Double the goal-den glory for Sutton Ability Counts football team
It’s come home twice for the Sutton Coldfield College Ability Counts football team! They were named the Association of Colleges (AoC) Sport national champions in April and have just won the English County Football Association’s (ECFA) Knockout Cup.
The team had an unbeaten run at the event held at St George’s Park, coming through group games, quarter and semi-finals before defeating Shipley College 3-1. 12 teams and 150 students took part in the Knockout Cup finals.
Sam Perks, AoC Sport’s disability development officer said: “Congratulations to the Sutton Coldfield College team.
“The quality of football was incredible with a real mix of experience – from those who are new to the sport, to those who play regularly and who have had England trials.
“The event meant so much to both the students and staff and we cannot wait to host more days like this one for college students with disabilities.”
The Ability Counts team’s head coach at the college, Stuart Jamieson, added:“This double success is a phenomenal achievement – we couldn’t be more proud of each player. They have proved invincible in different ways throughout the year such as being unbeaten during both their national tournaments, to scoring over 100 goals throughout the season, conceding just 3 in total. Not many college teams can boast stats like that!
He continued: “We only set up a team in autumn 2016 and their crowning glory was achieving silver medals in the AoC Sport national championships. They may have raised the bar since then but we believe that with further training and development there’ll be other opportunities for them to excel next season and beyond.”
The team have been training at Boldmere St Michaels FC and enjoyed additional coaching with West Bromwich Albion FC’s Foundation team.
Scorer of all three match final goals at the ECFA tournament, Aidan Harris said: “We all did really well on the day – I was really happy. I was also relieved when it was over because it was so hot out there!
“We’re a great team. We’re always relaxed at the start of any match. We agree to go with whatever happens – just so long as we win!”
16-year-old Aidan has completed a Level 1 sport and active leisure course and is progressing on to a Level 2 sports course. “I’ve been playing football for as long as I can remember,” he said. “It’s a big part of my college life – it motivates me to study and gives me the chance to do something I love.”
“Winning the knockout cup is another fantastic team achievement,” said student and team captain, Jon Phillips. “We’ve all been better players this year. There are 14 of us and the team spirit is strong. We’ve learned lots from our coaches and that’s made us more confident.
The 17-year-old added: “Studying sport and activity leadership has helped my fitness improve. I’m more positive about what I can achieve.
“I’m coming back to the college for a Level 3 course in September and will hopefully lead the team again. Once we’re back in training, it’ll be like we were never away.”