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Player of the Month Awards - Irish FA JD Academy in collaboration with UEFA

Player of the Month awards at the Irish FA JD Academy in collaboration with UEFA are a way of recognising and rewarding an individual player's progression, attitude and application in their football development.

Here's a look at the participants who have caught the eye of the coaching team.

 

Being Player of the Month is an important reward in the development pathway of a young player and recognises the player who showed the best attitude all-round in balancing all aspects of Academy life including Football, School and Education during this period

Olivier Doglia, Senior Player Development Expert, UEFA

May 2021 - Josh Briggs

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What did winning the award mean to you? 

Winning the Player of the Month award has shown me that if you are committed and prepared to work hard it will pay off. 

How you are working on your development in the Academy? 

I am working on my development in the academy by always giving my all in every training session and by setting myself targets and goals throughout the week.

Any advice for other young players or anything else you want to add?  

Be confident, listen to your coaches and take on board their feedback and treat every training session like it is your last

April 2021 - Josh Roney

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What does winning the award mean to you?

I was very happy and proud to win the player of the month award. It is nice to get recognition for the hard work which goes on during training. I was very honoured to receive this award as I work very hard during training sessions so to get the award was a nice touch.

How you are working on your development in the Academy?

In the academy the sessions allow me to work on all aspects of my game. The sessions are very intense which allow me to work on my technical ability as I’m always put under pressure when I have the ball. Being one of the older ones amongst the group allows me to enhance my leadership skills to push the training sessions on and ensure that everyone is working at a high intensity.

Any advice for other young players or anything else you want to add? 

Advice I would have for the younger players in the academy or any new players coming into the academy is to keep working hard, not only during the training sessions but also spending a bit of time after training to do a bit of extra whenever you can to try and improve all aspects of your game as much as you can.

March 2021 - Matthew Williamson

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What does winning the award mean to you?

Winning this award means lots to me as all of the hard work I put in has paid off and it just shows that if you put everything into what you do it will always pay off. It was a great feeling to be awarded with this Player of the Month award.

How you are working on your development in the Academy?

I am working to try and be the best I can be. I always want to get better every day and winning this award has made me want to push on and I know I can give a lot more.

Any advice for other young players or anything else you want to add?  

Always work the hardest and always try to improve every day and be better than the day before. Always try to do that little bit more than the other player in your position. I’ve always been told ‘if you really want it, you will get it’ and as I’ve seen, if you put the hard work in you will get the rewards. And it’s a great feeling when the rewards come.

Carmel Fyfe, the Irish FA’s Elite Performance Operations Manager said: 

“Matthew is such a deserving winner. His commitment and dedication to his overall development shines through in everything that he does. He continuously shows a fantastic attitude; he clearly wants to be the best he can; and always makes the most of the opportunities given to him.

“Matthew is a dream to work with and the whole team is delighted to see him getting better and better all the time. Congratulations, Matthew!”

February 2021: Mitchel Watterson

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What does winning the award mean to you? 

I felt very proud and feel confident in myself now and it’s made me push even more to be the best player I can be by working hard and putting the extra training in. 

How are you working on your development in the Academy?

I am working very hard on my development; the way I look at it is, you only get out what you put in, so my advice on the programme we have to follow is I would stick to this and put 100 per cent effort in. And, after it do some extra, be that extra sprints. That extra hour I am willing to do this to make me the best player I can possibly be and be ready for any challenges ahead.  

Any advice for other young players?

Keep working hard and don’t stop. Just because you aren’t playing football doesn’t mean you don’t work as hard. 

The main thing in football is working hard and the one thing I go by in football is attitude is half the battle. If you have a positive attitude and that drive and determination to be better each day you will succeed so keep going! 

“Mitchel has shown a tremendous attitude this year, even with so many challenges, and we are delighted to see how the Academy has impacted on him in such a positive way. 

“He has a great attitude towards his development and continuously demonstrates the desire to really make the most of every opportunity and to do the best he can for himself. 

Carmel Fyfe, the Irish FA’s Elite Performance Operations Manager

January 2021: Shea Brennan

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What did winning the award mean to you? 

Winning the award has certainly boosted my confidence in every way possible. I am also very happy because it’s hard to do well and train every day in these difficult times. 

How you are working on your development in the Academy? 

Each day I am challenging myself to develop and become a better player especially in my weaker areas. We all work on the Academy programme on a daily basis so I challenge myself to push on past that and to do an extra bit more to improve as a player

Any advice for other young players or anything else you want to add?  I would say, get out and do what you can, while you can. Keep yourself sharp, fit and focused to be ready for when we are allowed back because it all benefits you in the end.

'Shea has shown a tremendous work ethic throughout the lockdown and has really stepped up to the challenge. He has shown an all-round improvement in his attitude and motivation and Academy staff are delighted to see his strong desire to knuckle down and really focus on improving in all aspects of his development. Well done, Shea!'

Carmel Fyfe, Irish FA’s Elite Performance Operations Manager

December 2020: Bobby Harvey

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What did winning the award mean to you? 

Winning the Player of the Month award will keep making me working even harder every day in training and school.

How are you working on your development in the academy? 

I’m working on my development every day with football and strength and conditioning to help me achieve my goals.

Any advice for other young players? 

My advice for younger players would be if you get an opportunity at the Academy, take it. It’s a good potential pathway to a professional career in the game.

 

Bobby is one of our new lads who, at the start, found it hard to settle into academy life. He has done brilliantly to continue and persevere with everything that has been thrown his way. By the end of the term Bobby had a new lease of life in his training mentality and his hard work is paying off 

Gerard Lyttle, Head Coach

 

November 2020: Rian Brown

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What did winning the award mean to you? 

Winning this award made me really happy and proud of how hard I worked on and off the pitch. 

How are you working on your development in the academy? 

In the academy we work on and off the pitch. On the pitch we work to prepare ourselves for going to England or Scotland and what the training will be like across the water.

Off the pitch we learn to take our own responsibility and take care of ourselves; we learn new life skills like cooking, keeping everything organised and tidy we learn about things that are good for us and things that are not. 

Any advice for other young players? 

My advice for younger players is take everything one thing at a time and don’t try do everything at the same time; space everything out and plan your day.

Don’t try do your homework the morning you have school and if you have something to do before you go on the pitch don’t do it just before going to the pitch. Also, enjoy it because before you know it, it could be all gone.

Rian is now into his second year with the academy. He has worked extremely hard on his own game to give himself every chance of being the best goalkeeper he can possibly become. The one year of self-development has enabled him to be more confident around his teammates 

Gerard Lyttle, Head Coach

October 2020: Caolán Donnelly

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What did winning the award mean to you? 

Winning the award meant a lot to me because it showed me you get out what you put in. It means if I work and train my hardest and be the best I can be every session it will reflect when it comes to a match.

How are you working on your development in the academy? 

In the academy the coaching staff have meetings at the end of every term and tell you how you are getting on and they talk about your strengths and weaknesses. I find these meetings very useful as it helps me self-reflect on my game and when I know what I need to work on I will try and master it.

Any advice for other young players? 

Always outwork everyone else and train the hardest every day. Even if someone is technically better than you, if you work harder than they do, you will be better than them.

Caolán is a proper team player and is always the first to offer a hand. His hard work off the pitch mirrors his hard work on it. He is always wanting to learn to get better 

Gerard Lyttle, Head Coach 

 

September 2020: Luca Doherty

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What did winning the award mean to you? 

Receiving the Player of the Month award was a great moment. Winning it was a good way of showing myself that my hard work was paying off.

How are you working on your development in the Academy? 

In the Academy we do a lot of training and this is a great way to improve upon my weakness and improve myself as a player every day.  

Luca has come into the Academy with the perfect attitude. As coaches we stress that it’s what you do when no one is around that counts. Luca is always doing the extra yards to allow him to reach his goals 

Gerard Lyttle, Head Coach