing & Media Manager, Abi.