Trip of a life­time for Ark­low boys

United squad trav­el­ling to Florida

Bray People - - SPORT -

THE show will still go on for the Ark­low United U-18s de­spite Hur­ri­cane Irma play­ing havoc with their plans as they pre­pared to travel to other side of the At­lantic.

The squad were due to fly out to the world-renowned IMG academy in Braden­ton, Florida but the trip has now been resched­uled for next week, Tues­day, Septem­ber 19.

With the safety of the play­ers and staff the pri­or­ity, the IMG in Florida were forced to close down this week, but af­ter hours spent re­ar­rang­ing flights, ac­com­mo­da­tion, trans­port and games, Ark­low United man­aged to resched­ule with no ex­tra cost to any­one.

IMG have had some of the best elite ath­letes and teams in world train there. From youth to pro­fes­sional teams, their goal is to help ath­letes im­prove their per­for­mance.

The IMG Academy cam­pus sits on more than 500 im­pec­ca­bly main­tained acres in Braden­ton, Florida.

There’s an un­de­ni­able en­ergy to this cam­pus, and it per­me­ates their 20 plus multi-sport fields, 50 plus ten­nis courts, a 5,000-seat state-of-the-art sta­dium, an 18hole golf course, two bas­ket­ball gyms with mul­ti­ple courts, two 10,000 plus square foot weight rooms, the Ga­torade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) and so much more.

The squad, which is made up of 17 mostly lo­cal lads aged be­tween 16-18 years old with the ma­jor­ity to­gether as a team for over a decade.

This trip gives them the op­por­tu­nity to show­case their tal­ents to IMG and also against lo­cal op­po­si­tion with the chance to ob­tain a schol­ar­ship and im­press any vis­it­ing col­lege scouts. It is quite sim­ply, a po­ten­tially life chang­ing trip.

Last year Ark­low United en­tered the team into the Dublin and Dis­trict School­boys League (DDSL) fin­ish­ing in the top three and win­ning the Taafe Cup in their first year.

They are man­aged by their ded­i­cated coach Mark An­der­son and coached by ex-League of Ire­land player Wil­liam Tyrrell with for­mer goal­keeper from Wick­low Jason Earls tak­ing on a GK coach­ing role also.

Gra­ham Kelly from Bray Wan­der­ers’ first team coach­ing squad brings more ex­pe­ri­ence to the team with David McBride and Liam Mur­ray sup­port­ing the team and coaches.

This team started train­ing with their coach Mark ten years ago and they have de­vel­oped into a group of tal­ented and ded­i­cated young men with the hopes of pur­su­ing sport­ing ca­reers.

A great deal of care and re­search is made in sched­ul­ing the best match ups to en­sure the high­est ex­po­sure for each in­di­vid­ual player in front of col­leges.

This in­vi­ta­tion from IMG is un­heard of in Ire­land. Us­ing their Celtic part­ner club links, Mark reached out to Johnny Burns at Florida Celtic to help with lo­cal knowl­edge on the op­po­si­tion, proof of the strength in­ter­na­tion­ally of the Ark­low United - Glas­gow Celtic part­ner­ship.

The whole club have been very sup­port­ive from Noel Ka­vanagh di­rec­tor of foot­ball to the nu­mer­ous oth­ers over the years that have helped the squad.

The com­mit­tee of Ark­low United would like to wish the team and coaches the very best of luck in the tour­na­ment.

The Ark­low United squad, which will travel to Florida. Miss­ing from photo is Peter Tyrell.

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