|Paul Willis (standing, 2nd from left) and John Carver (bottom right) in their youth days at Montagu Boys Club. Iain Scott, also on the team, is not pictured.|
Montagu and North Fenham Boys Club was founded in 1948 in the west end of Newcastle, England. Providing opportunities to 300-400 young soccer players each week, the small club creates an environment that fosters the love of soccer.
At the age of 11, both Paul Willis and Iain Scott landed themselves on a soccer team at “Monty” to try and help further their passion for soccer. On the same team was John Carver, the new head coach of English Premier League side Newcastle United. The lads played on the same team together for 5 years, winning numerous trophies in the region as well as traveling to Atlanta, Georgia as part of then President Jimmy Carter’s “Friendship Force”.
The experience at Monty not only provided playing opportunities for the lads but has led to many players staying involved in the game. In discussing his new role as Head Coach of Newcastle United, John Carver stresses the importance of what Montagu did for him in his younger days.
“Its somewhere that's really close to my heart,” commented Carver. “I owe them so much.”
Neil Rowan, Montagu’s current Chairman, also played on the same team growing up. “We are all very proud, Montagu has given him the skills he’s got today and he’s done very well.”
Over the years, Willis, Scott, Carver, and Rowan have kept in touch as their paths have taken them in different directions within soccer. Through their relationships, Seacoast United has hosted four Montagu youth teams in New Hampshire and played against Newcastle United youth teams on three occasions in the UK.
“I’ll always be grateful for my time at Montagu as it helped me so much as a player and the experience I had in Atlanta ultimately planted the idea to want to come and play college soccer in America,” said Willis, Seacoast United’s President and Founder. “I’ve never lost contact with Montagu and I’m involved with sharing ideas to help them with their future plans. They have a successful girls program now along with many new programs for little kids which is great to see.”
“As former team mates and Geordies, we’re all proud of John being given the chance to be head coach of Newcastle United and we wish him all the very best in his new role,” added Iain Scott, Seacoast United’s Director of Soccer. “Looking back, I think it’s fair to say that our experiences at Montagu led the four of us to stay involved in the sport we love, regardless of the level and we’re all proud of that.”
Read more on John Carver’s appointment as Newcastle’s manager by clicking here.