The term ‘responsibility’ means being dependable, making good choices and taking accountability for your actions. It’s a quality that we, at Southborough, hold very highly and as a result, it’s one of our key school values. And if there’s one student who currently epitomises Responsibility, it is Year 10 student Oliver M.
A focused and hard-working student on target to perform well in all his GCSE studies, it’s not just what he does in school that marks Oliver out - but very much what he does outside of school, too. From the moment he received his first ever West Bromwich Albion football kit at the tender age of just four years old, he was hooked on football, watching ‘West Brom’ play most weekends alongside his father – a keen supporter!
After mum’s careful research into which team would be the best for Oliver to ‘cut his football teeth’ with, the young Oliver was soon playing football for local team Hook & Chessington, followed by Claygate FC. Initially he played mid field but had an epiphany one day when his father pointed out how it was invariably the goalkeeper who was the real hero of the game. Requiring personal qualities such as focus, alertness, concentration, strength and agility, plus, of course, the ability to work well within a team - all qualities that Oliver shares - it was clear to Oliver that the burden of responsibility sat firmly on the shoulders of the goalkeeper; the roll had a level of visibility and accountability that surpassed most players. And demonstrating ‘responsibility’ to a tee, Oliver was more than ready to take the role on!
At the age of around six years of age, Oliver was scouted by both Fulham and Chelsea Pre-Academies, training at both. By the time he was playing in the Under 9 team, he received offers from both academies, choosing to sign a formal contract with Fulham. With father and son quickly switching allegiance to Fulham FC, buying season tickets and supporting their new team , Oliver enjoyed watching – and studying - the first team play every weekend.
Oliver got his first England ‘call up’ in April 2022; he’d just turned 14 years of age and it was a ‘massive’ moment for him. He worked incredibly hard both on and off the pitch, understanding that the fitter and healthier you are in both body and mind, the better you perform on the pitch. By October 2022 he received his second call up. Oliver’s International debut took place at St Georges Park, Burton on Trent (home ground for all 23 England teams) against Belgium and he has since represented England in an U15 football tournament at Pinatar Arena in Spain, where his team beat Japan. During this particular game, Oliver made three great ‘saves’, - including a last minute penalty save - making it the greatest game of his life so far!
Oliver continues to be a dependable, hard-working and responsible member of his football team and just the other weekend was awarded ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ of the entire event. He continues to train at least three days a week, works out in the gym and practices his skills, all the while continuing to work hard with his studies. Oliver has a brilliant attitude and demonstrates the very qualities that we believe will take him ‘all the way’!