Ardingly College footballers have kicked off the new school year crowned in sporting glory - and meeting David Beckham.
The 1st XI become the Independent Schools’ Football Association (IFSA) National Six-a-Side champions while the Under 15s won the Ibstock Place London six-a-side tournament.
The Under 15s also met David Beckham, (see picture) with l-r: Dominic Adomakoh, Max Stolkin, Oscar McConnell, Will Currie, Sam Rattle, David Beckham, Alex Hewitt, Matt Penfold, Oscar Haynes Brown, Teddy West, Toby Cassidy, and former Ardingly pupil Monty Gimpel.
The College has also announced that former pupil and professional footballer Adam Virgo has joined its coaching staff.
The 31-year-old had a career spanning 13 years, having been spotted playing for Ardingly College by Brighton and Hove Albion FC. He then went on to play for Celtic in a reported £1.5m move, while also representing Scotland.
Adam Virgo said, “I am delighted to be officially coaching at Ardingly College. Having retired from football, I am enjoying the media work that I am doing, but I also have a passion for helping young players develop, and where better to do this than at the place where my own career started.
“Growing up in private school is like a family, and I am very happy to be part of that family.”
He joins a coaching staff already comprising Academy coaches and former Premier League and Scottish international footballer Duncan Jupp.
Nick Tester, the college’s head of boys’ sport, said: “Ardingly’s football goes from strength to strength. Having won the Independent School National six a sides and the Ibstock Place U15 six a sides, we have seen the standard of sport dramatically rise over the last few years.
“Having expert coaches like Adam is important for our development. It’s also key to us that we run 17 sides every week, and that pupils can have access to coaches of the highest standard, whilst not compromising their education, whatever their standard. These are exciting times!”
The college welcomed back another Old Ardinian, Monty Gimpel, for a week. Monty, took up an offer of a two year contract at Leeds United FC in 2011, playing professionally against the finest sides in the country, before injury halted his career. He has enrolled to study Business Management at Kings College, London.
Monty said: “Ardingly will always hold a special place in my heart, as it enabled me to gain a great education and helped me have a wonderful experience in professional football.
“I wanted to come here and give something back to the College, and it has worked nicely as it has coincided with such a successful week for everyone involved.”
Monty was at the National Six a Sides to witness the 1st XI’s historic victory, lifting the cup for the first time, and then travelled to London to see the U15s lift the Cup in the Ibstock Place six a sides.
Captain of the 1st XI Alex Summerfield said: “To have Monty back here training with us and giving us advice has been very exciting.
“Everyone talks about him, and the fact that he got a professional contract shows that the college’s system works.
“I think we would all like to follow in his footsteps, having a good education and a professional contract, and certainly seeing him in the flesh and talking to him has really inspired everyone.”