ACG Tauranga's first-ever First XI Football team has undoubtedly established itself as a force to be reckoned with this year, enjoying some exceptional results across their 2021 regional matches.
Despite a challenging start, the team ended the season in top place, keeping their heads in a nail-biting final to win the Baywide Youth Division 1B competition. And Head of Sport Ian Shaw couldn't be prouder.
"It's been fantastic to see the team's growth this season," he says. "The year had a difficult start with some hard fixtures and losses, but the senior players and coaches kept the young players together and ensured they didn't give up. This determination and grit culminated in a very strong finish to the season with six games undefeated and being at the top of the table."
Captain Tadiwa Masiyakurima was delighted for the chance to play for the school's First XI team before heading off to university in 2022 – and even more delighted with their phenomenal results.
"It was really amazing to be able to play with the boys," confirms Tadiwa, who, prior to playing for ACG, was with local football club Tauranga City AFC.
"We've learnt so much from each other and our coaches. Winning the league is incredibly special, and it means so much to the team. When we found out we were one game away from winning, we kept our cool and maintained our desire to play hard and have fun no matter the outcome. It was as if all the stars aligned at the perfect moment.
"I think the secret to our success was the amazing bond we shared. That made it easier to play together and work hard for each other. We always encouraged each other, even if one of us made a mistake. Nobody ever looked down on a teammate or shamed them for slipping up, and that motivated us all to want to do even better."
With team spirit like that, it's not surprising ACG Tauranga's First X1 Football team had such a spectacular inaugural year!