Ardingly College footballers have started the school year crowned in glory and with the under 15s rubbing shoulders with legend David Beckham.
The 1st XI have become the Independent Schools’ Football Association (IFSA) National six-a-side champions, while the Under 15s had their moment of glory in the company of Beckham after winning the prestigious Ibstock Place London six-a-side tournament.
Pictured with the sporting idol are (from the left) 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 are also delighted to announce that former pupil and professional footballer Adam Virgo has joined their 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.
Virgo said, “I’m 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 a 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.
N ick 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 also welcomed back another Old Ardinian, Monty Gimpel, for a week. He gained a score of 38 in his International Baccalaureate Diploma, 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 now has enrolled to study Business Management at Kings College, London.
Gimpel said: “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.”
He was at the national sixes to witness the 1st XI’s historic victory, lifting the cup for the first time, and then saw the U15s lift the cup.