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JMA: Combining Academic Achievement with Sporting Success

17 September 2019
JMA: Combining Academic Achievement with Sporting Success

At the 2018/19 Reading Sports Awards, we were delighted to be named Secondary School of the Year. This is a very prestigious award; being nominated alone is a great achievement, but winning it supersedes that. Our dedicated PE team works tirelessly to provide opportunities for students to succeed both academically and practically, and their hard work has led to exceptional results.

Football at JMA

Led by UEFA A- and UEFA B-licensed coaches with Premier League and professional academy experience, our football programmes go from strength to strength.

Boys’ Programme

The JMA U19 performance squad plays in the National Football Youth League — the highest level outside of professional clubs — and have come up against teams from various Premier League and Football League clubs, including Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham, and Crystal Palace.

The U19 side have also been involved in recent showcase fixtures against the likes of Valencia C.F, Levante, Reading FC, Bristol City, Dundee United, Hearts, and Oxford United.

Over the years, our teams have been extremely successful. Some of the most notable achievements include:

  • Never losing a cup final, winning 16 in total.
  • The performance squad being crowned NFYL Premier Division champions in 2018 and 2019.
  • The performance squad being unbeaten in home league fixtures since October 2017, and losing just one of their last 21 away league fixtures, meaning they have been defeated just once in 38 league matches.
  • The development squad being crowned National Cup champions and Walsh Cup champions in 2018.

Since 2008, more than 25 players from the JMA boys’ team have signed for professional clubs or gained international honours. They include:

  • Shandon Baptiste — Grenada international and Oxford United midfielder who captained the team vs Manchester City.
  • Ramarni Medford-Smith — Reading FC defender.
  • Ben Gladwin — Blackburn Rovers midfielder.
  • Jack Amitaga — Represented Albania U19s.

Former JMA student athletes have also progressed to study at top sports universities in the UK and receive scholarships in the USA.

Girls’ Programme

The JMA girls’ team play in the Women’s Super League (WSL) Academy League, coming up against other WSL academies such as Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United. Most recently, they were semi-finalists in the WSL Academy FA Cup and finished 2nd in the Academy League in 2018/19.

Earning international honours is something that many of our current and former players have achieved. Of our current players, seven represent their country internationally:

  • Annalise Scott-Green — England U17
  • Mia Cruickshank — England U18
  • Georgina Eden-Hasler — England U18
  • Sophie Quirk — England U18
  • Emma Harries — England U18
  • Kiera Skeels — England U19
  • Niamh Reynolds — Republic of Ireland U18
  • Tilly Harwood — England Talent Pool

Kiera Skeels has not only represented England U19, but also claimed the Reading Sports Personality of the Year award in 2019 and has been involved with the Reading FC Women’s first team in the 2019/20 season. Another of our students, Rhiannon Stewart, has also been involved with a club’s first team, having represented Millwall Lionesses during the 2018/19 season.

Additionally, three of our current players have represented their country previously:

  • Brogan Moore — Scotland U18
  • Alketa Rragami — Albania U18
  • Rose Kite — England U18

When it comes to former players, the JMA girls’ team has seen many successfully graduate into the women’s game. Our former students include:

  • Fran Kirby — Current England international, Chelsea FC forward, and 2019 Ballon D’or nominee.
  • Grace Moloney — Current Republic of Ireland international and Reading FC goalkeeper.
  • Charlie Estcourt — Current Wales international and Reading FC midfielder.
  • Lily Woodham — Current Wales International and Reading FC midfielder.

Last year was a particularly successful one for our girls’ programme as every JMA 2018/19 academy student that left the school signed with a tier one, two, or three women’s football team, demonstrating a clear path into the game after studying at JMA.

Basketball at JMA

The basketball programmes at JMA are headed up by a team of highly skilled and qualified coaches. This includes current national team coaches Matt Johnson, Alan Keane, Daniel Fatimide, and Ciaran Dunne. Currently, many players at JMA, both boys and girls, have been selected to play senior national league basketball and are on the scholarship radar of top universities in the USA.

Girls’ Programme

The JMA girl’s team plays in the WEABL Academy League and Division 1 Women’s National League. In 2018/19, they won the National Cup and reached the semi-finals of the WEABL Academy League. During the season, Anabel Latorre Ciria was named WEABL Player of the Week three times, and was resultantly selected to the WEABL All-Conference First Team.

Three of our players have received scholarships to attend universities in the UK or USA — Paula Romero Tarrega (USA), Noa Sanchez Marques (UK), and Elena Palacios Amaral (UK) — and Safie Jarju has previously represented her country as part of the England U18 Talent Pool.

Boys’ Programme

The JMA boys’ side plays in the EABL Academy League and Division 1 Men’s National League. 2018/19 was a great season for the team, as they were National Cup runners-up, National League semi-finalists, EABL Academy League quarter-finalists, and silver medalists at the Cherbourg International Tournament in France.

During the season, Asher Ndah was named EABL Player of the Week, while David Chive was selected to the EABL All-Conference First Team. Two of our players received scholarships to attend university — Adria Nosa, who will study at a university in the USA, and Arinze Emekya-Anayako, who will study at a university in the UK.

Currently, seven JMA players represent their countries. Our current national players are:

  • David Chive
  • Sam Grant
  • David Obediah
  • Asher Ndah
  • Kivuvu Live
  • Ryan Nealon-Lino
  • Callum Brand

Former JMA players to represent their country include Arinze Emekya-Anayako, Matt Armstrong, and Matthew Marsh. Marsh is one of the JMA Basketball Academy’s most successful stories, as he is currently signed to Catalan giants FC Barcelona Basketball.

Join Our Sporting Legacy

John Madejski Academy has an established sporting legacy, with students fulfilling their academic and athletic potential. If you want to be part of a secondary school and sixth form that combines excellence in the classroom with sporting success, join JMA.

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