Forget The Numbers, The Rewards Are There If You Recognise Them...........
Wednesday 26th February
With two of the U9 Flame players absent on Saturday due to illness and injury, some clubs may decide that with a friendly postponed because of this, it is better to just ‘have a week off’ and those remaining two players who were available, can just rest for the weekend.
That’s not the case at this club..............
With Amaana still injured due to her bruised achilles, and Leela suffering with a heavy cold that is affecting so many people at this time of the year, the club made sure that the remaining players (Daisy and Lilly) would go through an hour-long training session at Sun Postal.
The two girls were put through their paces with training exercises such as dribbling, close control, passing through channels & gates, breaking with pace, communication, short and long passing and also shooting.
During the session, there was plenty of time for Q&A’s from both the Coach and the players, with the players encouraged to answer challenging questions and the opportunity to make their own decisions.
It was a very proactive and positive session that hopefully will continue to reap the benefits for the next few months and have those players fit ready and up to speed as a group, ready to go in the 2020/2021 season.
Hopefully both Amaana and Leela will return to full training in the next week and we’ll be almost at full strength and work on even more advanced training. Then more practice and friendly matches will be organised.
Well done Flames!!
The Hard Work Paying Dividends
Wednesday 26th February
Sometimes when you stand and watch youth football at any level, there will be glimpses that are not always obvious to everyone. But if you spend time coaching players and watching them week in week out, you then notice the small things that the players are taught and asked to do. Especially when this happens in a match scenario like Saturday for the LGDA U9’s.
It will be rare to hear the U9 Coaches (Lee & Laura) bellowing out to the players during play. instead, the players are given simple instructions, challenges and conditions to follow during the game. Ideas that will make the girls think for themselves and challenge themselves and each other.
So the next time you watch a game, and without any instructions from the Coaching staff you see players move into a more defensive position when a team mate moves further forwards, or you may witness the odd hand gesture of communication between players in a break in play. Take pride in the fact that the players are putting into practice, the challenges that the Coaches have set them.
It was apparent on Saturday for the LGDA U9’s, that the players had been given the responsibility to make their own decisions during the game. But they were also told to keep to a certain formation and cover each other where required. Incorporated into that, was the encouragement to rotate positions themselves and decide as and when they would do that.
That is how the club want to develop and educate the players. When you see it happening, it is a proud moment for Coaches & Staff.
Long may this continue to grow and improve.
Well Done Sila
Wednesday 12th February
Well done to another of our young players on Saturday, who was awarded “Player of the Match” for the LGDA U9’s by both team’s Coaches.
It’s nice to receive the accolade from your own Coaches on the day obviously, but it was a great touch by the Coaches of Meninas Salvador to award Sila with a certificate on the day.
Sila had a fantastic morning and stopped many attacks and goals during the game.
Sila was alert, confident and happy throughout the match, and came away from the
game with a huge smile on her face.
And that folks, is what is it all about.........................
The development and improvement will continue to happen with Sila and the rest
of the U9’s. But seeing that smile can brighten the most glum moods.
Taking Huge Strides Forwards!
Saturday 8th February
After yet another tough away fixture to an organised Meninas Salvador side on Saturday. there was plenty of discussion to be had from parents and coaches as to how far the LGDA U9’s had come since August, and how much there is to look forward to in the future.
You only had to compare the result from yesterday, compared with the one earlier in the season (if you can remember that far back). We know that results are genuinely not important at this age, and the girls are there to enjoy themselves.
However, when you come off the pitch and notice the difference in play, the organisation and the chances created by the away side, you know that everything is moving in the right direction.
there are special moments during a game that may be overlooked if you blink. To see a player “high five” a team mate after they have gone close with a chance, or many constantly talking and helping each other, you can see that the bonds are building.
It was a game played on a difficult pitch that had more holes than Lost Jungle London and was about the same size as a Premier League Technical Area, but it is the same situation for both teams and the size and strength of the Meninas players compared to our girls, maybe gave them an early advantage as LGDA had to soak up a lot of pressure.
We may have conceded a few goals, but that never stopped the work rate from the away team. The resolute tracking back and defending the goal was great to see and our girls were trying to play their way out from defence. After all, taking a goal kick had already proved to cause another goal kick at the other end, due to the difficulties of playing on a postage stamp.
The girls continued to dig deep. The second and third quarters were goalless and then the amount of chances that were created by the away team in the final quarter had their parents on a constant high.
We do thank Meninas for hosting the match and looking after our players. It is indeed a fantastic gesture to pick out an award for player of the Match for the opposition, and Sila was over the moon to accept the award.
We look forward to the return fixture at Sun Postal in the coming months, and a chance to stretch the legs a bit.
LGDA U9 Fire Squad - Sila, Gracie, Rosie, Saskia, Izzy, Zahraa-Ayn & Frankie
Player of the Month
Congratulations to our U9 player Frankie Gilligan, who was voted as the team’s Maru Swimwear Player of the Month for January 2020.
Not only had Frankie featured in every match during January (including the 7v7 friendly in the first week again Garston Ladies FC U9’s), but Frankie has also weighed in with two goals during the month, some excellent performances and also a cameo spot in goal.....!!
As the U9’s youngest player, Frankie’s enthusiasm and personality is infectious and her work rate is fantastic.
Having also not missed a training session this season, Frankie fully deserved the accolade that was awarded to her by the parents and supporters for the U9’s.
Well done Frankie! Keep up the hard work.
A Great Week of Training
Saturday 8th February
There was a different approach to training in the past week for the LGDA U9’s. Of course, the first thing for them when they turn up, is to grab a football and have a little “free time” in doing what they want to do, whilst we wait for everyone to arrive and be ready.
But for the past two training sessions there were some new drills added for them to learn. Then on Thursday, they really stepped up the pace and were challenged to where we want to take them all in the coming months and seasons.
There were “high tempo” running drills, exercises to help mobility and awareness, ideas given to the players as to how or where the exercises may be moved into a match day scenario. Philosophies that have been put in place at the club by Leon Holden, and ones that we will continue to strive to achieve.
Incorporated into that were the normal passing drills, communication and energy that we want to see from the players.
All the questions that we asked of them were answered. They stepped up to the challenged and performed them like they had been doing them all season. Some of the most rewarding aspects of Coaching, are when players “know” what drills to do when they have only been shown once. So having tried new challenges on Tuesday, the same scenarios were setup on Thursday and the girls got straight into them without really being reminded what to do. And they performed them all brilliantly.
Then rounding off Thursday evening with match scenarios that encouraged the girls to play, communicate, laugh and have fun and also think for themselves. That was a joy to see.
It truly was a great week of training and the groundwork put into place for the final few months of training.
Well done to all the girls. Let’s take that into a match day now...........
The "Flame" team are hard at work
Thursday 6th February
Whilst the LGDA U9 Fire team are enjoying their Hertfordshire Girls Football Partnership League matches on a Saturday morning, the players that we have also recruited into the club over the past couple of months are hard at work preparing for next season.
The club tried hard to recruit enough players to have another U9 team in the League from January, but our efforts were only just in vain.
However, we were able to bring in Leela, Amaana, Daisy and Lilly. They were quickly names as the U9 ‘Flame’ and are training during the week with the rest of the squad.
But these girls are also getting extra training on a Saturday morning, as well as the club trying to arrange friendly fixtures throughout the second part of the season.
The aim is to have these girls ready to start a new campaign in the 2020/2021 season with a couple of extra recruits. They are working very hard, putting in fantastic efforts and already building on team play and high tempo football.
Along with the U9 ‘Fire’ squad, they are enjoying their football, smiling and building relationships at the club.
The hard work will continue, the energy and enthusiasm will continue, and these Flame’s are going to grow and grow.
We are already very proud of these girls!
Another Morning of Development
Saturday 1st February
Facing another tough test against Berko Raiders Galactics on Saturday, the LGDA U9 ‘Fire’ players arrived for their match with the usual enthusiasm that you would want from a team. A lot of work had gone on during training to emphasise ‘playing out from the back’ and players positional sense in various areas of the pitch.
The match consisted of a counter attacking style that both teams enjoy. Most U9 fixtures are played this way unless you have an absolute dominant team. Every player from both teams were working hard and hoping for rewards for their endeavours.
For the LGDA U9 ‘Fire’, Saskia had seen her recent form rocket in matches and this was evident as she tucked away a very good goal into the far corner. It was just reward for her movement into space and hard work in chasing down the opposition.
With player rotation a frequent aspect of the match, both in substitutions and positions on the pitch, the Coaches certainly had their work cut out in moving the girls around. But the details are always recorded so that the club and Coaches all know who is playing where and when. This is vitally important to the player’s development and to be able to listen to the girls and take on their thoughts and opinions too.
As you would expect in a match, teams have periods of dominance and this game was no different. Berko Raiders are a good side and work hard. They were pushing hard and then so were our girls. Another spell in the final quarter saw a flurry of shots from the home team that resulted in the ball deflecting out to Frankie on the edge of the area. Frankie then struck the ball with a left footed shot that went into the corner of the match. Another player getting her rewards from her efforts during the game.
On the final whistle, this was once again another match where the players had improved on previous results against the Galactics and there is clear evidence that improvements are continuing throughout the team.
The main thing is that the players leave the pitch with a smile on their faces. If they have worked hard, played as well as they can on the day and come off with a smile, then they have had fun.
Many thanks to Berko Raiders Galactics for another exciting game. The Coaches and Players were friendly throughout the match.
LGDA U9 Fire Squad : Rosie, Saskia, Izzy, Zahraa, Gracie, Frankie & Jess
Goals : Saskia & Frankie
Another close game!
Saturday 25th January
It was the first home fixture of 2020, as the LGDA U9’s played host to St Albans Youth on Saturday 18th. It was a chilly morning and there was a slight frost, but the sun was out and with a training session taking place on the pitch prior to their warm up, it was starting to soften and both Coaches were happy. With many other clubs postponing matched due to the weather, we can be grateful for a fantastic venue and staff to look after the pitches at Sun Postal Sports Club.
Sporting our new MUMS Can Do sponsored Red kit, the girls looked splendid for the match in the sunshine.
With the team still missing Gracie due to illness, the first ten minutes was almost like a game of chess. Players advancing and then tracking back and chances being created for both sides on the counter attack. You really couldn’t separate the teams.
However, St Albans took hold of the second quarter and were gifted a couple of goals where a slight lack of concentration by the home team proved costly.
Some words of encouragement and guidance from the coaches at half-time saw the girls go back onto the pitch full of enthusiasm and a willingness to get back into the game. It was an even third quarter between the sides again, with Frankie getting on target from a great solo run and also a fine assist from Zahraa.
The final quarter came along and with more changes around the playing squad, a move that
had been worked on many times in training, once again became fruitful as Jess setup Izzy for
her first League goal of the campaign.
It was another good performance from the LGDA team, against a well organised and friendly
St Albans team. We thank them all for the match and wish them well for the rest of the season.
We’ll hopefully look forward to seeing them again next season as U10’s
LGDA Squad : Sila, Izzy, Rosie, Zahraa, Saskia, Frankie & Jess
LGDA Scorers : Frankie (2), Izzy
Overseeing Things from a Distance
Tuesday 21st January
He may be less of a frequent visitor to training and matches compared to previous seasons and in pre-season during the club’s Open Training Sessions, but LGDA Head of Coaching and Child Welfare Officer Leon Holden, has been kept fully up to date with everything that has been happening at the club, and the progression of the U9’s this season.
Leon had to limit his attendance due to work commitments and the opportunity to work closely with Cambridge Utd Ladies Development. But that has not prevented him from keeping an eye on things from a distance.
With an eye on the development of not only the U9 Players and the interest in new players coming in, Leon has also been pleased with the partnership between the two primary Coaches in Lee Warwick and Laura Evans.
“Lee came to the club with plenty of experience in Youth Football and was the perfect mentor for Laura, who has just passed her Level One course in Coaching and wanted to understand the game more. It was the perfect match and both have been doing a great job in developing the players, along with Lee Evans as cover on occasions. We have also been able to bring Jack Cope in to do a Goalkeeping session with the girls and this is something that we want to do more often”.
With the support of Leon in the distance, plus the same support from Chairman John McDermott and the rest of the Board, the club is in good shape and plans for the future should be announced soon.
We also hope that Leon’s visits back to training and matches will become more frequent and that smiley energetic face will be a regular sight.
Player of the Month
Congratulations to Isabela Velez-Torres, who was voted as the LGDA U9’s Maru Swimwear sponsored Player of the Month for
The voting was very close in December, as the girls have all really started to show fantastic development since the start of the season, but “Izzy” has worked really hard and her improvement on the football pitch and the support for her team mates from the touchline has been fantastic.
The Coaching team for the U9’s have been really impressed with Izzy, and felt that the recognition was fully deserved.
Izzy has been working hard on her communication, reading of the game, tackling and now developing her skills in playing out from defence and keeping possession. When the coaching of the players starts to emulate on the pitch, it is a Coaches delight.
We want to see Izzy continue with that development and performances through to the end of the season.
Back to League Action with a Bang!
Wednesday 15th January
LGDA U9’s returned to League action as they made the short journey to face Chorleywood Common Youth FC on a slighty chilly and blustery Saturday morning.
It was the first time that the girls had played as a team on a 3G surface, having only trained and played on grass since September. So it was going to be interesting to see how they adjusted to both the playing and weather conditions. We were missing Gracie for the game as she recovered from illness, but the rest of the squad were present.
Sporting their Flahive Brickwork Ltd Green & Black away kit, the girls made a sluggish start to the game, which can only be expected under the circumstances. However, they worked extremely hard throughout the opening 10 minutes and created some good chances, as well as defending well too.
The girls then started to find their gears and the football began to flow. Working through their passing techniques that they have been working on through their twice weekly training, the counter attacking and chances created by both teams made for an exciting end-to-end thirty minutes. With the match well officiated and with both sets of parents & supporters enjoying the tension, it was a game that you just couldn’t predict. Goalkeepers on both teams were doing well to keep the scores close. With Sila & Saskia taking turns between the sticks for the away team, and doing very well indeed.
Both sets of players continued to create chances and the match was played in a fantastic spirit. It was hard work for everyone but these girls are made of tough stuff and they are learning all the time. The nailbiting final whistle was greeted with smiles & handshakes all round. Chorleywood were great hosts and we hope to play them again in the near future.
Our players could go home and enjoy the rest of
the weekend with another game under their
belts, another new experience as a team on a
different surface, and plenty of new ideas &
thoughts on a fixture to aid in their future
development as individuals and a team.
LGDA Squad : Sila, Izzy, Rosie, Zahraa, Saskia,
Frankie & Jess
LGDA Scorers : Jess (2), Rosie (2)
Saturday 4th January
On Saturday the U9’s took their first steps towards their development for next season, as they look to make the step up to the U10 age group.
We welcomed Garston Ladies FC U9 Wildcats along for a 7v7 friendly match on a larger pitch that the girls are used to, and of course more players out on the field as well.
Wearing the clubs Flahive Brickwork Ltd sponsored away kit, we were delighted to be able to include Leela, Amaana, Daisy and Lilly in the matchday squad, knowing that they would be getting plenty of game time, and their first-hand experience of playing against another team, rather than their own team mates on a training night.
With the girls pleased to be returning to the pitch after the festive break, they wanted to clear the cobwebs and get back to enjoying their football.
Playing three separate matches, it gave both clubs the opportunity to rotate their players, positions and allow them all plenty of game time. All the players from both teams clearly had energy to burn and it was great to see them all working really hard.
With both teams recording goals, excellent passing, attacking play and good
defending, there were also some fantastic saves from both sets of goalkeepers.
Sila worked very hard for the LGDA team and the Garston goalkeepers also
made a huge contribution to their team.
Both sets of Coaches were really pleased with the way their teams and players
performed on the day, the parents were fantastic and encouraging throughout,
and it was a great way to start the New Year.
We would like to thank the Players, Coaches, Parents and Supporters from
Garston for agreeing to the friendly. We hope that we can arrange more games
in the future and always look forward to seeing them during the season.
For the Home team, it was great for the new players to gain match experience.
Our regular players gained a taste of 7v7 on a larger pitch. Jess carried on
where she left 2019 with a well taken goal, and congratulations to Isabela who
scored her first goal for the club.
This is where we want to develop our players and take them forwards for
next season. All the proactive work starts now.
Stepping Up Training For Next Season
Wednesday 8th January
With the current U9 squad looking extremely busy from now until the end of the season, and being in the unfortunate situation where we just missed out on adding a new U9 team to the League in January, we have been stepping up the available training sessions to our new players, ahead of putting them together as a team next season.
So last Saturday saw the first of many training sessions that will occur prior to the registered U9 matches, and with future friendly matches to be scheduled, this is indeed a case of planning for the future.
Despite the early start & slightly frozen pitch, we were missing Amaana due to injury but had Leela, Daisy and Lilly available to train, assisted by Luke (to make up the numbers) for an hour.
The girls went through many drills to focus on close control, accuracy and strength of passing, shooting practice and more passing drills that also relied on movement and speed.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable session that had laughter, smiles, technical football and everything you could ask for out of a training session.
We want to bring more players in, to add to the squad for next year. But this bunch are already showing signs of good team play and a friendliness that will be taken onto the pitch in 2020 / 2021.
Well done to all the players, looking forward to more and more sessions with you.
Excellent First 2020 Training Session
Thursday 2nd January
Everyone at the LGDA couldn’t wait to get back to training, so a session was arranged as early as possible and Thursday evening saw eight players getting back onto the training pitch and dusting off the cobwebs.
It was almost as if they hadn’t even been away......................
Focusing on passing, control of the ball, communication, awareness, concentration and many other exercises that you can squeeze into an hour, it was an excellent session and one that all the girls enjoyed.
With question and answer breaks between the drills, it’s important to make sure that the girls are connected with the exercises that they are asked to do and that they understand them.
With plenty of encouragement and a match added into the session at the end, it was great to see all of the players enjoying themselves and doing what the love best.
Playing football & having fun.
Festive Fun - Now Back to the Action!
It was a busy time leading up to the Festive Break in December. Not only did the girls have matches to play on Saturday mornings, but as well as training twice weekly, the busy Coaches also had mid-season Player Reviews to complete.
As you would expect with such a fun, crazy and excited group of girls, there was a Secret Santa arranged, as well as a Christmas Bowling event. All the girls throughout December had loads of fun both on and off the pitch.
The girls were also treated to an impromptu visit from Chairman, John McDermott. John arrived at the final training session of the year, with his own little festive gifts. Bringing along selection packs for each player, before they headed off. Perhaps next year we’ll get John in a Santa outfit.....................!!
The festive season is one that we all look forward to, but then there is the REAL excitement afterwards, returning back to training and preparing for the next 5 months with fixtures to be released soon.
There are still players away on seasonal breaks, but I know that they are all busting to return and resume their football.
The staff can’t wait either!
Mid-Season Reviews Completed
Thursday 19th December
Yesterday evening saw the final four of the U9’s Player Mid-Season Reviews completed at Sun Postal
Both of the U9 Coaches (Lee & Laura) had been working together to build each player’s bespoke reviews
and to sit down with the parents and players prior to the festive break.
The reviews were based on the FA’s four corners of football development and giving the players medium and long term development plans.
All of the reviews have been extremely positive and the players & parents all seem very happy at the club and with the progress and development of the squad.
Well done to both Coaches on their hard work in the first four months of the season and we look forward to returning in January to continue to see the girls grow and improve individually and as a united group.
Player of the Month
Congratulations to Jess Sheppard, who was voted LGDA U9 Player of the Month for November.
Jess received the award at the weekend and was voted by the parents of all the players, for her excellent work ethic at training and matches, and for her teamwork throughout the month.
Jess has been superb since the start of the season and is not only growing in confidence with every game that she plays, but her football is growing and developing fantastically as well.
Not only has her teamwork been excellent, but Jess has also had a hunger for goals. Helping herself to six goals in three games
Jess took home the Player of the Month trophy, plus a certificate and voucher from our Player of the Month sponsors this season,
Thank you to MARU Swimwear for their continued support and congratulations to Jess on a deserved award.
Saturday 16th November
On another perfect morning for football, the LGDA Phoenix travelled to Berkhamsted to face the Astros. This was our second game against our hosts this season, having faced them for the opening game of the season.
The girls had worked hard at training during the week and had impressed both the coaches with their efforts and concentration. So today was an opportunity to put all that practice into a game situation.
The girls were certainly on the front foot and fully focused on the game. There was some excellent passing, the communication was fantastic and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves throughout the 4 ten-minute quarters.
Berko Astros were the perfect hosts for the match and it was a friendly atmosphere throughout. From players to parents and coaches, everyone seemed to be enjoying the match.
A special mention has to go out to Girl of the Match, Saskia Cole. Along with
the rest of the squad, Saskia has been working on her focus for matches and
her concentration levels were there for all to see, as she scored her first goal
of the season. An excellent reward for her efforts on the day.
Well done to all the girls, there were loads of smiles coming off the pitch at
the end, and now they can continue that hard work this week in training once
Matchday Squad : Sila, Saskia, Izzy, Gracie, Rosie, Zahraa-Ayn, Frankie & Jess.
Goals : Jess (3), Frankie (2), Saskia.
Days That Make You Proud
Saturday 9th November
There are some moments in every day life where you feel the utmost pride for the hard work that you put in. It can be for the simplest of reasons, but they are moments that you cherish for a very long time.
This moment can be described as such, when our LGDA U9’s hosted Tottenham Hotspur Women U9’s at Sun Postal Sports Club on Saturday morning.
It was a typical November morning. Foggy, a little on the chilly side, but a perfect day for a game of football and against a very well organised team. When you welcome and host a team with a reputation and name such as Spurs, it adds a little sparkle to the morning. It also gives you the hunger to one day be in that position where clubs are just as excited about hosting your own club.
Both teams arrived and were looking forward to the game. The pitch was in excellent condition and there were smiles all round. Then prior to the match came the first moment of pride.
To have both sets of Players, Coaches, Officials & Supporters standing in union, to observe a minutes silence to pay their respects to our many war heroes who have lost their lives in conflict. It was a poignant moment and observed perfectly.
Then onto another fantastic game of football. Another 40 minutes of end-to-end action which would see so many chances created, goals scored, fantastic goalkeeping displays and an enthusiasm for the game that should be encouraged, nurtured and championed.
This game once again had everything from an LDGA perspective. From a penalty save by Sila in the first quarter, to countless attacks that found a Spurs keeper in absolute superb form. Our players were denied a handful of goals by a keeper who could not only pull off great saves, but had a drop kick that would reach the final third in the opposition half. Such a great asset and attacking option!
The photos and the smiles at the end are what makes this all worthwhile. Standing with your opponents, thanking them for an enjoyable game. Wishing them the best wishes for the weekend and the rest of the season.
We also had our own little hat-trick hero on the day!
But there was more than just the one hero for this day.
Our entire squad battled like heroes, our keepers
made great saves and put their bodies on the line, the
girls defended so much better and stronger & attacked
the opposition more frequently, and once again came
off the pitch with smiles.
But they also paid their respects to the real heroes.
The ones that are no longer seen, but will never be
Our war heroes............
Matchday Squad : Sila, Izzy, Zahraa-Ayn, Saskia, Gracie,
Rosie, Jess & Frankie.
Scorer(s) - Jess (3)
A Tough Day in the Rain
Saturday 9th November
It was another tough game for the LGDA U9 Phoenix last Saturday, as they travelled to London to play Tottenham Hotspur Women U9’s at the Frederick Knights Sports Ground.
There were doubts from the travelling players, coaches and parents as to whether the game would actually go ahead due to the amount of rain that had fallen in the days leading up to the game.
The morning had started brightly but by the time everyone had arrived at the ground and as kick off approached, down came the driving rain and wind again.
It was agreed between the coaches that it was best for as many of the players to get as much playing time as possible and therefore the match was played as a 7v7 fixture. This left our LGDA side with just the one substitute, but once Zahraa was taken ill and returned home, the girls then battled bravely and played the entire fixture with no subs.
With an unfamiliar pitch size, a new playing format and with different goals to normal, this was indeed a brand new challenge for the girls and adding to that was the fact they were playing Tottenham and in the pouring rain.
As usual, the girls didn’t let the situations faze them and they take on any challenges placed in front of them. They never stop working hard and they created lots of chances that they would have wished had been converted.
So this was an excellent lesson for our girls and considering this is only their 8th match in league football, they have faced an amazing amount of challenges so early in their footballing careers.
A big thank you has to go to Tottenham for their hospitality and the suggestion of moving up to the next format to allow all the girls to play and prevent them standing around in the cold and rain. Needless to say there was no hanging around to get home!!
We’ll look forward to the reverse fixture this coming Saturday and hopefully another enjoyable game.
Player of the Month
Congratulations to Sila, who was nominated as our U9 October Player of the Month, sponsored by Maru Swimwear.
Sila had worked hard in training and never gave up in her performances on the pitch every Saturday morning. No matter what the challenge was, Sila stepped up and kept going.
Sila took home the trophy after the match against Tottenham Hotspur Women U9’s and will see it take pride of place at home for the month.
Thank you to all the parents for their votes and congratulations again to Sila. Not only does she look after the trophy, but she also receives a free item from the Maru Swimwear online catalogue.
"A Great Little Team"
Saturday 26th October
You know that you are doing the right thing and the hard work is paying off, when you receive compliments from other clubs and coaches. That was exactly the feedback that the LGDA received on Saturday from the St Albans City Youth U9 Romans Coach.
Recognising that the team were missing both Rosie and Gracie and that the majority of the players were only seven, the Romans Coach was so impressed by our girls.
“We have been together for over a year and our girls are 8 years old.
It is fantastic that your girls are playing their first season together
in the U9’s and they are a great little team.”
It is praise like this that make everyone in the background proud.
From the Chairman through to the Club Secretary and Treasurer,
we take absolute pride in what we want to achieve for the club and
players and very pleased with the work of the coaches.
Above all, it is the hard work from the players that will hopefully see
the compliments and praise continue. To play with a smile, to learn
about the game and to develop as individuals but more importantly
as a squad. They are our main aims this season.
Be patient with our football & be patient with the results.To grow,
develop and achieve our goals. The results & success will come in
We have no doubt about that.
LGDA vs St Albans City Youth Romans
Saturday 26th October
With Rosie still away on her holibobs and a late withdrawal from Gracie with illness, the young LGDA U9 Phoenix players took to the field on Saturday against a strong St Albans City Youth Romans side, with only one substitute for the first time this season.
The girls would not let this faze them though. Even if one or two others had been under the weather during the week as well, our girls were going out onto the pitch to give everything they had. The rain had held off, the wind wasn’t too strong and there was the occasional glimpse of sunshine.
With plenty of smiles from both sides before the match and the Coaches going through the last minute checks, the game eventually kicked off and the players never stopped from start to finish. Both sides attacked, counter-attacked, broke up play and attacked again. It was great to see so much enjoyable football in the space of 40 minutes and a great deal of ability on the pitch from both sets of players.
You could see from the smiles that the coaches were enjoying the game, and you could tell from the encouragement on the touchline that the parents & supporters were as well.
This game had end-to-end action. All Goalkeepers who took turns between the sticks were pulling off fantastic blocks. Throwing their bodies on the line and blocking shots that defied the odds. Sila made a stunning block from a powerful shot which was as brave as anything. Undeterred, she got up and continued to laugh and smile through the pain.
The Red Phoenix first goal came from a perfect set-piece. Frankie crossing and Jess firing home on the volley. That combination worked again later in the match with Frankie providing Jess with a defence splitting pass, and Jess made no mistake with her effort. Slotting home from an acute angle into the far corner.
The girls were pressed all the way by St Albans. Our opposition were quick, pressuring high and also deadly in attack. Their goals were so well taken, although they were aided by two unlucky own goals on our part. Deflections are always so very cruel but they are a part of the game and we never let them get our girls down.
One of the stand-out players for the LGDA was Izzy. Making some fantastic runs, tracking back to win the ball and recycle play. She worked her socks off and received many plaudits for her efforts. It’s great to see all of the girls improving week-by-week. Not just individually, but as a whole squad.
It was another great experience for all of our players and we have to thank St Albans for coming over to play us in such a friendly atmosphere. We wish them all a fantastic and successful season and we look forward to playing them later in the season.
Matchday Squad : Sila Catley, Saskia Cole, Jess Sheppard, Izzy Velez-Torres, Frankie Gilligan & Zahraa-Ayn Shabir.
Goals : Jess Sheppard (2)
Meninas Salvador vs LGDA
Saturday 19th October
On a chilly but Sunny morning in Ware, the Red Phoenix of LGDA travelled away to face Meninas Salvador. The second time in a few weeks that the players had to make the journey to face another strong Meninas U9 team.
With Rosie missing for the match, the girls were in a buoyant mood after last week performance but knew that this would be a tough game against a very well organised club and team.
The girls had a very good start to the game and began playing out from the back and trying to move the ball forwards. It was again a frantic pace as both teams worked hard to create opportunities. Frankie Gilligan took advantage of one of our chances and made no mistake.
There were many more chances created during the game for the Red Phoenix. Forcing the Meninas keeper into some good saves and hitting the woodwork. On another day the chances would have been more successful, but the positives are that the team are creating very good opportunities.
There are always opportunities to learn in every game, against every opposition. The pace, physicality and high pressing by Meninas is something that our girls can look to develop into their own game as the season progresses. Saturday was certainly a great learning curve and we thank everyone at Meninas Salvador for their hospitality and another very good match.
LGDA Squad : Sila Catley, Jess Sheppard, Frankie Gilligan, Saskia Cole, Izzy Velez-Torres, Grace Elliott & Zahraa-Ayn Shabir.
Player of the Month
Congratulations to Zahraa-Ayn, who won the award for LGDA U9’s September Player of the Month, sponsored by Maru Swimwear.
Zahraa received the accolade after the votes from her team-mates parents, for her efforts in training on top of her performances in matches on a Saturday morning.
Zahraa was delighted with the award and a free item from the Maru Swimwear online catalogue.
LGDA vs Chorely Common Youth FC Snow Leopards
Saturday 12th October
It may have been a soggy, wet and depressing morning for some on Saturday, but for the players of both London Girls Development Academy of Football and Chorleywood Common Youth FC Snow Leopards, it was GAME DAY and the chance of another 40 minutes of football in the Herts Girls Football Partnership League U9 Pink Division.
Nothing was going to dampen the spirits of anyone out on that pitch!!
If ever there was a game to make the Coaches, Parents & Supporters completely forget about the weather and just stand there and enjoy a fantastic morning of football, then this was it.
The match had goals, excitement, great passing, great saves and the enthusiasm and friendliness that you want to see from Child Friendly fixtures. It was a match that would put a smile on anyone’s face and both teams were a credit to the League.
It was a thriller, with end-to-end football on display. One attack led
to a turnover in play and another attack, and this just continued
throughout. The players on both sides were a credit to their coaches
and parents. Never did they stop playing and working hard. Both
sides scored some lovely goals and there were plenty to share out.
For the LGDA, there were goals for Frankie Gilligan (4),
Jess Sheppard (3), Rosie Austin & Zahraa-Ayn Shabir.
But this wasn’t just about who scored goals, it was about the whole
team taking part. It was about the football that was played. It was
about creating friendships and respect in the game and showing
just how football can and should be played.
It was an absolute joy to host the Snow Leopards and we look
forward to travelling to Chorleywood later in the season for another
LGDA Squad : Sila Catley, Gracie Elliott, Saskia Cole,
Izzy Velez-Torres, Zahraa-Ayn Shabir, Rosie Austin, Frankie Gilligan
and Jess Sheppard.
Goals : Jess Sheppard (2)
Berkhamsted Galactics vs LGDA
Saturday 5th October
It was an away journey for the “Red Phoenix” at the weekend, with a trip to Berkhamsted to face the “Galactics”. It was also a chance for U9 Head Coach Lee Warwick to watch over his players for the first time this season.
With the girls eager to get going, Lee wanted to focus more on positional play and to see how the players adapt to certain instructions and positional play. With the opening exchanges dominated by the Home side, it took the LGDA players a while to find their feet and begin to mount some offensive moves on their opposition. However, playing on the counter attack suited the girls and they created some half chances that were unfortunate not to reap the rewards.
The team continued to be rotated during the four quarters of the match, with the girls playing particular attention to defensive challenges and conditions put in place. Playing against another experienced side, it was a tough fixture for the girls, but one that they will learn plenty from and take into the rest of the season. It was also a great exercise for Lee, as he could see his players in a match scenario for the first time and be able to begin to plan future training sessions and development for the girls.
Whilst chances, decisions and luck may not always go their way, it can be easy to forget sometimes, that this is the first season of the girls playing together as a team, and also that five of the eight-player-squad are playing a year up in their football and they will grow stronger and develop through these challenges.
There was no chance of the players dropping their levels of effort and they continued to play with a smile right through to the end of the match. They were also rewarded for their efforts when Jess Sheppard drove down the right side and her drilled shot across goal was deflected in. The cheers from the parents certainly gave those players a boost and the knowledge that their hard work was appreciated and rewarded.
Having enjoyed a morning of football once again, London Girls Development Academy would like to thank everyone at Berko Raiders Galactics for their hospitality. The Players, Coach, Referee and Parents/Supporters were friendly throughout and we look forward to the return match later in the season.
This is indeed a season of development and progression. Plans are in place for the future of the players and the future of the club. Taking a quote from a song that stands absolutely true with this fantastic bunch of players..........
“We believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way”.
LGDA vs Garston ladies Wildcats
Saturday 28th September
London Girls Development Academy welcomed Garston Ladies U9’s to Sun Postal Sports Club on Saturday, for our latest match in the HGFPL. It was the “Red Phoenx” against the “Wildcats” and all the girls were looking forward to the match, sporting their new club tracksuit tops and beaming smiles.
The coaches set out the warm up exercises and planned the teams for the morning. With four quarters to the match, there were plenty of opportunities to rotate the squad, playing styles and positions. The challenge for the girls today, was to try a position that would take them out of their comfort zone and see how they could adjust to different areas of play.
The girls took to their challenges and applied themselves superbly. With rotations in goal and playing in various positions outfield, it was great to see them thinking individually and working as a team. The players were attempting to play out from the back, dribble with the ball, recycle play and counter attack, and they created many chances during the game.
Garston Wildcats were excellent opposition for the players as well. Both teams competed well and there were smiles throughout, with little input from the coaches and allowing the players to work freely and to make their own decisions.
With the encouragement from the supporters on the sidelines, this made for a thoroughly enjoyable match. Zahraa-Ayn Shabir netted the only goal for the LGDA and came close to scoring a second, but her effort was scrambled off the line superbly by the visiting keeper.
This was a successful morning of football for both teams. So many things for the LGDA players and coaches to learn and take home. There was a lot of pride in the performances of the players and without doubt the highlights of the match were the fabulous saves by the Home team Goalkeepers. Every save brought cheers and applause from Coaches and Parents and this encouragement will do wonders for the players confidence. Grace Elliott has to take a special mention for her performance in goal. She enjoyed her clean sheet in the 2nd quarter so much, that she asked to go in goal again later in the game.
That is what the game is all about. Players enjoying themselves with no pressure on results and enabling them to try out new, exciting and fun positions in the team.
Thank you very much to Garston Wildcats & their Coaching Staff for a great morning of football and we look forward to a return match in the coming months.
LGDA vs Berko Raiders Asteroids
Saturday 7th September
London Girls Development Academy U9’s began their first ever season in the HGFPL at home to Berkhamsted Raiders Asteroids at Sun Postal Sports Club on Saturday.
In a thoroughly entertaining match of four ten minute quarters, both teams played some lovely football with passing, defending and counter-attacking. There were goals a plenty for both teams and the scorers on the day for LGDA were Jess Sheppard (2), Frankie Gilligan, Rosie Austin & Zahraa-Ayn Shabir. There were also some great goalkeeping displays by Sila Catley and Saskia Cole for the “Red Phoenix”.
Backed up by Gracie Elliott and Izzy Velez-Torres with great defensive recovery runs and supporting both defence and attack, this was definitely a promising start to the season for the home side.
As well as the goals scored, there were more chances created and only the woodwork and super saves from the Berko goalkeepers prevented the girls from adding to their scoreline.
Even until the final whistle, the girls were full of energy and running. Pressuring their opponents until the end of the game.
It was a fixture that was enjoyed by both teams on the day, which ended with smiles all around and handshakes between the players.
It was also well supported by parents from both teams and the Coaching staff, to give everyone an enjoyable start to the weekend and plenty to work on and look back on with pride.
This is the start of a new journey. Hopefully a very long one for this talented group of players. Long may it continue through the season and onwards at the club.