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FNF concludes for 2023!

Sadly, our most popular service - Friday Night Football has concluded for 2023.


After our facility provider BH Live Active Littledown announced its December closure due to essential electrical works, we reluctantly have no choice but to take the four-week break from our sessions.


However, what a way to go out! We had no fewer than 8 'of the month' trophies to hand out - as well as medals for all participants to reward their exceptional hard work & application across the last year.


Firstly, we have our 'Attitude of the Month' for both groups across the last 8 weeks. From our younger groups - October's winner was Alex Frietas. James said:


"Alex has really improved his general behaviour over the past few weeks and it's so good to see. He is so keen to learn new skills & is constantly offering to help coaches whenever needed.


Like most participants - he always wants to play a game which is of course why we dedicate a minimum of 1/3rd of the session each week to match practice. What young person doesn't want to play games? Alex really deserves this award, and you can see how excited he was to receive it".



Within the same group, we saw our first 'Attitude of the Month' double award winner! Dylan Khorasani was awarded his second trophy, and James explained why:


"It's so important to me that whoever deserves to win an award, wins one. Just because someone has won before, it absolutely doesn't mean they can't win it again and again!


Dylan has huge 'coachability' - meaning he is so receptive to different learning styles & constantly shows improvement week after week. This is simply down to his consistent application & you can see how much he has taken on board since being with us.


A massive congratulations to him, and keep up the great work".




Keeping with the same group, we come to our 'Player of the Month' trophies. For these awards, we look to award participants who have excelled within the technical & tactical sides of our four-corner coaching methodology.


First up, our winner was Frankie Sains who has demonstrated a range of attributes since joining us midway through this year. James explained:


"Frankie has a brilliant range of 'types of finish' as well as being so positive when attacking 1v1. His pass detail alongside excellent ball manipulation skills make him a very, very worthy winner of this award".



The final winner of the 'youngers' group was Arthur Cotton. Much like Frankie, Arthur is another forward-thinking player who loves to score goals. James told us:


"Arthur is a highly competitive individual. However, he knows to have fun whilst being so which is great! To put it simply, he loves to score goals and will want to shoot at any given opportunity, something we want to encourage at J.Ellis Football.


If things aren't going as positive as he would hope, he channels his competitive nature very well and always puts it into his own performance which is a great trait to have.


Well done to Arthur, Frankie, Dylan & Alex for their application over the last 8 weeks in this group".



Moving onto our 'olders' - first up was Cody Smith-Brown who picked up 'Attitude of the Month' for October. Cody has been a J.Ellis Football member for over a year now, and loves what we offer!


"Cody is someone who came to us after a negative experience of grassroots football. It's a theme I've noticed with a number of our members", James said.


"Too often I hear of stories where young people are refused an opportunity to simply just play, because of a number of reasons.


It's not acceptable, and shouldn't be the case in any football set-up. We have to remember - these are not players, they are just young people playing.


I am so proud that we have created a space where anyone, regardless of ability can simply come and join our groups. Cody, who has so much ability won our Attitude of the Month award because of how much fun he has with us. He runs onto the pitch at the start & doesn't want to get off it at the end - it's a pleasure to work with him".


Joining Cody with a trophy was Bruno Sawarski picking up this months award. James told us:


"It's so hard picking from both groups, as so many of them deserve it. I went with Bruno simply because I have never known a young person be so brave & resilient when in goal.


Bruno seems to come out of nowhere to demonstrate his exceptional shot-stopping ability, but from a psychological perspective regarding this award - there just seems to be nothing that phases him!


He thrives at being in goal, and loves all aspects of goalkeeping - well done Bruno".



The penultimate award was handed to a J.Ellis Football 'veteran'. One half of the Vakatawa brothers - Jordan has shown his wonderful ability for a nearly 18 months at J.Ellis Football!



James said "It's easy to forget that Jordan plays with participants that are mainly a year or two older than him. To dominate the ball as much as he does and show the bravery he does out of possession - is nothing short of exceptional.


Jordan already shows great leadership qualities at such a young age, to communicate as confidently as he does is certainly a rarity.


His parents can be really proud of the attitude he shows & I always say that with a good attitude, it makes the technical and tactical sides of the game far easier to learn and excel at.


Well done, Jordan!"



Our last, but by no means least award winner - is another long-standing member of this group - Yuki French.

"Yuki could have easily won either of our categories, but I thought it was important to recognise his technical improvements over the last few months.


You will normally find Yuki out in wide areas of the pitch and he's confident either in or out of possession 1v1. Having this range of offensive and defensive attributes are a real unique strength of his.


His crossing ability, but even more so - his ability to create a range of different types of crosses is excellent. He has been with us for a long time now, and I know we are giving him the best support to help him stay in love with football".



Reflecting on the year as a whole, James wrote the following remarks:


"I want to thank every participant of our Friday Night Football groups.


I also want to thank the Mum's, Dad's & Guardians that bring them to what we offer each week & often spend many hours standing in the cold supporting with such a positive energy.


I am so proud of everything we have achieved this year. Friday Night Football has evolved into the format that is recognisable today after many different variations throughout 2023. We used to have each group on just half a pitch, sessions were only an hour spread across Wednesday & Fridays plus there never was J.Ellis kit!


What we wanted to do was centralise everything, have groups running consecutively, give participants usage of full pitches & see everyone representing J.Ellis Football with our amazing kit range. Even trophies never used to be a thing, now they are many participants favourite bit! All of the change & evolution has come from us listening to our members and actioning things that they wanted to see. There is no point just thinking 'we know best' - it's all about making sure we are delivering what our members want to our exceptionally high standards.


We've created a culture here and an environment that is unique in the grassroots football world. This is why we have such a long waiting list for FNF & I just simply can't wait to get going even bigger & better in 2024!


I hope all of our members have a very Happy Christmas and an amazing New Year!


James".


Friday Night Football will return on Friday 5th January and all participants will be sent details of this. The groups are currently full - but you can join our waiting list by getting in touch with us via email.


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