Football has exploded at RGS in the last few years, experiencing the biggest growth of any sport and expanding from one school team to many, across different ages and genders. Students now have curriculum football options from Year 10 and football is on offer for all year groups every day in extra-curricular clubs for two terms of the academic year. We have experienced great success in the last year with our junior girls teams winning district competition at two age groups and the Boys 1st XI reaching the final of the 2nd XI London & SE Cup, played at AFC Richmond. The cup runs experienced by many of the schools teams have resulted in a real buzz around school and the 2022-23 boys captain of football, Ben M said:
“In such a short period of time, we’ve grown to have the ability to compete with some of the best schools across the country, advancing from playground Football to school cup finals. Each age group has a number of gifted footballers who are enrolled in foundation and academy programmes at elite southern clubs including Chelsea FC, Fulham FC, AFC Wimbledon, and many others. These talented performers are provided with support through the RGS Football programme whilst they pursue their careers towards professional Football. As a student, it has been incredibly encouraging to see the programme evolve as Football has always meant so much to me. I have gone on to compete for the Chelsea Foundation Development Centre and Surrey Football during my RGS journey, as well as participating in school football. I was always provided with the support of the RGS Football programme as I embarked on a journey towards professional Football”.
We have several boys and girls performing at top academy level and the school offer flexibility with academic studies for those who are trying to pursue a professional contract. We have professional coaches who support the programme with our Head of Football, Mr Craig Burgess, while Mr Jack Emmerson runs the high performance pathways at RGS and will oversee our top footballers’ support programmes. Football has also helped to lead the way with our internal coaching and mentoring programmes, where senior students support junior footballers in their development. Here is Ben M again:
“I’ve been able to participate in football in ways other than just playing courtesy to the RGS Football programme. Through coaching and officiating, the RGS Football programme has given me the chance to take part in alternative roles, showcasing the variety of ways to participate in Football at RGS”.
Our partnership with South Park Football Club means we have regular access to a high quality floodlit artificial pitch for our teams, which enables high quality football at all times of the year. RGS Hartswood dedicates it’s Northfield space predominantly to football during the winter and spring terms now so that all pupils have the space and opportunity to play. The future looks bright for football at RGS.