In presentations throughout the last two months, children from primary schools across Barnsley have received their Barnsley and District Schools Football Association ties - a gesture dating back to the post-war years and symbolising the start of what could well be successful sporting careers.
Barnsley and District Schools FA chairman Steve Gates said: “The ties mark a journey that for some players leads to professional careers of course - as the likes of John Stones, Jon Parkin, Antony Kay, Andrew Talbot, George Smith and so on testify.
“This is the ultimate honour for a schoolboy footballer in Barnsley.
“I spoke to John Stones’ mum recently, and she said ‘our John’s still got his tie’.
“Of course it’s only a tie, but it’s the journey it represents.
“The school association dates back to the 1930s, with the under 15s winning the national trophy on no fewer than five occasions, the last one being 1999 when they shared it with Bristol.”
Each year from June to September schoolchildren are invited for trials at Oakwell, with more than 150 year 5 and 6 boys from Barnsley’s 78 primary schools looking to win selection for the under 11s team.
There are also teams for every year group from under 12 to 15, with those at the earliest stage able to progress by completing trials alongside new entrants.
School assemblies have been held across September and October, with Steve visiting schools to hand the new group of young hopefuls their ties alongside families and school head teachers.
The teams will now prepare to face off against other school districts in the north of England as well as playing in national tournaments.
Steve added girls’ teams trials will start next year.
The full list of boys selected for the Barnsley and District Schools FA under 11s team is as follows:
Burton Road Primary School: Cody Cooper-Walker, Jack Bates, Jake Bennett and Lucas Brennan.
Brierley Church of England Primary School: Evan Howell.
Cudworth Churchfield Primary School: Riley Sargessons.
Darton Primary School: Elliott Osborne.
Dodworth St John’s C of E Primary School: Jack Brown.
Gawber Primary School: Tommy Turner.
Gooseacre Primary Academy: Charlie Henderson.
Hoyland Common Primary School: Charlie Whitham, Finley Taylor.
Jump Primary School: Tyler Jones.
Kings Oak Primary Learning Centre: Taylor Allott.
Ladywood Primary School: Loui Whitehead.
Meadstead Primary Academy: Paul Mapose.
Milefield Primary School: Kendon Hickey.
Oakhill Primary Academy: Alfie Boyes, Jack West.
Outwood Primary Academy Darfield: Aston Ardwick.
Shafton Primary Academy: George Crossland.
Worsbrough Common Primary School: Archie Lusha.