Home News Fixtures Tables Squad Commercial Info History Shop Under 20s
Tuesday 15th October v. Crusaders (home) - Toals Co Antrim Shield Rd 2 - k.o: 7:45pm

Balmer leads Northern Ireland under 19s to victory
Uploaded Saturday, 8th Sep, 2018 at 16:00

KOFI Balmer met back up with his Ballymena United team mates this morning having played twice for his country this week.
Balmer, who will celebrate his 18th birthday in ten days' time, also captained the Northern Ireland under-19 side in the second game - a 4-1 victory over Slovakia.
Balmer gets a warm welcome at training on Saturday morning
Click Above Image To View Full Size
The Ballyclare Secondary School student was delighted to have gained the experience of playing for his country, and focuses now on bringing that back into his club form. "It was a great experience to be a part of - firstly being able to play both international games was a reminder of the standards expected and, secondly, captaining the second game gave me a great insight and experience of leading a winning team. The whole week was a great opportunity to look ahead and see the level that I need to be consistently performing at.
Captaining the Northern Ireland team also gives me something to bring back to the Showgrounds, looking at how I can help others as well as how they can help me. It gives me the experience of what it takes to be a leader and it would be nice that one day I could maybe follow into the footsteps here of Jim and lead the Sky Blues out in front of our home fans."
Manager David Jeffrey was understandably proud of Balmer#s achievements for both club and country, "obviously we are really proud of Kofi, particularly this week, in terms of representing his country, performing twice and being made captain. Kofi's journey has been meteoric when you consider where he was playing the season before last. Credit to him and to Bryan McLoughlin who said back then that we had to give this lad a chance.
We'll never forget the day that Kofi scored to secure fourth place and now he must take the incredible experience of this week, add it to the experience from last season, both when things were going well and when things weren't so well and use that to develop and get stronger and stronger. This season he started a little bit behind having committed to a pre-arranged family holiday, but we took time with him and talked through how to approach this season - it has to be remembered that this young man is in his last year of school, he's just been made deputy head boy, and when you think of all the things going on in his young life, he's still standing up in the adult world of football.
He has worked hard to get back up to speed, he did well against Dollingstown, and we felt he did well enough to keep his place in the team against Warrenpoint, no one could argue he didn't deserve it. The challenge for him now is to keep it up - he has fierce competition in that position, but that is part and parcel of his development, and in short Bryan and I are immensely proud of him."