From Edenbridge to Stuttgart!
In September 2011, a very young boy, called Joshua Solecki, wearing a Southampton shirt with Matt Le Tissier on the back, aged 4 years and 4 months, with blond curly hair ran on to a wind swept football pitch at Edenbridge playing fields to join a football school known as Rawskills, supervised by a former ex professional football player, Russ Watkinson and notably aided by Nic Taylor and many other young football players who gave up their time to teach , encourage and coach young boys in the Edenbridge , Oxted and surrounding areas, playing team football for the very first time. Over the next 6 and half years Joshua spent every Saturday morning from September to May, and then subsequently Easter and Summer football camps at Rawskills Football School, being superbly coached on how to play football the right way, with passion, skill and enthusiasm. However most of all, having fun with his friends.
During those years, particularly through the amazing coaching, encouragement and tutelage of Russ and Nic, Joshua won many awards such as players’s player and Coaches’ player of the year for his age group.
It was because of these years, and the coaching that Joshua received at Rawskills , that Joshua became involved in The Crystal Palace Foundation which nurtures young football talent in South East London and in December 2016, Joshua was offered a 6 weeks trial to join Crystal Palace Academy full time.
In February 2017 , Joshua was offered the chance to join Crystal Palace Football Academy, where he has proudly represented them for the last two years , and has had the amazing opportunity to not only play many other fine Premiership Academies but has represented Crystal Palace Academy in tournaments in France and Germany and as I write this, is off to represent Crystal Palace Academy Under12s in a few weeks in Stuttgart, Germany.
Who knows where this journey will take Joshua. However there is one fact that we do know.
One year Russ once said at Rawskills’ End of Year Football Awards ceremony in May that, “Rawskills was very lucky to have a boy like Joshua at their Club."
Well Russ, I say on behalf of my wife, Helen and I, “that Joshua was very lucky to have you, Nic and all your helpers as mentors and coaches in his early football life."
In one of Joshua’s first ever reviews at Crystal Palace after he had been their a few months, they complemented Joshua that he he was one of the best players in the squad that did the simple skills best. This is undoubtedly down to Rawskills Football School.
I would say to any parents now and in the future, that if you bring your young sons to Rawskills, and they listen, work hard and keep playing with a smile, fun and enthusiasm, you never know where it might lead to.
Thank-you Rawskills. Thank you Russ, Nic and all the guys who have coached Joshua.