Youngsters awards presented at Academy Celebration Day

2023-24/Academy/20240505 Academy Celebration Day/CM_academy_celebration_day_085_u0iace

Southampton's Academy players took centre stage at St Mary's as they were congratulated at the Academy Celebration Day to commemorate their 2023/24 campaigns.

The players and their families from the Under-8s up to the Under-21s squad were all invited to St Mary's for an afternoon of celebration and presentations for their efforts over the season.

Chief Executive Officer Phil Parsons and first team staff were in attendance as Academy Director Andy Goldie, and several Academy staff members, presented the awards to Saints' youngsters.

Players and staff in the stands at St Mary's. (Photos: Chris Moorhouse)

There were also messages from Russell Martin, Jack Stephens, Will Smallbone, and a handful of Academy graduates - the likes of Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Nathan Tella - to congratulate the next generation of Saints stars.

Player of the Year awards were handed out to every age group's standout performer, with additional awards given to individuals across multiple age groups.

George Kift took home the Under-9-12s Player of the Year, Harrison Miles won the Under-13-16s award, whilst Tyler Dibling was awarded the Under-18-21s trophy.

Commemorative framed shirts were handed out to the four players that made their senior debuts in the past year, as Dibling was joined by teammates Sam Amo-Ameyaw, Jayden Meghoma, and Cameron Bragg to celebrate their achievements.

Saints' most recent senior debutants.

Off the pitch, there were four further important recipients; starting with the Legacy Award, which was presented to the family of influential former club scout Rod Ruddick in his honour, after he passed away in 2023.

The Ben Cull Award, named after the former Saints Academy player who tragically lost his battle with cancer in 2023, was presented for the first time for "showing bravery, courage and determination in the face of adversity."

Will Smallbone, a teammate of Ben's in the Academy, received the award for overcoming his battles off the pitch this season to become a key figure in Saints' battle for promotion from the SkyBet Championship.

The Outstanding Contribution Award was presented to Head of Academy Medical Services & Performance, Tom Sturdy, as a member of staff who has gone above and beyond in their role this season.

Finally, the Julie Batchelor Award for Academic Endeavour went to Hansel Adjei-Afriyie for his efforts away from the pitch and in the classroom over the last academic year.

The list of award winners in full is as follows:

Player of the Year Awards

Under 8s – Maddox Russ
Under 9s – Donatello Sserwadda
Under 10s – Dexter Johnson
Under 11s – Riley James
Under 12s – Sergei Esinov
Under 13s – Teddy Nightingale
Under 14s – Bobby Martin
Under 15s – Leo Rodella
Under 16s – Harrison Miles
Under 18s – Jay Robinson
Under 21s – Tyler Dibling

Under 9-12s – George Kift
Under 13-16s – Harrison Miles
Under 18-21s – Tyler Dibling

Special Recognition

The Legacy Award – Rod Ruddick
Outstanding Contribution Award – Tom Sturdy
The Julie Batchelor Award for Academic Endeavour – Hansel Adjei-Afriyie
The Ben Cull Award – Will Smallbone

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