St Joseph’s College has seen success from its football teams recently, including a national cup win.

Once known just for its rugby, St Joseph's is beginning to showcase truly outstanding and well-rounded multi-sports provision for girls and boys.

The Ipswich college’s under 15 (U15) squad has experienced a history-making season for boys’ football provision at the co-educational independent school, which led to them winning the English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) Cup.

The boys’ journey to the final was not smooth sailing – they had been knocked out of the Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) Cup competitions and the Suffolk County Cup in the quarter final stage, but the students (also known as the Joeys) remained united.

“The Joeys responded with big wins over Attleborough Academy (4-3) and St John’s (3-2), with Rene Parrish’s last-minute winner in the latter sending the team to the semi-final of the ESFA Cup,” said Louis Henman-Mason, U15s lead coach.

“The semi-final itself saw our ‘Hollands’ pitch surrounded by a huge number of spectators, and the players responded remarkably.

“A free kick by Harvey Ness was the highlight, as the team beat Buckswood School 3-2 to reach the final at the Hawthorns Stadium, home of West Bromwich Albion, where they went on to beat Clifton High School 1-0 to win the cup.

“They left everything on the pitch, earning every bit of the success they have achieved.”

St. Joseph's College travelled to The Hawthorns to play for the ESFA CupSt Joseph's College travelled to The Hawthorns to play for the ESFA Cup (Image: St. Joseph's College)

Harvey was one of two international footballers within the boys U15 group, representing Scotland while his teammate, Ollie Oldfield, is a member of the Wales national team.

Both Harvey and Ollie are also members of Ipswich Town U15 side, a club which has had its fair share of recent successes.

Through a link formed between club and college, St Joseph’s also includes a number of Town U21 players in its Women’s Dual Career Partnership, and the school serves as the education provider for Town U18 boys academy scholars.

In March, Town Women played their first match at Portman Road in front of a record 10,000 fans. Seven current and former St Joseph’s College students were within that group: most notably, current students Leah Mitchell, who is Town Young Player of the Year, and Evie Williams, as well as Town Player of the Season and former student Sophie Peskett.

Louis Henman-Mason, U15 lead coach at St. Joseph's CollegeLouis Henman-Mason, U15 lead coach at St Joseph's College (Image: St. Joseph's College)

St Joseph’s College football department, made up of Paige Shorten (director of football), Cole Skuse (head football coach), Louis Henman-Mason and Ian Kershaw (U13 phase lead), glows with pride in what the students have achieved.

Louis said: “Their hard work throughout the season has given them more and more self belief.

“With each progression they made in the competition, you felt as though the group were becoming more comfortable and confident, solving problems on their own and driving standards from within the group.”

This is the second year in a row that a St Joseph’s College football team has reached the final of a national cup.

It follows the success of last year’s U18 girls, who achieved an unprecedented treble of trophies, winning the ESFA Cup, ISFA Trophy and the Suffolk County Cup.

“The girls’ success from last year has clearly had a knock-on effect, paving the way for more success from our small Suffolk school,” said Louis.

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