Tag: #JMA Academy

JMA Rockets Teenager Makes History with FC Barcelona Move

A 15-year-old basketball prodigy, trained and supported by Reading Rockets throughout 2018, has become the first British player to sign for FC Barcelona Basketball Club.

Matthew Marsh, who originally hails from Penryn in Cornwall, moved to Reading in early 2018 to attend the Rockets basketball programme based at John Madejski Academy.

From a small town with a population of just 7,000, Matthew’s basketball team was enthusiastic but without the infrastructure for someone of his stature – literally!

At 6ft10, Matthew’s active lifestyle, ambition and potential required a shift change. Conversations between his parents, Angela and Tim, his club and JMA Director of Basketball Matt Johnson, Matthew opted to move five hours into the country to Reading, where he has thrived.

In 2018 alone, the youngster has been fully supported by Academy staff, living away from home, training every day and playing at the highest level possible for his age group – the Elite Academies Basketball League (EABL).

Having the benefit of training with other international players, Matthew was recently selected for the Great Britain U16 squad, with whom he will compete in the European Championships this summer.

It was then that the call came from FC Barcelona, who offered the rising star a two-year scholarship, which begins in September. It caps a fantastic year for Matthew, who has recently concluded his GCSEs, and JMA Rockets, who have demonstrated its credentials as the go-to centre of excellence for aspirational young basketball players.

JMA Rockets Director of Basketball Matt Johnson commented: “It is a momentous occasion for Matthew and his family, as well as an incredibly proud moment for our school and club. These opportunities don’t arise often but Matthew absolutely deserves it; he is a great athlete, an excellent student and a well-mannered young man. The coaches and support he has received while at JMA Rockets has been of the highest level, and he has thrived in this environment. I have no doubts he will make the most of this opportunity.”

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane added: “Matthew has worked hard at the academy this season. Although he is still new to the sport, he has put in the hours to get his body in great shape, and he will relish the chance to be in one of the best performance environments in the world. We look forward to following his progress very closely and wish him all the best for this wonderful opportunity.”

Matthew Marsh said: “I am delighted to be going to Barcelona to continue to develop my basketball career following an enjoyable and successful year with the Rockets and JMA where the support from coaches and staff has enabled me to pursue my dream career for which I am really grateful.”

JMA Rockets Academy appoints new Head Coach




Alan Keane named as Head Coach of the Rockets Academy at JMA in Reading.

After his initial year working with the club and Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces the time was right for Coach Keane to take over from Pedro Rosado at the Club’s EABL Academy in Reading as Rosado seeks to develop his career overseas.

Academy Director Matt Johnson said: “It is an exciting time for our sport and our club. 3 Years ago Pedro started to develop the role of expanding the programme at JMA by building a 6th form High Performance programme for young Men and Women from across UK and Europe.

Within those 3 years we have moved up in the EABL rankings, developed a programme that is now producing high level student athletes, and is well linked across Europe and the USA.

The work done over these 3 years within the school has laid a very good foundation for us to now take the next step on the performance ladder and Coach Keane will certainly do a very good job in helping the Academy grow up even more. “

Johnson continues “Working with Alan is always a challenge, and something I have always personally embraced. He is a critical thinker, is dedicated to his craft as a High Performance Coach and is always ready to listen to new methodology and ideas. Alan’s academic background and current PhD study is a reflection of the way he constantly wants to improve himself and others around him and I am excited to see the way we can develop our programme to become the very best environment for learning it can be.”

 Coach Keane has always embraced the role as National Team Head Coach.

Coach Keane said about the new opportunity:

“Taking on any new role in basketball is always exciting. However working with JMA Academy raises my level of enthusiasm even higher. I have always felt that Coaching in the EABL must be very rewarding when you consider the structure of the league and the calibre of athletes and Coaches involved.

I am already aware of the professionalism and Elite provisions in place at JMA Basketball Academy and Reading Rockets having coached with the Rockets this past season. I know how forward thinking the club and school are and that excites me most when I consider what I can bring to the programme.”

Chairman Gary Johnson added: “We are incredibly pleased with Pedro and the work he has done here. We wish him all the best in his next steps as a young and impressive Coach. Alan will be a fantastic addition to the programme in many areas and we look forward to starting the journey together.”