Bede’s Footballers Shine in National and International Tournaments

2 - credit Ben Hutchinson

Several footballers from Bede’s Senior School have recently competed in a series of high-level tournaments.

Tom Howard and Nathan Odokonyero (both Upper Fifth) were part of the Sussex winning team at the ESFA U16 Inter County Cup Final against Merseyside last month. Nathan scored the winning goal in the exciting final few minutes of the match to take Sussex to a 4-2 victory and take home the cup.

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Pictured top: The ESFA U16 Inter County Cup 2019 winners celebrating at the Final. Photo credit: Ben Hutchinson, ESFA U16 Sussex Team Coach

Pictured second: Nathan Odokonyero and Tom Howard at the ESFA U16 Inter County Cup Final

Tom Collins (Lower Sixth) played in the ESFA U18 Inter County Trophy Final against Lancashire on the same day. This was an exciting match with both teams drawing 1-1 until the 92nd minute when Lancashire scored the winning goal.

Tom Collins says, “Playing in the ESFA Final for Sussex was a great experience. I am the youngest in the ESFA U18 team, and it’s fair to say that the level is much higher than in school fixtures. You have to adapt to match the standard, but when you do it definitely gives you an edge in school competitions.”

Tom Howard, who has played in five ESFA tournament cup matches this season, agrees: “The standard of football is very high; ESFA players are the best I have ever trained with, and it’s great to work with players who are better than you are and can help take your skills to the next level.

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Tom Howard and Tom Collins in training

“The Football provision at Bede’s is great,” he continues, “it’s very structured and thought through. The training is quite intense – the coaches push you really hard – but I enjoy it.”

Tom Collins adds, “I play a lot of football outside school, and having such good coaching and facilities at Bede’s is a definite plus. The strength and conditioning provision in particular is unmatched compared with other schools.”

Tom and Tom are currently applying for football scholarships at universities in the US.

Nahje Smith (Lower Sixth) and Jayden Ebbin (Upper Fifth) travelled to Bermuda for the CONCACAF U17 qualifiers last month. Nahje says, “This is a really difficult competition to compete in as the standard and quality of players is so high. Although we didn’t win, competing in the tournament was a fantastic experience.”

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Jayden Ebbin and Nahje Smith in training

Jayden agrees: “Playing in international tournaments like this is really exciting, and helps us to prepare for the future. We both want to pursue careers in professional football after school so having the opportunity to play at an international level in different countries is invaluable.”

Mr David Caryer, Director of Football at Bede’s, comments, “It is fantastic that the boys in recent weeks have been able to gain these invaluable experiences of playing against high-level opposition, in professional environments. At Bede’s we work hard to be able to offer the flexibility within our sports programme to allow our pupils to take advantage of these opportunities, as well as maintain well-established links with our partners and governing bodies to promote them.

“We are very proud of Tom, Tom, Nathan, Nahje and Jayden for their achievements to date; they all work incredibly hard, dedicating many hours a week to the sport, and it is fantastic to see their efforts pay dividends.”


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