Matthew Goulding and Toby Mawer have committed their immediate future to Reading FC. The two under 15 youngsters had spent many years playing for Bath & West Wiltshire and have now decided that moving to Reading is the next step for their progression.
They have now joined the club’s partner school and are staying together with a host family, an experience they are currently very much enjoying. Matthew made his debut recently for the under 16s against Leicester, whilst Toby is playing for the under 15s in his usual position between the posts.
Here Matthew reflects on his new life in reading:
How did you find moving away from home?
I found moving away from my family very easy because I really want to do everything i can to become a professional footballer, so there was no question. And I am so glad I did decide to go. I was injured on the 21st October 2019 with a fractured foot therefore I hadn’t been with the boys in a long time so I went into this new lifestyle virtually alone. But for me there is only two things that matter; performing the best on the pitch and performing the best in the classroom. It is very difficult and I have to admit that without your parents it is difficult because they are not there to remind you to do your homework or anything; you are on your own, you are independent, you have to do things and remember things because no one else is going to do it for you.
I have had 2 host families in Reading so far. My first host family was very nice and I stayed there on my own. The food was very good and I was being treated well. I am now with a second family becuase i am together with fellow Bath & Wilts player Toby Mawer. He is a very good keeper and even better friend. He had been at this host family for a while so he helped me settle in very quickly. We do our homework together and we help out each other with organisation, school stuff and everything really. The host families are welcoming and friendly. They want you to be as comfortable as you would be at home and the club check up on how things are which is good. We have no complaints at all because you get treated better then you get treated at home haha!
What is the training like?
At Reading we train Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during school. We have 1 lesson, then the mini-bus picks us up and we travel to training. After training we get the buses back to school where we have a last lesson. And depending on the day we have a lesson after everyone goes home to catch up. In this catch up lesson we do Sports Studies, English or Geography, 3 times a week for an hour. Tuesday’s training session is normally a lighter session as we are preparing for training during the week and we slowly build it up. The quality is always high though. Wednesday and Thursday are very intensive. And on Friday it is a very technical and specific training session preparing for the game at the weekend. As well as training through the day on Tuesday and Thursday, we also train in the evening for 2 hours. This session normally consists of a game and passing patterns.
What goals have you set yourself with your new life in Reading?
At the beginning of the season I set 2 goals for myself to achieve before the end of the season. 1 was to play up for the U16s 3 times. And on the 31st October I played my third game for the u16s. But I realise that I can’t be overly pleased as there is still much more work to be done. My other goal for this season was to score 2 goals for the team. I haven’t scored for Reading yet so watch this space. Dominating my opponent and not conceding, is a goal to achieve every game automatically for me. As I have already completed my goal of playing up with the 16s 3 times this season. My next goal is to train with the 18s this season at least once.
How do you find the enw school?
I found moving schools quite easy. Yes I was leaving friends. Yes I was going to the unknown. But this was an exciting new start. This was a chance to make new friends and make new memories. It’s good that I can have a laugh and joke. But I always have to be careful because I am representing Reading football club and anyone can be watching. Furthermore, I know there are kids at Forest (my new school) who want to play for Reading and so I do not want to ruin the opportunity i have been given. Lessons at Forest are 100 minutes so that was a shock to the system for me and seem very long. However, now that I am used to it I much prefer it as on a non-training day I only have 3 lessons. The school teachers are always checking up on me and making sure I am alright.
How is the Games Programme?
Game day is by far the best day of the week whether playing at home or away, in the cold or hot, in the rain or sun, no matter what it’s the best day. If it’s an away game we will travel together on the bus to the training ground for the game and we will have someone on the speaker playing the songs to prepare us for the game. For me as a defender, playing football is going to war, I have to prepare mentally to not let anyone past, to put everything on the line. ANYTHING TO WIN.
We arrive at the changing rooms and we get handed kit with position specific numbers. We wear our training tops out to warm up in and leave our numbers in the dugout. Our warm up takes place an hour before kick off with our sports scientist and then in with our coach for the last 30 minutes playing a possession type game. After the game we head back to the changing rooms as a team and get dressed and get back on the coach. Depending on the score or how you played, creates the atmosphere on the coach. But we never dwell on it for too long as we got training the next day and analysis.
Can you give your younger BWBs any advice?
You never lose. You either win or learn.
Everyone at BWB wishes Matthew and Toby the very best.