Year 2023 – A Remarkable Chapter in Our 4-Year Journey

As we bid farewell to 2023, a year etched in the annals of our club’s history, we reflect upon the incredible milestones that have made it arguably the most successful in our four-year journey.

National League Triumphs:
The year kicked off with resounding success as our U18 squad secured a coveted spot in the National Cup final after a fierce battle against Milton Keynes. Facing the London Legends in a thrilling final played in Manchester, our boys emerged victorious, clinching the title of National Champions. Simultaneously, our Division 2 side, under the guidance of Coach Daniel Szatkowski, achieved promotion to Basketball England’s top tier – Division 1.

Our talented junior teams continued the winning streak, with two squads making it to the Final Four event in Manchester. The U14s and U18s showcased their prowess, promising a formidable future for our club.

In the realm of girls’ basketball, our debut season in the National League saw our young squad earning promotion to the U16 South Premier League, marking a monumental achievement for our girls’ side.

EYBL Campaign:
Our foray into the European Youth Basketball League (EYBL) was nothing short of spectacular. The U20 team, under the strategic leadership of Oskar Striuga, embarked on a journey to Levice, Slovakia. The team exhibited commendable resilience against top-tier opponents, ultimately securing a remarkable 7th-place finish.

On the other side of the spectrum, our U13 squad, masterfully guided by Coach M. McKelvey, ventured to Budapest, Hungary. Displaying an upward trajectory in skill and passion, our young players faced off against formidable teams from across Europe. With standout performances from L. Bowman, D. Onuoha, and Z. Milovidov, the unthinkable was achieved – the U13 EYBL CHAMPIONSHIP! This triumph not only resonates within our club but also echoes across the European basketball community, marking a historic milestone for our organization.

Individual Achievements:
Our commitment to player development was further exemplified by numerous call-ups to represent London and the UK. Standout players such as Kaya Birsen, Ata Charles,E. Ahamefule, S. Emanelo, L. Campbell, and N. Djanogly earned spots in various national teams during the Euro Campaign 2023.

As the summer unfolded, our players garnered attention from programs worldwide, receiving offers from renowned institutions such as Jefferson College ( Devonte Sanusi), Adam’s University Philippines ( RJ SanDiego), Florida Coastal Prep ( Elise Guede), LA Sierra ( Jonah Bediako), Western Texas ( Liam Campbell), Strength and Motion Prep ( Hunter Kelleher), and Brewster Academy ( Nathaniel Djanogly).

A Glimpse into 2024:
As we celebrate the successes of 2023, we eagerly anticipate an even more remarkable 2024. The foundation has been set, and with unwavering dedication, we are poised for greater achievements, both on and off the court.

Cheers to a stellar 2023, and here’s to an even brighter 2024!

Back at it

The U15 team is gearing up for an unforgettable journey to Rome from the 7th to the 9th of September to participate in the prestigious EYBL U15 First Stage tournament. Organized by one of Europe’s premier junior clubs, Stella Azzura, this tournament promises fierce competition and unparalleled experiences for our young athletes. The U15 squad is eagerly anticipating this opportunity to showcase their talent on an international stage.

The Schedule:

  • Thursday, September 7th, 7:00 PM (UK Time): Our journey begins with an exciting clash against BC Sibiu from Romania. It’s a prime time match that will set the tone for our campaign in Rome.
  • Friday, September 8th, 10:00 AM (UK Time): On Friday morning, we face off against the formidable Italian side, Unibasket Lanciano. The early kickoff promises an intense battle on the court.
  • Friday, September 8th (Afternoon): After a thrilling morning game, our squad will take a break to explore the enchanting city of Rome. Sightseeing and cultural immersion await as we soak in the beauty of this historic city.
  • Saturday, September 9th, 8:00 AM (UK Time): We return to action early on Saturday morning, facing DEAC Academy from Hungary. The team is determined to bring their A-game and make their mark on the tournament.
  • Saturday, September 9th, 1:00 PM (UK Time): The closing game of this memorable journey takes place against Honved Budapest. The players are ready to leave it all on the court in pursuit of victory.

Meet Coach Dre Andre: We are thrilled to welcome Coach Dre Andre to our coaching squad. With a wealth of experience and enthusiasm, Coach Dre Andre will lead our U15 team during the upcoming season. In his own words, “I’m extremely excited to be joining a continuously improving program and a well-established organization within the community. During our EYBL experience, I aim to provide the players with the correct tools on and off the court to compete at the highest level among Europe’s best. We want to instill a hungry mentality and have a remarkable season in the NBL.”

Stay Connected: We encourage all our supporters to stay connected with us throughout this exciting journey. We will be providing regular updates on our social media channels, so be sure to follow us for behind-the-scenes action, player interviews, and more.

Live Streaming: For those unable to be in Rome, fear not! You can catch all the games live on our YouTube channel. Join us in supporting our boys as they embark on this new EYBL campaign for the 2023-2024 season. Let’s show our unwavering support and cheer them on from wherever you are in the world.

This trip to Rome is not just a basketball tournament; it’s an opportunity for our U15 squad to grow, learn, and make lasting memories. We’re excited to represent our club, our community, and our country on the international stage, and we can’t wait to see where this journey takes us. Go Elite!

A road less travelled.

It sounds like an incredible journey lies ahead for your U13 basketball team! The opportunity to travel to New York City and play against top teams like Asphalt Green and compete in the Summer Nationals tournament help between 18th and 20th of August at Spooky Nook is undoubtedly an exciting and challenging experience.

Playing against strong American competition will be a valuable learning experience for your players. It will not only test their skills and abilities but also provide them with the chance to measure their progress against elite teams. Such exposure will be instrumental in their development as both individual players and as a cohesive team.

Winning the EYBL title previously shows the potential and talent within your U13 team, and taking part in the Summer Nationals will help further nurture that potential. Under the guidance of Head Coach Miguel McKelvey, the boys will likely gain valuable insights, tactics, and strategies that will contribute to their growth on the court.

Trips like these not only foster basketball development but also offer unique cultural experiences for the players. Exploring New York City and experiencing its diverse and vibrant atmosphere will be an unforgettable aspect of the journey.

This trip marks a significant milestone in your team’s journey as they prepare for the 2023-2024 NBL U14 Prem season. The experiences gained during this adventure will undoubtedly contribute to their continued progress and success.

The journey has just begun, and we’ll be providing regular updates to keep you connected with every thrilling moment, from the court to the heart of the action. Stay tuned for inspiring victories, unforgettable plays, and the incredible experiences that this tournament holds for our talented U13 squad. 🏆🌎

Wishing our U13 team all the best in their endeavours as they embark on this road less travelled and continue to strive for excellence both on and off the basketball court!

#U13TournamentJourney #FollowTheAction #UnstoppableSpirit #LondonElite

Here we come

In an exhilarating season of hard work, dedication, and sheer talent, the London Elite Basketball Club has achieved a remarkable feat: promotion to the prestigious NBL Division 1. The club’s success can be attributed to the exceptional efforts of last year’s squad, whose relentless determination secured their place in the top division. As the club celebrates this historic milestone, it is worth acknowledging the positive impact this achievement will have on the community, as well as the promising opportunities it presents for aspiring young players and devoted fans.

The promotion of London Elite Basketball Club to NBL Division 1 signifies a new chapter in the club’s history, one that promises exciting challenges and opportunities. This achievement will undoubtedly inspire young players throughout London and beyond, igniting their passion for basketball and encouraging them to dream big. Aspiring athletes will now have a club within their reach, a platform where they can showcase their skills and strive for greatness.

London Elite Basketball Club’s promotion to NBL Division 1 is not only a cause for celebration within the club but also for the entire community. The success of the club will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the local area, fostering a sense of pride and unity. As the team competes against the country’s finest basketball clubs, it will attract larger audiences, creating a vibrant atmosphere that will energize fans and inspire young spectators.

The competition organised by kit king and BE will be a good first test for our program as we dive into division one competition.

The competition will again be organised by NBL1 Men’s clubs in partnership with naming rights holder and BE.
It will see all 14 NBL1 clubs, plus a pair of invited Division Two sides, competing in four regional groups of four. Our first team will face Thames Valley Cavalier, Hemel Storm (last year winner) and Essex Rebels. Tickets will be available soon.

Tim Brown, former BE Board member and chair of the Men’s Division One group, said:
“I would like to thank for their ongoing support as we push the competition from strength-to-strength.
“The D1 men’s clubs are continuing to grow and move the league forward as a group with Basketball England’s support, making this an exciting time for both the sport and the Trophy itself.”

The promotion of London Elite Basketball Club to NBL Division 1 is a momentous achievement that deserves to be celebrated. The success of last year’s squad has laid a solid foundation for the club’s future, raising aspirations and providing exciting opportunities for young players and fans alike. As the club embarks on its journey in the top division, we eagerly anticipate the thrilling challenges that lie ahead while recognizing the positive impact it will have on the community. The London Elite Basketball Club has truly become a symbol of excellence, unity, and inspiration for basketball enthusiasts everywhere.

With season coming soon, we will be announcing coaching staff, new signing and sponsors through out month of August. Look out this space for amazing news about your Division 1 team.

U16 Girls Plans revealed.

London Elite U16 Girls Team, after an outstanding season, has achieved promotion to the premier division for the highly anticipated 2023-24 season. The team’s success is attributed to their hard work and dedication. We are thrilled to announce the addition of the exceptional coach of Hugh Wilkinson, a former National Cup champion and national finalist. Furthermore, the team is set to make their mark on the international stage as they prepare to compete in the prestigious European Girls Basketball League (EGBL).

London Elite Girls Team’s promotion to the premier division marks a significant milestone in the team’s history. After an impressive season, they have demonstrated their exceptional skills, teamwork, and determination, earning them a well-deserved spot in the top-tier league. The promotion not only reflects the team’s growth and development but also raises their profile within the basketball community.

The appointment of Coach High Wilkinson to lead the London Elite Girls Program has generated excitement and anticipation among players, fans, and basketball enthusiasts alike. With a remarkable track record as a former national cup champion and national finalist, Coach Wilkinson brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the team. His strategic approach, ability to inspire players, and focus on player development are expected to elevate the team’s performance to new heights. Coach Hugh said”I am excited to be joining London Elite as the club creates opportunities to showcase talent on a number of platforms and provides rounded player support to help facilitate a player’s basketball journey. I have seen London Elite grow in success at a rapid rate and have great respect for the way the club has propelled itself up the ranks in basketball. I want to help to grow another branch of the game at the club which will hopefully make a lasting impact”

In addition to their domestic success, the London Elite Girls Team is preparing to compete on the international stage at the prestigious European Girls Basketball League (EGBL). This highly regarded competition features elite teams from across Europe, providing the Elite girls with an opportunity to showcase their skills and represent their club and country. Participating in the EGBL will expose the team to a higher level of competition, allowing them to gain invaluable experience and test their abilities against some of the best teams in Europe.

As the Elite Girls Team gears up for the upcoming premier division and the EGBL, they are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations. Coach Wilkinson, along with her coaching staff, is focused on refining the team’s strategy, enhancing individual skills, and fostering a cohesive playing style. Intensive training sessions, tactical analysis, and friendly matches against strong opponents are all part of the team’s rigorous preparation process.

The players, too, are eagerly embracing the challenge ahead. Their dedication and commitment to improving their game have been evident throughout the season, and they are determined to make the most of their promotion and international opportunity. With a combination of experienced veterans and talented young prospects, the U16 Girls Team is poised to make a strong impression both domestically and internationally.

The U16 Girls Team’s promotion to the premier division and their participation in the EGBL marks an exciting new chapter for the club. With the guidance of Coach High Wilkinson, a renowned figure in the sport, the team is primed for success. As they embark on their journey in the premier division and prepare for the international stage, our girls team aims to continue their winning ways, inspire young athletes, and leave a lasting impression in the world of girls’ basketball.

If you are interested in joining this exciting project, contact Daniel on 07453314867 or info@londonelite to book your slot at our trials taking place on the 6th and 13th of July!


Yes, you read it right, London Elite’s talented U13 Team are European Youth Basketball League (EYBL) Champions for 2022/23! This is a fantastic achievement for our young side who beat some of Europe’s most prestigious basketball programmes to take the U13 crown.

The EYBL regular season had provided a tough test for our U13s, who finished with a 5-3 record – a great achievement in their first EYBL season, but not quite enough to qualify for the Superfinal. Then, one May evening, the squad were offered a wildcard place due to another team dropping out. This came in a period of new beginnings as the U13s waved a fond farewell to long-standing Head Coach Alek, and welcomed his replacement, Miguel McKelvey. Four talented new players also joined the ranks, with Daniel Onuoha, Pawel Obadowski, Leo Bowman, and Tay Asker bringing much needed depth and athleticism.

Grasping the opportunity to make London Elite history, Coach Miguel began preparations for the Superfinal, including competing in Brentwood Fire’s 1-day tournament. Some accomplished performances saw the boys bring home the trophy, ensuring we headed to the Superfinal brimming with confidence. The Team arrived in picturesque Budapest on Sunday 18th June, fired up and ready to begin their campaign the following day:

Game 1 saw the boys get off to a strong start against Slovakian side BBC Kamarno, securing a high-scoring 96-68 victory, with 5 players hitting double digits in scoring: D.Onuoha (25), Q.McKelvey (20), J.Toppin (15), P.Obadowski (14), and L.Bowman (10).

Game 2 presented a bigger challenge against Polish side Twarde Pierniki Torun, a team that finished 2nd in the EYBL North regular season, losing only 1 game.  Led by Quentin McKelvey (21 points, 7 rebounds), the boys started off strong and jumped to a solid 20-point lead. A spirited comeback from Twarde Pierniki saw our lead reduced to single figures, but the boys held on to secure their second win of the day 88-74.

Game 3 saw our boys matched against a Budapest Select team containing some of the top prospects in Hungarian basketball and boasting a regular season record of 8-2. Led by Leo Bowman (23 points, 10 steals, 7 rebounds) and Daniel Onuoha (21 points, 17 rebounds), our boys established a 10-point lead at half time. After a stirring talk from Coach Miguel, the team extended their lead to 20 points in the 3rd Quarter and sailed to a 67-57 victory.  London Elite had made the final and the dream was taking shape!

Daniel Onuoha stormed the Superfinal but claiming much deserved MVP title

The EYBL Final provided the ultimate test against Ukrainian side BC Uzhgorod, a highly competitive outfit with a 10-1 regular season record.  We got off to a flying start, with a 14-point lead by half-time, but the Ukrainians showed great resilience in the second half, making fifteen 3-pointers to bring the game back in their sights. Our boys’ did not disappoint, putting on a heroic performance to hold on for the win and secure the EYBL Title. Shout out to Daniel Onuaha (19 points, 8 rebounds), Jayden Toppin (16 points, 9 rebounds), Leo Bowman (11 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, Team MVP), and Aleksander Milovidov, our 6’4 giant who played at tremendous efficiency (27) and earned the Final MVP award.

A perfect end to the season and a true underdog story! Additional mentions to Quentin McKelvey who was ranked 4th overall for the EYBL season (ave. 22.3 points), and Daniel Onuaha who was voted Superfinals MVP (ave. 20.5 points, 13.3 rebounds, 26.5 Efficiency).

Head Coach Miguel McKelvey said: ”It was an honour to coach these players at EYBL. In addition to their talent, they are a great group of boys. They all have a love for the game that shows in how they play. They bought into our strategy and did a great job executing the game plan as a team. I congratulate them on their incredible accomplishment!

U12s Head to the Radom Cup

The 2022/23 season has been the most successful in London Elite’s history, with multiple titles achieved across our age groups. This success is built on the dedication of our Coaches, commitment of players and parents, and our ongoing investment in the London Elite Youth programme – all crucial factors in a monumental season.

We refuse to be complacent and are working hard to ensure this season’s success continues for many years to come. We continue to invest in our Youth Programme and are committed to providing our youngest players with exciting opportunities to showcase their talents and gain much needed experience. After a successful National League season (9-3 record), our U12 boys will travel for their first international trip, competing in Poland’s prestigious Radom Cup between 9th – 11th June.

This will be the 12th year of the Radom Cup, one of the most significant youth tournaments in Europe, with 24 teams competing for honours in the U12 category. As well as participating in five games, our boys will enjoy free access to the local AquaPark and cheer on the local team at a professional game. The squad will also take part in a large celebratory parade through the Town – a fantastic opportunity for the team to bond and build memories that will last a lifetime!

London Elite GM, Daniel Szatkowski said:

‘In a flood of success stories for our club this season, we must not forget that the future will be defined by our youngest age group. It is essential that we continue to provide these boys with high-quality coaching and the opportunity to gain valuable game experience.  I am really excited to see our talented U12 squad getting their first ever international experience – it is essential the boys learn basketball amongst the top programmes in Europe.

 European Tournaments like the Radom Cup are the very essence of basketball – fun, music, friends, and strong competition all make for a great time! London Elite reaches beyond the basketball court – we are one team, one family, one community! This trip promises to be a fantastic experience for the players, and a well-earned holiday for parents… I can’t wait!’

Look out on our social media channels for regular updates on London Elite’s youngest team – the future looks bright! #family

U20 EYBL SuperFinal

Last weekend the hard work displayed by our U20 Team all season, culminated in their appearance on one of Europe’s biggest stages – the SuperFinal of the European Youth Basketball League (EYBL).  The SuperFinal matches the best Teams from the EYBL regular season, for a final showdown in Levice Slovakia. U20 Head Coach Daniel Szatkowski had assembled an exciting squad drawn from our high-flying U-18 Team, alongside returning Elite alumni who had completed their seasons in Europe and the USA.

Game 1 saw the Team fall to Italy’s renowned College Basket Prep programme, who provided a shooting masterclass in the first half. Our boys staged a brave comeback to bring the game within 3 points, but the Rome Team’s experience ultimately proved too much. Nevertheless, confidence remained high as five players hit double digits in the game: Oscar Striuga (19 points), Anthony Wilson (16 points), Odaine Beckford (12 points, 10 rebounds), Josh Gentry (11 points, 8 rebounds), Seb Emanalo (12 points, 4 steals), and Alex Wildish (9 points).

Game 2 was a real battle against the experienced Budapest Honved who displayed their shooting prowess early on. This presented an uphill battle for our boys who once again staged a hard-fought comeback that fell just short of the win. Despite the result, an outstanding performance by U17 player and GB U18 hopeful, Seb Emanalo (game-high 25 points), kept spirits high. Oscar Striuga and Odaine Beckford also impressed with 14 points each.

Game 3 was a particularly exciting prospect as our boys squared up against the Romanian National Champions, Dinamo Bucharest.  The Team was buoyed by the late arrival of ‘The Twins’, Tyler and John Fairbrain, who had remained in London due to exam commitments.  They didn’t disappoint, with Tyler adding 12 points and 9 rebounds, and John contributing 15 points. The Team executed an extremely well-rounded performance, with Anthony Wilson and Oscar Striuga adding 20 points each, and Odaine Beckford contributing 13 points.

A fantastic way for London Elite to end the Tournament – beating the Romanian Champions and finishing the EYBL season in 8th place (64 Clubs competed, representing some of the most established and respected basketball programmes in Europe). Special mention goes to Oskar Striuga, our young Lithuanian Guard who was named Team MVP for the tournament after a series of inspirational performances.

Head Coach Daniel Szatkowski said: ‘It is unbelievably exciting to see how well our Club has competed against the top basketball programs at EYBL U20. We left Slovakia with our heads held high, and full of excitement for the season ahead.  This is an extremely talented squad, and all the boys are thankfully eligible for next season. As always, we will re-evaluate, learn lessons, and seek to improve as we prepare for 2023/24. In the meantime, we take a moment to reflect – overall 8th in such a prestigious competition is another huge achievement in a monumental season for London Elite Basketball Club.

A huge thank you to the EYBL for managing the league so professionally, it plays an important role in showcasing European programmes and produces highly entertaining basketball!’

Look out on our social media channels for more U20 plans – big things to come!

EYBL Superfinal Places Confirmed!

London Elite is thrilled to announce that our U13 and U20 squads have been invited to the prestigious European Youth Basketball League Superfinal – a fantastic achievement for our young Club! Shortly after attending our first ever Junior NBL Final Four event, and as we prepared to settle down for the off-season, we find ourselves focusing on the European campaign again!

The European Youth Basketball League (EYBL) is one of the most competitive leagues in Europe, providing a unique opportunity for our players to showcase their talents against the best players in Europe. Watched by scouts from across the globe, the EYBL often provides a springboard for talented young players to enter high-profile basketball programmes.

Our U20 Team return to the historic Town of Levice in Slovakia on 18th May, facing established basketball clubs including Slovakia Select, Dinamo Bucharest, and USK Prague. The Team will hope to build on their EYBL performances here earlier in the year, finishing with a 2-2 record. Led by Coach Daniel Szatkowski, the Team has been working hard, undertaking additional intensive preparation to ensure they maximise their potential in Slovakia. Coach Daniel said:  

‘This is a truly remarkable achievement for London Elite. The EYBL campaign has been extremely valuable for all of our teams, and to reach the Superfinal stage demonstrates how our Club is growing from strength to strength. Top 8 in an U20 league is a big achievement in itself, but I truly believe that with the players we are adding for this stage, we can make a big impact in the Superfinal.’

Our U13 squad return to the Hungarian Capital of Budapest on 19th June. The U13s represent one of the most exciting projects in the club, finishing the previous EYBL stage with 3 wins. Led by Quentin McKelvey (26.8 points per game), and Aleksandar Milovidov (11 rebounds per game), they will be full of confidence as they face the likes of Pamukspor SK, Budapest Select, and Alpha Basketball Sibiu.

Alongside this great news, we are delighted to announce that Coach Miguel McKelvey will take over the reins of our U14 Prem squad next season, replacing Coach Alek who has made the decision to step-down. Coach Miguel is a NCAA D1 Oregon Graduate and brings a real depth of knowledge to our talented side.  Coach Miguel said:

‘I am truly honoured by the opportunity to coach London Elite’s U14 team. We have a great group of young players with both exceptional talent and outstanding character. All of the players and coaches are excited about going to Budapest for the 3rd time this season – the EYBL has been a great opportunity to learn and grow as a team, and the Superfinal will be a springboard for our rising U13s as they prepare for U14 Prem next season.’

Look out on our social media channels for regular updates on each Team’s progress in the Superfinals.

First Junior Final Fours in books!

Not many people would believe after only the first-ever season in Premier competition, London Elite would break into the most prestigious junior competition in UK. Joining well-established basketball programs seemed like an impossible goal to have.

Hundreds hours of training, countless miles to the away games, tones of emotions, dozens of won games and our dream has come true. Our talented U14 and U18 squads have booked a place at a highly anticipated event in Manchester.


Our oldest junior team went through really competitive Playoff rounds before reaching semi-final match-up vs London rivals CoLA. In the first round of the playoffs, our home venue Capital City was visited by Manchester Giants team which provided a tough match up for our boys. U18’s closed the game in great fashion and secured a quarter-final game vs Myerscough.

North England based squad is part of EABL academy and has plenty of talented players. Our quarterfinal game went back and forth with no side taking clear lead and overtime was needed to see any side claiming the win. Our u18’s supported by 200+ spectators achieved the unbelieve goal of winning a game by only 2 points behind perfectly executed play at the end of the game. A great pass by Omon Arifkhanov set Hunter Kelleher for an open 3. Hunter did not hesitate and Hunter did not let his team down. Perfect 3-point shot will be forever key highlight for our U18 campaign. The final fours ticket was booked in heroic circumstances.

Semifinal match-up saw our U18 squad face South London Rivals, City of London Academy. In a low scoring affair, it was our team that held nerves and claimed an important win which meant that Grand Final against Manchester Magic was set. With over 1000 spectators watching this clash live, it was obvious it is one of the most electric clashes possible. Top players, programs and coaches on display. Game started in our favour however hot handed host came back and controlled the game within 10 point lead though out 2nd and 3rd quarter however our London boys never gave up and fought bravely back bringing the game to 3 points difference with 3 mins on the clock. Despite a great fight, it was North England side that sealed the game and claimed the championship on that fantastic night in Manchester.

Our U18’s squad in first-ever Juniors Final Fours has claimed 2nd place. This was added on top of U18 National Cup won In January.  Head Coach Kieran Matthews said: “ Such a fantastic journey did not finish the way we wanted. However the final game was a testimony of what London Elite club has become. Even though we did not win the championship, our boys won National Cup and were Runner up in National League. They made the whole club proud.

Before the season started last August 2022, it was hard to imagine we would be one of the four top teams in the United Kingdom by April 2023.  Big congratulations to Hunter Kelleher for being named as an All Star 5 for the whole Final Four tournament!

U14 Head Coach Alek Blagoevski-Trazoff “Our U14 team had just gotten promoted from the Conference to the Premier Division in the summer of 2022 when I took over the reins. We were a part of the most competitive conference (SouthWest) and had the last year’s champions to compete with. However, we started the pre-season preparations ahead of time and we set the bar high in terms of the process goals we wanted to achieve. We also had a very talented group of kids to begin with, including U14 England national team member Kaya Birsen and Aspire program members Daniel OlusanyaQuentin McKelvey and Nicholas Ferrari.”

The team was fortunate to have an Aspire program member, a fantastic leader, Mamba mentality and your next CEO Ata Charles Refiogly join in the off-season, which was one of the critical pieces for our success. At that time, we formed the base of success for the next year, including internationals Alexander Milovidov and Omer Zardok Shemer. We were very fortunate to add key pieces later on during the season, including Berkay Adala and Niko Sagiryan. By the end of the season, I was referring to this team as the “UN team”, given that we had so many different nationalities on the team – players, parents and coaches.

The season was fairly long and gruelling. We faced many challenges.  Our conference did have some of the best players and coaches in the country, and they stepped up to the challenge as well. We had one overtime, one double overtime game, and one game where the refs left the game – all of them away!!! Particularly at the end of the season, we had several setbacks with injuries to key players and emotional rollercoaster games, which all took a toll on the team.

Frankly – all of those challenges made us come together as a family and a community and made the trip to the Junior Final Foul (JFF) a very much deserved reward for all the sacrifices and hard work.

This success would not have been possible without the generous support from the club, all the parents and players. In particular:

— Club Director and JFF Assistant Coach – Daniel Szatkowski — thank you for the amazing opportunity to be the Head Coach this year!

— my assistant coach Miguel McKelvey — thank you for disagreeing with me so often. It made me a much better coach! You know I appreciated it then and will forever remember them. I am sure there were many other ways in which you supported the club, for which I am also very grateful!

— Onur Birsen — parent, recruiter and website master extraordinaire — your overall efforts with recruitment and thoughtful comments on strategy were an indispensable part of the success!

— Charlie and Kate Addison – all the video and statistical analysis made the coaching work so much more focused!

— Nadia Refioglu – for trusting me as a coach and supporting Ata so much, including driving an untold number of miles and being stuck in traffic in the last 8 months…

“Even though we ended the season in fourth place in the JFF after losses in two very close games, this season has been nothing short of phenomenal, given this was the London Elite U14 Boys Premier first time competing at this level. Almost half the team who went to the event this year is coming back next year, and they experienced the incredible intensity and energy in Manchester! They all know the amount of work and dedication required to succeed at the highest level.”

“With an amazing selection of new talented kids who have already indicated they are joining the team and a great new Head Coach, I have no doubt they will be very competitive next season as well. I am certain the team will be back even stronger and better prepared for a Junior Final Four run in April 2024. Watch this space…”

Big congratulations to Daniel Olusanya for making tournament All Star 5!

As they say in the Foreign Service – this is not a goodbye, but a “see you soon”…