National title is the perfect send-off for DESA’s talented football students
- Credit: Archant
Four Dereham Education and Soccer Academy players will jet off to America as English champions, writes Gavin Caney.
Jason Ward, Charles Clarke, Nick Davis and Joe Goreham – who was part of the squad who helped DESA qualify for last week's English Colleges' National Futsal Championships – have landed dream scholarships in the States. And they can cross the Atlantic safe in the knowledge that they are among the best players this country has to offer.
DESA excelled at the prestigious tournament for the exciting, fast-paced and small-sided indoor version of the game in Birmingham.
They won four matches and drew another to set up a final clash against Manchester's Wellacre Academy in the final, which they won 3-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
Coach Tom Parke said: ' It's been a fantastic season. Fairytale is the cheesy word I'd use.
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'Jason has been with Dereham Town from the age of eight and been through ups and downs. So for him to become a national champion during his last chance, and it was the same for eight of the squad, was just a perfect send-off.'
Chris Greenslade, Frazer Blake-Tracey, Chris Skipper and Larry Rouse got their hands on the trophy during their final year with DESA. First-year student Kieran Robins also had a huge part to play in his group's stunning success.
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The triumph comes just a couple of months after the academy lost an 11-a-side final at the same level against the Strachan Football Foundation.
Parke added: 'There was not just relief at the end, it was proof that there had been belief.
'When I got to penalties I said; 'Would you rather be given six matches to win this event or just a free shot from 10 yards (Futsal penalty).' And they said a free shot.
'Wellacre scored so late in the final that there was a 'we've been here before' feeling, especially because we lost the Premier Cup final. So when we won there was a lot of happiness and relief as I think we knew all along we were good enough.'