Youngster Will Hall gives us his latest account of striving to succeed through the ranks of grass-roots football.
It has been a very good and hectic few weeks since I last wrote my blog and there is quite a bit to write about. I have signed for a team and restarted training with another.
On the 30th of July I got asked to play with the U16s at AFC Totton. It was just to fill a spot in for that day, or so I thought.
When I arrived, I was told I was on the bench. While the team was warming up, I went and warmed up with two other players who were sub also.
The manager said he would try and get me on for the second half of the game but, due to an injury in the match, I came on 10 minutes before half time.
It was 1-1 when I came on and then we led 3-1 at half time. In the first half we played really good attacking football and, when they got through, we were very quick to close them down.
The second half began and it was one crazy half, with the opposition coming straight back into the game and capitalising on our lapse in concentration for the first 10 mins.
In the end we lost the game 5-4, but really could have won it, with quite a few missed opportunities and one or two lucky goals for them.
After the match, we had a quick warm down and then got changed. Just before I left, the coach Mitch le Tissier (Matthew le Tissier’s son) came over to me and my Dad and said that he would be very happy to have me in his team and that I could play week in week out for his side.
I was very happy that I had shown I could be a good player at times and play with people older than me. My Dad was very surprised, as it meant playing up two years but also very proud.
We made our decision to sign for them and another match shortly arose which I went to in high spirits.
I started this game. I played left centre-back for the first half, in which we were 1-0 down until the last 10 minutes and we turned it around to go 2-1 ahead at half time.
At half time Mitch took me and two other defenders to one side and asked which of us could play at right-back. Initially he was going to put my centre-back partner there, but ended up putting me there as the other defender said I was much quicker.
In the match there was one stand-out performance and that was by Sam Kirby, with a hat-trick and a half assist (which he claims to be his).
Every time Sam got the ball, he took on their right-back and did him for pace and skill and in the end it showed how dominant he was.
Sam Kirby is from the Isle of Wight like me and so is another team-mate, Jamie Frampton. He played on the right-wing and also has very good skill in beating defenders, mostly with pace, but also skill.
We ended up winning the match 5-2, but it could have been eight or nine with some clear-cut chances missing the target.
I felt that this was my best game out of the two matches and I also felt that I can now comfortably play right-back and make more darting runs forwards.
Afterwards Mitch said I didn’t look out of place at all and complimented me on my reading of the game, despite being much younger.
To finish this off I have one more thing and it is that Pompey JPL training started again last week, with new and old faces appearing. Most of our squad was there, besides a few who were on holiday.
We did a keep-ball session for most of it and every 5-10 minutes the coach changed it and set different tasks.
We did some shooting practise and then a match to finish off, with a mix of the U13s and U14s on each team. Neither side got the ball in the back of the net, but it was a close-fought battle.
I think that I have improved on my touch and cleverness with the ball over the last month and now I hope to continue these performances and even better them, to carry on aiming towards the end target of an academy place.
But in the meantime, I will keep on playing for the Under 16s too!