Moorland coach Charlie Jackson receives prestigious honour in the US after Matrix Mavens win Maryland State Cup!
The highly-qualified coach was the special guest at a proclamation ceremony after the US arm of his academy made history.
The Matrix Mavens, the brain-child of Jackson, were founded in Salisbury in 2015 and have just won the prestigious Maryland State Cup.
Under the expertise of head coach Bryan Watson, the Under 13s boys’ team (pictured) beat Next Level Soccer Limited Ajax 08 White 4-0 at Cedar Lane Regional Park in the round of 16.
They went on to beat St Mary’s Strikers Red 3-1 in the quarter-final of the competition before recording a 2-0 win over Baltimore Celtic 2008 Predators to secure their place in the final.
And they edged a five-goal thriller in the showpiece at Maryland Soccerplex - overcoming Potomac Blue 08 - to lift the trophy for the first time ever. It was something that had never previously been achieved by an Eastern Shore programme.
“It’s been an eventful journey so to top it off with this is really pleasing,” said Jackson. “I’m really humbled. It’s a big thing and it’s the first time that a team from that neck of the woods has won it. I’m extremely proud.
“I didn’t expect it. It’s good for us because we both took a huge leap of faith, unaware of where this would end up. We’re competing against operations that are much bigger. It’s a huge catchment area. Some academies have up to 1,000 kids.”
Jackson, who is Moorland’s football academy manager, had attempted to stream the finale on Facebook while dining at The Firepit in Rawtenstall, but didn’t have any success.
He was lost for words when his co-founder - and North American president of the brand - made the call to share the news.
He said: “I didn’t expect us to win it. Bryan couldn’t believe what we’d done; he was on the floor crying. It’s been an incredible journey!”
June 6th, the date of their victory, will now be a day of celebration in the city of Salisbury after Mayor Jake Day officially bestowed the proclamation in their honour. It will be known as ‘Matrix Soccer Academy’ Day.
Jackson, who runs the original branch of the academy from his Ribble Valley headquarters, had already been floating high on Cloud Nine.
He had watched ex-student Scott McTominay feature in the UEFA Europa League final with Manchester United in May before the 24-year-old played every second of Scotland’s Euro 2020 campaign.
Jackson - who has steered Moorland to four National titles while his Matrix academy owns two passing world records with American company Record Setter - finished: “Our aim is to turn out pro footballers, we want to develop US internationals.
“Even getting a college scholarship for these kids would be a big deal. It’s been a good journey, this outcome is immense. To win the State Cup is a massive achievement.
“We understand the importance of these academies. Grassroots level is the lifeblood and pulse of the game. A proclamation is like being handed the keys to the city. It’s a big civic event.
“I’m so proud to receive this amazing honour. Both Bryan and I have worked tremendously hard in moving Matrix forward so it was fantastic for both of us, and all our children, to receive this prestigious award.”