Last week, Phoenix Sports won 2-0 away to Ebbsfleet United under 19s academy side in the 2nd qualifying round of the F.A. Youth Cup.

That was an incredible result for the Erith School team that represents Phoenix taking them to the furthest they have ever been in the tournament.

Academy manager Jack Parkinson is thrilled with the progress his young team are making. To get as far as playing Ebbsfleet they had already defeated VCD Athletic and Dartford's academy team, both by a 2-1 scoreline. He said “We've got Whitehawk at home next. For a school side, to be in this competition and to get this far is a fantastic achievement.”

Students at the academy are enrolled in a package that includes A Levels or Btec level 3, FA Level 1 coaching award, FA Level 2 coaching certificate, FA Level 2 Leadership through Football award, FA Coaching Disabled Footballers and Basic First Aid for Sport. “This allows them to go out and coach locally and get a little bit of money.” said Parkinson.

“They play in the National League U19 Alliance and train every day. The Youth Cup is a bonus. For a school to have that privilege, and the close links to Phoenix, it's great for the players.

“League games are played on Wednesdays at Erith Stadium down the road from the school. Tom Ridings, the Welling United cameraman, comes down and videos all the games and the players get full analysis.”

Youth cup home games are played at Phoenix Sports' Mayplace Ground and that's where they will host Whitehawk.

Head teacher, Mrs Allen, Head of School, Mr Bryce, and several other teachers have attended the Youth Cup matches to show the support the team is getting from the staff.

Phoenix first team manager Steve O'Boyle and members of the Sports' committee have also been at the games and given them their full backing.

One player, Alfie Aldridge, has progressed to the first team squad. “He's come on a few times and played a lot in pre season” said Parkinson. “We've got two lads who are playing for Holland and Blair at the moment, getting a bit of experience. We've got one lad playing for Kent Football United. There's a wide range of options for them.”

The coaching set up is impressive too. “As well as me, Alfie Pavey (Dartford striker) coaches with us full time. Tom King, who's the second choice goalkeeper at Millwall, does our goalkeepers. We've got Liam King who plays for Faversham and we've got Rob Saunders who plays for Sheppey, and is part of the school as well.”

Parkinson is also player coach for Welling United and their academy team is also still in the tournament. “If we'd drawn Welling, I'd have been devastated.” he joked. “I would have had Tristan (Lewis) shouting in my ear foe ninety minutes!

“Actually, if we'd drawn Welling, it would've been quite a good thing. They've done really well as well and it just shows there's a lot of young talent in the area.”

There is an open day at the school on Tuesday 7th November starting at 18:00 for 16-18 year olds. Further details are available by email at

Phoenix Sports v Whitehawk F.A. Youth Cup third qualifying round takes place at The Mayplace Ground DA7 6JT next Wednesday 18th October, kick off 19:45.