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Linwood College Team of the Year & New Zealand Champion of Champions (NZ)

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Linwood College in Christchurch is fast becoming a Futsal School. They compete in the Christchurch Schools Leagues, Tournaments along with entering teams into the Sunday Club Leagues at QEII Park.

Following Linwood Colleges success at Futsal in 2007 when we won the Canterbury Schools Championships and The U 16 South Island Champs, we focused a lot of time and effort on the Futsal teams and development in the school.

Our Seniors playing in the U19 Schools competition also decided to enter the Sunday mens league. This combined with our training and practicing weekly meant that we were playing twice a week and training at least once a week.

With training and a focus on diet and mental attitude we went to Queenstown for the Nationals. There we closely monitored our food intake and liquid intake and our preparation was first class. A combination of training and relaxing on the Friday got us in the mood for the tournament.

On the first day we won all 3 games and left feeling confident and we went into the Sunday nervous but excited. We won the first two games and went on to Meet Burnside in The Final. Burnside in fact were the last team to have beaten us in the schools competition. A light lunch and team preparation was on the beach away from the Exhibition Centre.

We entered the final feeling that this was our chance. We sped into an early lead and followed that with 5 quick goals in succession, half time and we were 6-0 up. The second half was much closer but we finished worthy winners 7-1. Burnside were excellent opponents and were very generous in defeat. We were National Champions and it was truly amazing. It was an excellent tournament and a brilliant end to the year. The stars of our team were Joe Davies, just 14, and who was our top scorer and MVP with 14 goals over the two days and Lucas Castro and International student from Brazil.

Our team comprised Matt Hoppper (Capt), Trent Wales, Joe Davies, Hayden Cranefield, Aaron Cormack, Abdhi Ibrahim, Joao Araujo, Lucas Castro, Tony Nelmes, and Josh Macklin supported by Ross McCauley Asst Coach and Tom Davies Coach.

Our style of play and professionalism and preparation was highly admired by ex professional footballers from the UK and by an All White International player who took the time to watch our play and preparation.

At the Colleges annual Sports Dinner the team were given the Team of the Year award the highest school team award. All the players too were awarded for their play and contribution to sport at Linwood.

In the Wednesday Schools competition the strength in depth of Futsal at Linwood was shown when our First and Second team qualifying for the final. It was an opportunity for rivalries to be fought and in an entertaining game which finished 2-2 at full time the game went into an intense period of Extra time. The second team snatched the winner and won the Schools title.

The success of the teams and the profile of the sport has lifted Football and Futsal within Linwood. We have a lot of International students from Europe, Asia and South America and they are attracted by the success of our Futsal team.

We have had considerable success at all levels of Futsal and numerous players have been selected to represent New Zealand and the South Island. All have received additional school awards recognising this success. These include Darcie Willis U 19 and NZ Womens, Sionainn Byrnes U19 and NZ Womens, Chloe Williams U19 and Australasia and Nicola Grey U19 for the girls teams and Patrick Ardouin U14, Aaron Cormack U19, Matt Hopper U19, Joe Davies U14, Lucas Castro U19 for the boys.

With the success has come increasing popularity of the sport and for 2009 we will have at least U14, U16 and two senior teams in the schools boys competitions and U16 and U19 girls teams.

We will continue with playing at weekends to and entering competitions as they arise. Such is the popularity of the sport that approaches have been made by excellent player to join our school to be part of the Futsal set up. We have strong links with Brazil, and they have helped with our training and tactics and sincerely hope to visit there and play in against teams in the near future.

Tom Davies Coach & Matt Hopper Captain.

Source : Vikings NZ
Published : 20/11/2008

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