Thursday 29th January – Sessions Cancelled – Cardinal Hume School

Afternoon,  we have just received a message from the school that the pitch is covered in snow and ice and not playable for the children.

Tonight's session is cancelled.  See you all next week.  If you travel with or know anyone who may not have received the message, please advise them.

We are as disappointed as you and hopefully see you next week for your session, weather permitting.  Thanks for viewing this message and keep up to date with us by accessing this area.

Many Thanks

S20 Team

Another ‘Haddrick’ for this footballing family.

Leo from our Thursday session has shared some fantastic photographs of his Grandad from his footballing days.  Leo's grandad played for Newcastle United (Juniors) and Leicester City.
Leo has written:
The first photo shows my grandad when he played for Newcastle Juniors at St. James' Park against Barnsley.  You can see the old East Stand in the background.  The date this was taken is in 1949.

Newcastle Juniors 1949

The second shows him when he played for Leicester City in the 1950s.
I also have a photo of him with Tony Napp who he played with at Leicester City.  Hope you like them.
Thanks Leo, we are absolutely thrilled that you have shared such fantastic memories with us.  You must be very proud of your Grandad.

Christmas Comes Early For Dominic

Dom Michella UploadChristmas really did come early for Dom after he signed a contract with Newcastle United Football Club, following a successful trial.  Dominic Minchella from our Thursday evening sessions, is now a regular in the Newcastle United football club academy U14 Squad.  We wish him every success for the future and enjoy every minute mate.




Update and thanks from the Mattinsons

Message from Gary Mattison (Dan's dad), following Soccer20 visiting Dan in Hospital, to pass over his cards and gifts.  Dan is on Ward 4 RVI of the Great North Hospital and supported by the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Thanks very much for coming to see Dan last night, he was really pleased to see you and as I thought, it was a great boost for him.....Thanks also for the's perfect...!!
Dan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leaukemia in September. It was a real shock to us all, but right from the start he's shown great determination in battling it. Acute Lymphoblastic Leaukemia is a cancer of the blood and the most common form of Leaukemia. White blood cells malfunction and multiply. Unlike normal blood cells that die off after a certain amount of time however, these cells don't, which is why the treatment is so important. The RVI is a specialist centre for childhood cancers and they are very experienced and very successful at treating this condition. The consultants and nurses who look after Dan are amazing, and the support they've given us all so far has been second to none. Nothing is too much trouble, day or night.
Dan is being looked after in Ward 4 of the Great North Children's Hospital, which is part of the RVI. The ward was funded by the Teenage Cancer Trust and has amazing facilities to help support kids through their recovery. There are lots of individual rooms with TV's / DVD players, and there is even a 'penthouse suite' right on top of the building where they have big screen TV's, Xboxes a jukebox and even a pool table.
His treatment plan is 3 1/2 years in total and comes in 5 phases. The first 6 months of the treatment is the most difficult and involves a lot of intensive chemotherapy. After this the treatment becomes easier and Dan should be able to get back to school and hopefully return to some sports. Dan has responded really well to the first couple of phases and his prognosis is excellent as a result, although the treatments have made him very poorly at times.
He really missing Soccer20 and hopes to be back as soon as he can.  Anth recently came in to visit Dan as you can see from the picture. This gave Dan a nice boost and cheered him up after a really tough week of treatment, and finding out he would be in hospital over Xmas. He also had a visit from some players from Sunderland who visit the ward each year to chat to the kids and give out presents.
We'd like to thank everyone at Soccer20 for their messages of support and best wishes, for Dan's Xmas gift and also for raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, which is a very worthy cause.
Gary, Angela, Dan & Evie



“Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” Abraham Joshua Herschel

Discipline is a key element in developing and maintaining motivated hard-working footballers and united teams and it is the most important attribute needed to achieve any type of personal or athletic excellence. However, you don’t want to let the term discipline scare you. While discipline can be defined as; “Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behaviour”, the definition of self-discipline is, perhaps, more appropriate; “the correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement."

No personal success, achievement, or goal, can be realized without self-discipline, it is an attitude of mind that requires hard work and dedication. It means keeping your head down in the boring classes and not just the ones you really like; it means keeping at the exercises and drills you find tedious so you can be in the best possible shape and it means making the right choices in situations that may lead to harm. Indeed, self-discipline can not only make us better athletes, it can also make us better in real life too.

Let’s see what our experts have to say on the topic of discipline, whether it is important and how it affects football life in the academy and outside of it...............................

Ken Wharton

Discipline is important and the way a person acts is a good indication of their character. The Academy system dictates how the lads are expected to behave, but I think discipline has changed from the time I started playing 30 years ago. In those days we were sometimes tasked with cleaning the changing rooms or going to the ground and clearing up after match days. While I don’t agree with this approach, I think we have gone too far the other way and there should be a happy medium. Today the lads are predominantly footballers and they don’t have to clean the building or keep the place tidy but, as a matter of self discipline and self respect, I think they should clean their own boots and they should tidy things away that they have used.

Dave Cleary

I think the discipline should come firstly from the parents and school but, unfortunately, that is not always the case. Within coaching you need to set discipline levels for your environment as you are the person in charge and may be the only person in that child’s life who gives the discipline.

In the family, I knew right from wrong from an early age. My dad’s bark was worse than his bite, but I always knew what I had to do and what I hadn’t to do; what I could do and what I couldn’t.
When I started coaching with a Newcastle Development Scheme, there were specific guidelines on what we expected in terms of behaviour, attitude and approach and what we would deliver in return and we made the children and parents aware of this right from the start. We made it quite clear that ongoing bad and disrespectful which upset the rest of the group could result in the child being asked to leave.

However, as children get older one discipline rule may not suit everyone so you have to be a little flexible in your approach. You need to get to know the children and their background and find out what works best for them.


Craig Dean

I am a great believer in the old adage that what you are off the pitch is what you are on the pitch. So, if you are an honest hard grafter off the pitch you will be an honest hard grafter on the pitch. Football is a very disciplined game and you are constantly looking for hard work and discipline amongst your players in order to create team spirit.

For example I was recently told that one of our young players had driven on the wrong side of the roundabout on the morning when we came back from an away game. So I called all the players in and spent 20 minutes talking about discipline and driving with discipline. I also told them about a horrible crash four of our Academy lads had about 10 years ago as a result of undisciplined driving - one was killed and none of the other three now play football.

Players need to know what acceptable behaviour is, what is unacceptable, and how to behave on the pitch and off it too and to be thicker sinned when it comes to being on the receiving end of potentially upsetting remarks. For example a silly challenge or comment, or a bad reaction, could mean your team is reduced to playing with 10 men.

Wesley Ngo Haheng

Self- Discipline is very important to keep us fit and on track, but I am not going to lie. I am 20 years old and I am not going to say I never go out, but there are limits. For example going out the night before a game is the worst thing you can do. Even going out a few times a week is not a good approach; we might not feel it now but in seven or eight years time it will catch up with you. We should take a leaf out of Ryan Giggs’ book; he is 35 and has been playing on the top level for the last 19 years or so thanks to a self-disciplined approach to football and to life.

Peter Kirkley/Stan Nixon

Nowadays there seems to be a general lack of discipline and if there’s no discipline at home, when children get disciplined at school they do not like it – but everyone needs boundaries of what’s right and wrong, without boundaries we have anarchy.

Being taught strong discipline and having good self-discipline pays off in the long term. With good discipline comes respect and having good manners and showing respect for others is the only way to get on in the real world. You need to keep children on the straight and narrow and teach them to treat people the way they would like to be treated. And remember, screaming and yelling doesn’t work, you need to talk, then the child knows you’re serious.

Jimmy Nelson

Discipline and boundaries help children behave better. Occasionally I get a letter or a phone call from a head teacher saying so and so is working himself big time in the classroom in which case I would go into the school and have a quiet word with the teacher and a quiet word with the lad himself. It is unlikely that we would release a child for misbehavior at school but we could if it didn’t stop. Also, if his coach was saying he was exhibiting the same behaviour at coaching sessions we would certainly release him. We need to communicate with the children and teach them self discipline and how they need to behave if they want to make it in the game.

Mrs Richie-ex school teacher

Behaviour is always a response to someone else’s behaviour. You try to find out why there is certain behaviour rather than say that is naughty. Discipline is important in schools but we find that if you are very consistent; have certain standards and a reward system in place, behaviour improves and discipline is maintained in a very positive way. I taught in a rather ‘deprived’ area but we were Ofstead reported as outstanding for the pupil behaviour because we were consistent and because the children knew exactly what the boundaries were. Stay within these boundaries and there are lots of rewards; overstep the mark then things aren’t so good.

Lads Press Forward With United



Jack Robson and Thomas Cole from our Monday and Thursday night sessions have both successfully bagged a contract with Newcastle United Football Club at Academy level.

After trials, Jack has been offered a 2 year contract at U15 level and Thomas a 1 year contract at U14 level.

Many congratulations to the lads from all of us at Soccer20.  The hard work has already started and we know both are extremely committed to the cause both on and off the pitch.  We will keep an eye on their progress over the 2014/15 season and wish them enjoyment and every success in the next stage of their football journey.



Winning v Development


At Soccer20 we aim to challenge the win-at-all-costs mindset that seems to have crept into the game from an increasing young age. According to recent FA Research amongst children under 12, trying their hardest is more important than winning and they play football because they love the game and it helps keep them fit and healthy whilst allowing them to meet and play with their friends.

As what the children want seems to be at odds with the wants of many parents, Soccer20 is dedicated to deliver what the children want, therefore providing a structured development programme that is enjoyable and fun.
Let’s take a look at the professional’s point of view of winning v development

Dave Cleary

What do you think parents and coaches really want for a child?
If you ask coaches what they really want most will say they are there to develop the children. What the coach needs to do at the beginning of the season is explain to the parents what his/her and the clubs philosophy are for developing the child. Then it is up to the parents to ensure that the child has a game of football every week

The problems come when games get tougher and more pressure comes from the parents wanting a win at all costs asking “why has my son not played?” or “why are you not playing a stronger team?” That’s when the child then becomes the divide between the parent and the coach and the coach may even change their philosophy because of the pressure from outside.

Winning v Development?
Winning is important, but so is doing your best. Some coaches will simply play the best team every game, others will give everyone a chance. It goes back to the philosophy of the coach and the club and communicating that philosophy to parents, and more importantly the children, so they can decide whether they want to stay there or find another club.

Pushy or encouraging parents?
I’m all for parents encouraging children but there’s a fine line between encouragement and, what I call, over enthusiasm. Sometimes the children get confused because they are listening to so many people and sometimes when a child does something good they look straight to their parents for approval. There can be only one coach and it is up to him or her to be saying to parents; “We want your here – we want you to be enthusiastic, but there’s only one voice giving instructions and that is mine.”

Who is it really for? Is it for the parents or for the children?
Unfortunately there are occasions when you can see it is for the parents; those who are hoping for the big bucks because have been told their child has prospects; or those who possibly missed out in their own childhood and are trying to play the game through their child.” To my mind it should always be for the children any my role is to try to improve and develop their playing and give them the best experience possible.

Why are families so powerful?
I think families are powerful because of the encouragement and support network they provide. I was very fortunate with everything I did in school, both my parents would we there to support me if they could; it gave me a tremendous boost.

Old school – New School?
I have a mobile phone but if it’s switched off I am not bothered; Laptop, haven’t got one; I must be an old school. In my day nobody coached us, nobody told us how to pass, how to dribble, how to shoot, how to control we played in the street and we taught ourselves. I think this is what the FA is trying to bring back to the game, at a young age let them watch, play and learn for themselves.

Ken Wharton

What do parents really want for that child?
Different parents want different things. There are parents who are sensible and realise that anything can happen, but there is also a percentage of parents who certainly think about what is going to happen in the future; parents who genuinely think there sons can be footballers who will make lots of money and live in big houses.

Pushy or encouraging parents?
The parents who trust the coaches and keep away from things are the type of parents you really want to deal with. However, I think it all depends on whether they are pushy towards the coaches or pushy towards the players; I think a lot of them push the wrong way and, sometimes, at the wrong time putting too much pressure on their children, especially those parents who dream of success for their child but in reality they are not going to get there

Why are families so powerful?
Because families can help by providing support and advice. I told my son Paul to “go where you feel you can get the best coaching; don’t go for the best building, nor the best strip, or the best supporters – go where you feel you can develop best.”

Jimmy Nelson and Craig Dean

What do parents really want from their child who at academy or boys club level?
First and foremost they want to see them as professional players. I think they see it as a pension programme. If the boy makes it great I am going to have a big house in Darras Hall because he is going to buy it. Things may be slightly different if they are at Dagenham Redbridge but Newcastle United are seen as a Premiership club who pay big pots of money.

However, I would hope that the more intelligent parents realise that the academy was actually looking after the boys by providing a really worthwhile experience in a caring environment that supports them at school, helps keeps them fit and trains them for life.
Pushy or encouraging parents?
It is great to have parents’ involvement and it is good to have a parent who is always encouraging you, but a pushy parent is a problem, although I don’t think you will ever stop it. As coaches we need to understand that you have got the parent who is living the players dream and you have got the parent who understands that the academy is foremost in charge.

We try to educate the parents to just come and watch the game, let the children play and let the coaches and academy take care of it. The problems happen away from the academy. For example, Little Johnny plays in a Sunday League and thinks he has had a good game, he then goes home and his dad starts to give hom the wrong information saying; “I don’t think you played well today; I think you should have done this; I think you should have done that.” Those comments will affect him when it comes to practice on a Monday night but I am not sure we can ever get away from it.
Why are families so powerful and what impact do they have on the game?
I think the word powerful is a strong word. I think at most football clubs you would have to be a really talented player for the family to be so powerful as to manipulate the club. I am sure most clubs would say you either agree with us or you don’t – try your luck elsewhere.

Wesley Ngo Baheng

I am 20 years old. I was born in Paris but I am originally from Cameroon. I I left my home town when I was 11 years old and spent 7 years in Le Havre Academy; I signed for Newcastle in August 2007 from Le Havre. I was offered a contract with them but I did not want to sign for them and Newcastle paid for the years I spent there.

What did your parents really want for you?
When I was about 9 or 10 years old I was tall so I used to hang out with older people; my mother saw me going in the wrong direction and wanted me to get away from the ghetto. I was only 11 and many family members thought I was too young to be going 200 miles from home but my mother knew I was talented at football and that would learn lots of good things.

Pushy or encouraging parents?
I think there is a way to push, but I don’t think pushing is right. I am free to choose what I want to do and my family cannot do the job for me. They can encourage me, but I think it is up to me to work hard to get what I want; everyone knows that you cannot get things easily and you have to work hard to get whatever it is you want.

Chris Green-Author

Winning v Development?
Boys are being recruited into football academies at really early ages. Legally they can sign them from the age of 9 but they look for the mature boys at 6, 7, 8. When I was that age I never saw a professional coach we just played in the street and that is where you learned your skills and the rest of it. Some of these lads by the time they are 13 are so fed up with football and the seriousness and the type of pressure they have felt they don’t want to kick a ball again.
Pushy or Encouraging Parents?
It is inevitable you are going to get a selection of pushy parents. I would say that very few of the parents I interviewed for my book were pushy parents, as you say those who live the dream through their children. Some indeed were from very professional class backgrounds who just did not know what this world of football is all about and why would they.

I think that always talking about pushy parents is a real disservice to a lot of parents who give up a great deal of free time, who leave work early and do all kinds of things to get their kids to participate in the football system. I think it is a real shame that some clubs are trying to blame some of what is going wrong or what appears to be going wrong on what, I think, is a very small minority of parents who are overzealous.

Its a Great North Swim For Nick

Our events are staged in clean lakes, lochs and urban docks around the UK at five incredible locations, giving you the chance to swim in places you may never have thought possible.

Suitable for swimmers of all abilities, from open water novices to Olympic champions, dive into your Great Swim and set yourself a new and exciting challenge this summer.

Come and join us at Windermere in Cumbria, Alton Water in Suffolk, Salford Docks in Manchester, Loch Lomond in Scotland or in the heart of London for an unforgettable experience in the water.

- See more at:

Nick GNS

Our events are staged in clean lakes, lochs and urban docks around the UK at five incredible locations, giving you the chance to swim in places you may never have thought possible.

Suitable for swimmers of all abilities, from open water novices to Olympic champions, dive into your Great Swim and set yourself a new and exciting challenge this summer.

Come and join us at Windermere in Cumbria, Alton Water in Suffolk, Salford Docks in Manchester, Loch Lomond in Scotland or in the heart of London for an unforgettable experience in the water.

- See more at:

Our events are staged in clean lakes, lochs and urban docks around the UK at five incredible locations, giving you the chance to swim in places you may never have thought possible.

Suitable for swimmers of all abilities, from open water novices to Olympic champions, dive into your Great Swim and set yourself a new and exciting challenge this summer.

Come and join us at Windermere in Cumbria, Alton Water in Suffolk, Salford Docks in Manchester, Loch Lomond in Scotland or in the heart of London for an unforgettable experience in the water.

- See more at:

Sunday June 15th 2014 ( the day after that memorable performance from England!), saw an achievement which really does need some recognition.  Nick Thompson from Soccer 20 joined in one of the biggest European open water swims.  The Great North Swim event was staged in the beautiful Lake District, on Lake Windermere.

Nick was until this point an open water novice.  But armed with hours of training, his charity sponsorship, loads of support and sheer determination he took on the 2 mile challenge. 

With a fantastic swim and personal best he's already looking forward to next year's 2015 challenge.  Well done Nick an absolutely massive achievement.

Allstars v Durham City Strollers

S20 Allstars welcome Durham City Strollers

On Monday 2nd June 2014 Allstars came up against an ageing Durham City Strollers but unfortunately they were still unable to get their first ever win.

The Strollers played some tidy football in the first half and it wasn’t long before Stevie Grehan broke away from the AllStars defence and finished clinically. It was two nil soon afterwards, following a similar move and a break-away goal from Dave Forster. Allstars responded positively and pressed for long periods of the game. They had a number of chances but Andy Neal (in goal for the Strollers) was in top form and, frustratingly for the Allstars, pushed shots past the post and cleverly closed down other chances. Allstars were unlucky to be two down at half time but the manager took no prisoners and went to town on their determination to win tackles. The Allstars were now suitably fired up and in fairness pummelled the Strollers goal throughout the second half. Great goals from Allan Brumwell (header from a corner) and Sam Charlton (great free kick) were unfortunately cancelled out by goals from the visitors. The Strollers rarely strayed into the AllStars half but when they did they were ruthless in their finishing. Goals from Barry Walker (expertly converting a chance at the back post) and another from Stevie Grehan meant the game finished at 4-2.

It was a competitive game despite what the score-line may suggest but most importantly the game was played in a great spirit. Respect to all involved and I can’t wait for the return game - Bring it On !

S20 Allstars V Durham City Strollers

S20 Allstars V Durham City Strollers

How to play centre forward

How to play centre forward


Anth has asked me to write an article on playing centre forward – is this a great honour or is it because he was a centre-half and doesn’t have a clue how to play there himself!

Let’s have a good look into it.

First of all if you are reading this article you are probably a centre forward anyway, or aspiring to it, and you already know how to ‘run the line’. Deep down you secretly know that you and I are a different animal to all of those other people who play in the meaningless positions on a football pitch – why would anyone want to play right back ?, who on earth would run around forever in midfield and pass the ball to someone else to score the goals – if I run 15 yards in one go its too far! Why would anyone play in goal when the best they can ever achieve is .... ‘not to let one in’ ! It completely baffles me – why would they do it ? For sure there is only one position any level headed person would ever play.........the goalscorer, the leader of the line, the matchwinner, the guy who wins the league, championship, the premiership, the world cup...........THE CENTRE FORWARD........ the guy who gets the ‘leading goalscorer award’ every year.

And before any clever clogs says that midfielders sometimes score goals....can I just say that they only score because we let them and because we’ve created the space for them, we’ve allowed them (for a limited time only) to enter our area on the pitch and score (and I may add with nowhere near the amount of flair we would have done!).

And as for centre half scoring from corners – you are pulling my leg aren’t you ....that just doesn’t count. It’s just a free for all in those situations....and anyway, our centre half should have been stopped by your centre half so it’s their own fault that they scored in the first place.

As centre forwards, you and I know that our game is an art form and we have pride in our artistry, we relive the quality of the magic moments and we endeavour to get everything right and earn the right to ‘wallow in the glory of another good goal’... Yep, absolutely and it is a matter of degree and the extent of our pleasure will be somewhere on a sliding scale of 90-100 which will largely depend on a range of the special features in our game.

  • When we scored was is a clean strike? It doesn’t have to be whacked into the net but did it go where you wanted it to – this is the most important passage of the game ‘the strike’ - suss the situation out carefully, go through it in your mind over and over again – practice it in your mind. Do you hit it hard or do you look at the position of the keeper and just put it out of range. There are all sorts of alternatives but only you know what is needed, your coach or you dad can tell you what you should have done, only you know if you snatched at it or made the right choice. Be honest with yourself and next time think quick and execute.
  • Getting into a goal scoring position. The bit I love almost as much as the goal (no I’m lying I love scoring goals!) but it’s nearly as good. Wrong-footing your marker, twisting to make your space, drawing your opponent into a tackle there loads of expressions but it is all down to body shape, preparation and anticipating the ball coming towards you better than the defender. Remember you have an advantage – you are a centre forward and they are just defenders ! – your natural ability will kick in so don’t panic, glance at the ball - your superior mind with be thinking twice as fast as the defender so will know what to do with it when the ball gets to you. Now think about the defender how are you going to make the ‘goal to be’ even better than it might be. How is he shaped up, is he planning to use stronger right foot, is he looking to lean into you. You’ve got time to work it out and trust your senses – exploit his weakness, do the thing that will leave him for dead.... and take pleasure in it, giggle to yourself as you do it. You can feel it yourself now can’t you.....wallow in the glory that is moments away. BTW – all you have to do now is get the ‘clean strike’ which we spoke about above. Game On!


More to follow in our next issue         I hear someone say....” but all goals are good goals”..


By the way...... it was a great honour that Anth asked me to write this article – he’s not a bad centre half ... is he ? But I tell you what, I would have loved to have played against him and I would have backed myself to get at least one !!!

New Developments

New Developments for


For the past year the team have been developing a ‘new’ website for Soccer 20 as well as other exciting improvements. We are now into our fifth year and want to keep progressing both on and off the pitch. We want the members to have the best opportunities we can offer.


At this stage, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the S20 Team, designers and working partners who have made this happen. Most of it goes on out of sight and well into the early hours, but the work does not go unnoticed. We couldn’t do it without you.


So what’s new?


  • New Website

We wanted this to be as fresh, useful and relevant as possible. All websites have a lifespan and we need to be able to continually develop, restructure and refine, hence the move. We need constant technical supervision to allow smooth running and measured efficiency and effectiveness. Our graphic and web designers are first class and we value their superb work.


  • Videos of all the moves (accessible on line/mobile/tablet).

A brilliant practical development for our members. Access the moves, learn and practise at your own speed. It’s like having your own coach to take home.


  • New look Player Development Coaching Programme

A new and improved version. Downloadable certificates available for completed levels.


  • We are looking for potential coaches to join our ‘new’ franchise operation.

This is an exciting time for us. We are delighted to announce we are looking for potential coaches to join our ‘new’ franchise operation. This can be as a personal business venture or to generate additional funds for your football club. If you would like further information visit


  • Middlesbrough Academy and Sunderland Academy of Light.

This has been a growth area and strengthens our working relationships with both Academies allowing greater linked in working. Endorsements of programme have been given by both Football Academies.


  • S20 Referral Scheme

We are aware that many of our new customers come from referrals and are very grateful. Thanking our existing customers is also important to us.      


How do I refer?

It really could not be easier. They can contact us or we can contact them. With regards the  referral cards, simply pass on to your family and friends to bring along to their first session.

How does the scheme work?

The new customer brings their referral card on the first night, with your name on. Once they are registered online as a new member you will be rewarded.


What are the rewards?

New registered online member = 1 free session. It’s simple the more referrals we receive the more free sessions you will receive. If you need more referral cards let us know.




  • Changes to the membership registration

Membership registration is changing and moving online. The following is now applicable:


  1. All new or returning members to S20 will register themselves to our system online. When this is done they join as a member under Option 1 or Option 2. Your child has already been registered under the new website. As a thank you to all of our current members we are offering Option 2 FREE for 7 months until 31.12.14, to enjoy and see what it offers. After this time current members will need to decide if they want to proceed with Option 1, Option 2 or attend training sessions only, whatever you decide is fine with us.   


Option 1 (£9.95 Annual Membership)


  • Free session per annum with online registration
  • Registration with Soccer20skills
  • 10% off birthday parties
  • 1 to 1 training sessions perio


 Option 2 (£20.00 Annual Membership)                 


  • Free session per annum with online registration
  • Registration with Soccer20skills
  • 10% off birthday parties
  • Free access to Player Development Programme (Worth £295)
  • Free access to all the Soccer20skills videos
  • Tips and advice from managers, coaches, scouts and players who have experienced the game
  • 1 to 1 training sessions periodically


  1. The membership cards will eventually be phased out. We will be maintaining until at least 31.12.14. No lost or damaged cards will now be replaced due to the phasing out. We will continue to have random raffles for cards, so if your child can keep bringing that would be great.



  • Tips and advice from ex-players/coaches and managers in the game

Don’t just take our word for it; listen to the people who are in the game and in the know.


  • Latest Blogs

Blogs are an exciting way to have a continuous feed of fresh news and information. This will replace the S20 Newsletter. We’ve have so much information we want to share and let you know the positive things all of our members are doing both on and off the pitch.


  • Feedback and Suggestions

What do the members want to see at Any suggestions are welcome in relation to the sessions and systems. Let us know what you think.



Thank you all for your continued support


Yours in Sport


S20 Team

Chapter 4 – The Importance of setting goals and targets

If you do not know what you want to achieve in life, how do you know what to do or whether what you are doing is useful?  If you do not set yourself a target what have you got to aim for? 

Setting goals is fundamental to long-term success. The basic reason for this is that you can’t get where you are trying to go until you clearly define where that is.

Setting goals provides us with a sense of direction and gives us the opportunity to regularly review our progress against these targets.

Setting goals and targets help you focus and allocate your time and resources efficiently,

Setting goals and targets can keep you motivated when you feel like giving up and the more motivated are the more motivated you will become in the pursuit of future success. 

Setting  goals and targets is like setting up an investment plan - the people who tend to be most successful are the ones who are good at goal setting goals for themselves.

Goals can be simple things such as gaining badges for sporting activities, passing exams, but these milestones are vital for personal development and growth and they must be realistic and achievable to ensure success.

5 Steps to Successful Goal Setting

1. Make sure your goal is feasible and specific

Broad goals don’t add much value, you must  be able to visualize and understand the result you are after.

2. Make sure your goal is measurable

Quantify the results you are hoping to achieve, for example, attain Level 2 Coaching Award, gain 9 GCSE’s at C or above, as this will allow you to measure what you have achieved.

3. Make sure your goal is in your hands

This means you must be able to achieve the goal as a result of your own hard work and determination, or with the willing assistance of your coach, parents or teachers.

4. Set goals for the long-term and short-term success

Ideally, you should set goals for the long-term and mini goals which are the short-term steps needed to achieve the long term goal. Knowing the difference will help keep the long-term target in mind when day-to-day activities threaten to make you lose sight of it.

5. Write your goals down

A written goal represents a real commitment and commitment is what separates our dreams from our goals. Keep a copy of your goal plan in sight and refer to it often.

So let’s see what our experts have to say about the importance of setting goals and targets..........

Stan Nixon/Peter Kirkley

Goals are vital for development and all athletes need to be involved in a proper training program by the time they are 14 or 15 years old. Such a structured approach his sets them goals and targets which enables  them to develop as athletes and helps them to build power, strength, agility and mental ability.Players should be accountable to a mentor (trainer, coach, etc…) as well as the camaraderie and pressure of a small peer group – it all helps their development.

Craig Liddle

I think you have to give yourself realistic targets to spur you on. Obviously some players may set targets they’ve got no chance of achieving but, even as a centre half, I would always try and set a goal I could reach. For example, I would aim to get three goals this season and once I achieved this raid the target to six. The aim is constant improvement.

David Cleary

I think it is important to give children something to strive for and I think a goal is about teaching and giving children the opportunity to go out and learn different things. 

As a coach it’s important to set goals for the team individually and as a whole. You need to know the skills and talents of the group you are working with but then you can give them goals relating to points, clean sheets, etc. For example with full backs or wingers it could be how many crosses they can get in; for your centre and midfield players its see if you can get two shots within the match.

Jimmy Nelson

Goals are important as they are something to strive for.

The one thing I think we don’t do well is getting the boys to make realistic appraisal of how well they have done in a match – it worries me that perhaps they are going home in the car and dad is saying you were absolutely hopeless ………………..

There should be a log book for every player and that player should write a comment on how they think they have done after every game. Then on away trips the coach could sit with the lad and look at his book seeing what the child thought about his performance and setting goals and targets to help him perform better next time. This is what I tried to do and put in place.

Chapter 3 – The Importance of Education


According to legendary American blues singer B. B.King “The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”

Education is paramount because it’s something you always fall back on, education is important because it helps to develop you as a person, it teaches you values and life skills such as responsibility and respect..

The education for children in football is massively important because of the high failure rate at academy level. If children think they will learn nothing but football when they go into a club they are wrong; clubs push education just as much. We have a national curriculum which states, by law, what has to be taught and what children need to learn and the FA demands this process is strictly adhered to.

In an ideal world perhaps we could ask every young 15 to 18 year old footballer to consider what they may like to do for a living outside of football (plasterer, painter, bricklayer etc.) and then allow the children to focus on that task for one day. The aim would be to show them an alternative path and enable them for them to realize what they have now.

Let’s see what our experts think about education and why it is so important…….

Wesley Ngo Baheng- Ex Newcastle United & France Under21's

Education is very important because in football there are choices to make – it is not only about the pitch. You are a professional on the pitch but also off the pitch too - when you are on holiday; in the home ; choosing what to eat; it’s about being professional all the time.

Education is very important for children.  At our Academy they have a very, very strict approach to school and ensure the players stick in and take it seriously.  The Academy teaches football but at school you learn about everything. The coaches know that not everyone will make it and if you haven’t been working at school how would you know what else yju can do or hoe to manage you life.

Jimmy Nelson/Craig Dean - Newcastle United

The sad thing about the whole game of football is that, while every lad we bring has got a chance realistically, by the age of16 or 17, some of them will be released.

If they are not going to be pro-footballers then it is our duty to ensure that they have the right background to enable them to move onto the next stage. We have to make sure that the boys who haven’t made the grade and leave our scholarship are capable of being retrained for whatever else they decide to do.

Our  boys will leave here with a BTec which is equivalent to two ‘A’ levels and an NVQ Level 3 which is equivalent to one ‘A’ level. So,  they leave with the equivalent of ‘A’ levels  which will get them into a University if they wish to follow that path. Not everyone want to do that but having the qualifications shows they are intelligent and can be trained to do other things.

This year two of our lads have gone to University. Last year we released five lads; two are doing sport related degrees at University; another is working for his father, the fourth is a scaffolder and the fifth training as an electrical engineer with a company. Although a little young at present, I hope that, by the time they are 20 or 21 they will be playing  non-league football throughout the area to supplement their wages and also keep them in the shop window.

If you fail to make the grade you need your education and what we try to do is educate the lads for success on and off the pitch. The BTec units are all geared and based round football, nutrition, coaching, psychology, sport injuries, all that sort of thing and aims to give them a better understanding of what the whole package is all about.

David Cleary- Ex Professional and Coach

I think education is vital at all ages. We were told quite rightly at Newcastle that if things went wrong at school it would jeopardize our future at the club.  I think that can only be good.  Children need to be aware that, even though they are attached to a club, their position can be taken away if they experience behaviour problems at school or have issues with their education. They need an education because football is not always a job for life – only a very low percentage of academy trainees will actually earn a living from professional football

On a personal view I worked hard to get my qualifications because my parents told me I needed them, even though I knew I had a job. I left with less than I hoped and  was disappointed, but when I was at college we just played table tennis and went on trips - I did get some sort of a qualification which has done me no good whatsoever.

After I realized I would not make it in football I went back and did a BTec and HND

Things are different now education is taken very seriously even for 16 to 18 year olds.

Craig Liddle- Ex Professional footballer and Coach

It is massively important because, the way I look at it, the number of kids who make it as an established professional is minimal so they always need something to fall back on.  I think every kid at 15/16 thinks that if they get a football apprenticeship they are automatically going to make it as a footballer, but the fallout rate is incredible.

When I was at school I just messed about and I came away with no qualifications.

My parents thought I was going to make it as a professional footballer and didn’t really push me; they let it slip a bit.  I was stupid, but luckily I had a career and I was doing courses and coaching badges as I progressed. However, I feel that if I had stuck in at school at bit better it would have made things a little bit easier for me.

For me personally my son’s education will be just as important as the football side of it and I make sure education is seen as an important component for our lads too. I make them do NVQ qualifications, which they don’t really like but the reality is that we had nine apprentices last year and only signed three as professionals when they turned 18.

Chapter 2 – Dealing with Rejection

Dealing with RejectionDealing with Rejection

What happens when football comes to an end, naturally, by injury, or due to being released for not fitting into plans?

How do you handle it?

How do you move forward?

Let’s start by saying that rejection hurts, let no one tell you differently. However it’s how you deal with the rejection which is the real test of your character. Dealing with rejection is something that everyone needs to learn and not just in football – whether it’s not getting a part in the school play, not being offered the job or promotion you wanted, being stood-up in a date, rejection is a fact of life,.

Just because football has come to an end, it’s not the end of the road; it’s just one of life’s set-backs and a chance to stop, take a breather and consider your way forward. After all football is only a small part of life; there are always other options, other opportunities, other avenues to explore.

There’s no doubt that rejection can shatter our confidence, at least for a time. However, with support from coaches and parents, what may seem like the end can be tuned into the beginning of something even better.  And remember, those who are realistic and grounded understand and cope with rejection better than those who are not.

It’s amazing how many children drop of the game totally when rejection first happens; when they are first told ; “You’re not what we are looking for,” but remember that is only one person’s opinion. There are many other football avenues to explore and many a coach has been proved wrong. Let’s see what some of our experts have to say .....

Kenny Wharton

Dealing with rejection –any advice you can give?

We try to ensure that we give them as much help, advice and support as we can. For instance if they want to go to University we try to get them in and we have had lads who have gone to Northumbria and still do work through the Foundation; we have even helped a couple of lads go over to America in the last few years.

David Cleary

Dealing with rejection –any advice you can give?

I think it is tough with the children, but also with their family who sometimes take it worse  because obviously they may have helped, guided and encouraged the child to make certain decisions.

My advice is not to be negative, no matter how hard done by they feel. Parents and coaches, need to encourage the children to move on in a positive and constructive way. I now it’s easier said than done, but with positive family support the child should be encouraged to continue enjoying their football; there may even be a chance to get picked up again.

Wesley Ngo Baheng

Have you come across any form of rejection in football.

No, I have been very lucky. However, every year in the Academy I have seen people being sent away – some took it alright and it actually made them stronger, but some of them simply gave up.  I think if you want something very badly you should keep trying. Just because you have been rejected from this club, some other club may need you so why should you stop. I am on the last year of my contract with Newcastle United and, if they don’t want me any more I know that somebody else will - I am certainly not going to give up.

Jimmy Nelson and Craig Dean

How do you handle rejection at the club?

For the younger age group it is important that you tell them that they are not ready and that you are going to monitor them through their school programme and advise them that they may be brought back in future if they improve.

For slightly older boys, we send a letter to the parents explaining our decision and leave it up to the parents to break the news to the child at an appropriate time – the letter also invites the child and parent to come in and talk to us about the decision and the way forward once the shock has worn off and everything has settled down. We feel this is a more appropriate method. Interestingly, very few choose to come in, but quite a few send us a letter thanking for the wonderful time their child has had with the club.

It’s much harder when you reach the18 level; then you have to speak to the lad himself saying sorry there is nothing for you. Unfortunately the boy often leaves a quivering wreck.

At the moment we have got a group of Under-16s who are wondering what is going to happen to them. We will tell them early in the New Year so as not to spoil Christmas, this also gives them an opportunity to go on trials elsewhere between January and April, with our recommendation.

How do recommend dealing with rejection?

Every child in the academy will have received two written reports a year and an opportunity to talk to the coaches on every occasion about their current position and options for the future. I would hope that throughout their time with us players will have received training and support which will help them make the next move if they get released. My main concern would be if the child didn’t want to play football at all. I would recommend that anyone we release continues to play with his mates at boys clubs and in the Sunday leagues – after all football had been an important part of the child’s life and can continue to be so, he just has to find the correct playing level for him – and that could still be as a professional.

Has anyone every proved you wrong?

Steve Watson was thrown out of this building three times – he was rejected three times yet he went on to become a top player with us.

Chris Basham is another classic example.  After we released him he went to Gateshead College to study; he played for them and was spotted by Bolton Wanderers, he is now playing for Blackpool.

Another boy in the same age group also ended up at Gateshead College. He played for English Colleges against the Italian Colleges had an outstanding game and is now at Fiorentina.

Which just goes to show that being released is not always the end of your football career.

Do kids and parent fear failure?

I think there is a big fear in failure in the academy and it’s wrong because not everyone is going to make the grade. Unfortunately, there is a lot of hype from parents who believe that once their kids come into it the academy at nine, he is on the road to becoming a professional player. It’s not always the case and it is up to academies and the governing body to educate parents. To go all the way you need talent but you also need luck to be in the right place at the right time.