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While it may not be recorded as a significant moment in the annals of Liverpool FC’s rich history, there was a moment of genius from Virgil Van Dijk in the fixture against Tottenham in March that should be studied again and again.
 
First of all, for those who don’t follow Premier League football, let’s set the scene. Liverpool are chasing a first title since 1990, locked in a tit-for-tat battle against Manchester City in one of the most thrilling titles races in recent times. 
 
On 31st March, Liverpool had one of their toughest tests in the run-in, a clash with fellow Big 6 side Tottenham Hotspur. A loss or a draw from Liverpool would have given the advantage back to Pep Guardiola’s relentless Manchester City side. This is a race that will be won on the finest of margins.
 
With five minutes to go in the Tottenham game, Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko broke for a counterattack, creating a two on one situation with Spurs forward Heung-Min Son. Standing in the way of the Spurs mean was Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool’s colossus central defender. 
 
Quick-thinking could hand Liverpool title
 
As Sissoko strode forward, Van Dijk simultaneously shut out the passing angle for Son and narrowed the angle for Sissoko to shoot at Liverpool’s goal. It was the type of quick thinking that only the truly great players are able to do, seeing patterns and angles that the rest of us mere mortals do not. 
 
The result was that Sissoko fluffed his shot, straight over the bar and the head of Liverpool’s keeper Allison. Some will point to Sissoko’s lack of composure, but this was a defensive masterclass all created by the Dutch maestro, who never needed to put a tackle in. A few minutes later, Liverpool scored the winner, putting them firmly back in the hot-seat in the Premier League title race. 
 
Van Dijk should be studied by young players and coaches who wish to study the art of the game. He has shown Liverpool fans that he understands the art of defending better than any player at Anfield in a generation. Indeed, some are now saying that Van Dijk is the best defender on the planet.
 
Van Dijk considered Ballon D’Or contender
 
If you want to go a little further than that, there is a growing consensus that Van Dijk might just be a serious contender for the Ballon D’Or this year. Online betting site 888sporthave priced him as 13/1 to be the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro to win the highest accolade in soccer. Lionel Messi at 3/5, Cristiano Ronaldo at 7/2, Kylian Mbappé at 7/1 and Neymar at 10/1 are still the favourites, but it just shows how well regarded Van Dijk is to be mentioned in that company.
 
 
Indeed, if you study Van Dijk’s performances, you will see that he has that hallmark of a truly great leader – getting the most out of those around him. Liverpool’s young defenders, like Trent-Alexander Arnold, will constantly look to Van Dijk during the game, knowing the Dutchman will show them where to be and when to move. 
 
 
As with other legendary defenders built in a similar mould, like Franz Beckenbauer and Franco Baresi, Van Dijk is capable of a putting in a thunderous tackle, but he also knows that is the last resort. Positioning is the key difference between a good central defender and a great one. Van Dijk is certainly the latter, and he should be an example to anyone wanting to learn the game. 
Scotland women’s head coach Shelley Kerr hopes her young players can continue to “inspire” the next generation of footballers, as she gears up her side for the women’s World Cup.
 
The women's national side will make their first ever World cup appearance in June, with a match against England. Kerr has been impressed with how her young stars have dealt with their names in the spotlight.
 
“I think they’ve coped really well, certainly as a group they have matured massively. The only way you become mature in sports is by facing many different challenges, and they have certainly faced some challenges in the past campaign.
 
“They have developed really well. Some of the young players have been involved in the recent Euro’s competition, which is a bit of experience heading to the World Cup. There’s still a lot of work to be done in the next 5 months though, in the process to our preparation for the World Cup. “
 
The preparation for the tournament in June begins this month, with the women’s side jetting off to La Manga, Spain, where they will play Norway and Iceland. With many key stars missing from action due to injury and club commitments, Kerr believes her young players can still be successful, without the presence of experienced performers in the dressing room.
 
“Our group of players are playing at the highest levels for their clubs, playing against and playing with some really experienced players. That’s all part of maturing as an athlete and a part in top sport. The better the opponent you play, the better the players you play with, it equips you more to perform.”
 
Kerr is now hoping that the success Scotland’s women’s team have had can help leave a lasting impact on young footballers in Scotland.
 
“That was part of the plan, to inspire the next generation. If you can get more girls playing football it’s fantastic, and it’s deemed as a success. We need to have a legacy aspect, there’s two strands to this qualification, in terms of qualifying for the Euro’s and the World Cup.
 
“We want to perform and have a bit success at these competitions, but there is the legacy part, so it’s also about growing the game. We need to make sure we not only inspire the next generation of young girls, but the whole population. It’s boys, women, girls, men. We want to inspire everyone.”
 
Central Girls Football Academy have bid farewell to four star players as they jet off to America to continue their careers stateside.
 
Shaney McCabe, Kim McAlpine, Morgan Cross and Captain Ellie Kane have left Grangemouth to join U.S. clubs on scholarships.
 
Kane, 18, and Cross, 17, left for the University of South Alabama this past weekend; McCabe, 18, recently arrived at Laramie County Community College in Wyoming. McAlpine, 18, heads to Carson-Newman University in Tennessee next week.
 
For all four girls, the nerves have kicked in but they’re raring to get started:
 
“I’m extremely nervous as it is a bit of a step into the unknown but I’m also excited to meet the girls and start training,” said Kane.
 
McCabe said: “When moving day came that is when it hit me and it was really hard saying goodbye to loved ones but it’s been the best opportunity ever.”
 
Cross commented: “It still doesn’t feel real but I’m looking forward to a completely new challenge and experience.”
 
And McAlpine said: “I’m really excited but I’m a wee bit nervous as well. It was the offer of a lifetime and I couldn’t say no to it.
 
 
The girls leave Scotland having enjoyed lots of success with Central; they’ve all won every domestic cup and league title available, including a treble winning year in 2015 and the SWFL Division 1 title with the senior squad in 2017.
 
They’ve all represented Scotland at various levels as well, and on two occasions all four were on the pitch at the same time – a particularly proud moment for everyone involved at Central.
 
Cross said: “I’m gutted to be leaving Central as I’ve made so many memories and friendships over the last four years. It’s thanks to Central that I have the opportunity to go out to America in the first place.”
 
Kane said: “I’m very sad to be leaving as it is the only team I’ve played for since moving from my childhood boys team. I’ve had the opportunity to see different parts of the world with Central and met some great girls along the way.
 
“I will of course miss the coaches who have taught me everything I know and helped me achieve my dream.”
 
 
All four were part of the Central team that travelled to Florida for the Disney International Cup at Under-18 level last year. Up against teams from the USA, Central America and Brazil, the team won the competition and before long the offers were rolling in from the scouts in attendance:
 
“There were teams from Brazil who are really skilful and teams from Honduras who were big and strong, so there were some things that we found hard,” remembers McAlpine. “But to be honest we went over there and completely dominated which was excellent.”
 
Back home, Head of Football at Central, Ian Dibdin, admits that it will be tough to replace such key players, but is proud of the role his club played in their development:
 
“Would I rather have the girls part of the team? Yes, of course!” he said. “With them we would avoid the drop [from the SWPL2], but if that meant them losing the opportunity of a lifetime then they need to go and the club will just have to get on with it. We have a great philosophy at the club and the many players we have developed are testament to that.
 
“We look to have football all year round for the girls, with training continuing throughout the year and travelling for tournaments during the summer break. It has helped us evolve as coaches and allowed us as a club to widen our experience and knowledge of the game.
 
“The girls getting scholarships is the pinnacle of all these factors; we will wear that badge with pride.”
 
 
And now he’s looking forward to seeing the next generation of players step up and fill the void left by the American-bound foursome.
 
He said: “We enjoy a tremendous youth system and players will continue to come through, I’ve no doubt about it. We use the tag ‘This is the Way we Play’, this sums up our approach to the game and our totally player-focussed attitude.
 
“It’s ultimately up to the individuals themselves but maximising talent has been our forte - for those wanting to work hard, listen and have a good lifestyle.”
 
Whilst Dibdin is confident of the future, the four outgoing players are heading into the unknown. But, when the dust has settled on their courses in America, they’re all excited to be playing football at as high a level as possible.
 
McCabe said: “Hopefully when I finish I will be playing for a high-level team and enjoying life.”
 
Similarly, Kane said: “I’m not certain of where I’d hope to be in five years, I just want to be playing football wherever that may be.”
 
Cross said: “My ideal goal is to be playing professionally after my four years at South Alabama.”
 
“I’m hoping to get a degree in P.E teaching as I want to come back here and keep pursuing my football whilst also being a P.E. teacher. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” said McAlpine.
 
Whatever happens, the future looks bright for these four Scottish exports.
 
Friday, 27 July 2018 13:32

Jamie Skinner Goal of the Season 2017/18

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The Jamie Skinner Goal of the Season is back for 2017/18! Previous winners of the award include Erin Curthbert (Rangers FC Girls), Luke Fleming (Blue Brazil BC), Hamish MacLeod (Banks O'Dee Albion) and Callum McCaig (Burnhead Colts). Click here to look back at their wondergoals.
 
This is the hub page for the competition. Check back here for all of the latest news and updates. The format for this year is as follows:

It's final time!
 
We want as many votes as possible this year, and have therefore opened up voting to both Facebook and Twitter platforms for you to get involved in, as well as on our website.
 
REMEMBER: Public voting is worth 40% of the vote this year, whilst 60% will be voted via a select panel of youth football clubs/volunteers/journalists.
 
Voting will conclude on Thursday 16th August, with the winner to be announced on social media on Friday 17th August.
 
Below, you'll find the list of the top 10 final goals. To submit your vote, simply fill out the information below.
 
To view the goals and to get onto our other voting platforms - click on the links below.
 
 
Checkbox:
Name of voter
E-mail:
 
 
Ahead of the weekend, we look at a heart-warming story from the 2006 Irvine Meadow boys, who made a fantastic charitable gesture yesterday.
 
On 22nd March it was World Down’s Syndrome Day, which aims to raise awareness of the condition that affects 60,000 people across the United Kingdom.
 
The 2006 Irvine Meadow boys decided that they wanted to help bring our attention to the cause, and did so by donating an impressive £200 to the Down’s Syndrome Scotland Ayrshire branch yesterday.
 
A great show of the young boys character, which is not the first time the boys have decided to donate to a local organisation, showing that there are bigger things in life than football.
 
Last night, a representative from the Ayrshire branch attended the boys training with her son to receive the cheque.
 
It is with great gestures like this that we remember to help those around us who need it most, and the 2006 Irvine Meadow boys exemplify that attitude. 
 
Read more about Downs Syndrome Scotland @ https://www.dsscotland.org.uk
 
 
How do you spend your week off... A sunny beach in Spain? A cultural visit to France? The bright lights of the Big Apple? YFS Media Team duo Kieran Green and Ryan Rowe have decided to go for something a little bit different. Substitute Barcelona for Balmoor, Paris for Pittodrie and New York for New Douglas Park and you'll be along the right lines.
 
Starting on Monday, they will set off on a road trip visiting all 42 SPFL club stadiums in just a few days. Not content with that, they're hoping to visit a local youth club in each of the areas too. If you'd like to add your club to their map, all we require from you is a club representative to meet them at your home pitch, and pose for a photo with a club scarf/shirt/merchandise. Fill out the form below and if they can visit you, they'll be back in touch.

YFS wishes Kieran and Ryan the very best for their adventure. To donate to their chosen charity, click here.
 
Name*
Position at club:*
Phone:*
Email:*
Club:*
Home Pitch Postcode:*
Why should Kieran & Ryan pick your club?*
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 13:04

YFS board member vacancy (unpaid)

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Youth Football Scotland is an ambitious, award winning social enterprise, that has been established for seven years. To assist the organisation's growth, we are looking to appoint two additional board members. We are especially keen to hear from people with expertise in business, finance, commercial/sales, marketing and education. However, all applications wil be considered on their own merits.

This role is unpaid and requires the minimum commitment of one evening per month, to attend YFS's board meetings in Edinburgh.
 
If you are interested in joining our board please send a brief note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. explaining what you could bring to the organisation.
 
Thursday, 28 December 2017 17:36

Jamie Skinner Goal of the Season - Final 2016/17

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It's time! The final of the Jamie Skinner Foundation Goal of the Season, with Colin Campbell Sports, is here. The vote will be split 50/50 - 50% public vote and 50% a panel consisting of players from SPFL & SWPL1 clubs. Watch the 12 contenders in the video below...
 
 
 
You can vote using the following methods:

Facebook
Click here and follow the instructions to cast your vote.

Twitter
Click here and retweet the goal of the your choice.

SMS 
To follow

Web Voting
To follow
Monday, 04 September 2017 12:41

SFA Youth Cup 2017/18 - Round One Results

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(Photo credit: Whitehill Welfare FC)
 
The results are in from the majority of the Scottish FA Youth Cup's first round ties. They are as follows:
 
Northern Section
Inverurie Loco Works 2-2 Nairn County (Inverurie win 4-1 on pens)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 6-1 Banks O’Dee
Deveronvale 2-1 Formartine United 
Lossiemouth v Keith (TBC)
Ross County 10-0 Elgin City
 
Central Section
Albion Rovers 1-1 Clyde  (Albion win 6-5 on pens)
Cowdenbeath 2-3 Whitehill Welfare
Dundee v Raith Rovers (tie still to be played)
East Kilbride 4-1 Airdrieonians
 
Southern Section
Stranraer 4-3 Mid-Annandale
Bonnyton Thistle 0-1 Selkirk
 
The second round draw has already been made. Click here to view it.
Thursday, 03 August 2017 19:24

COMPETITION: Win an animated club badge video

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Would you like a personalised animated club badge video (like the one below)? These videos are made to fit as Facebook page cover videos and also double up as a professional intro for any videos about the club. To enter, simply fill out the short form below. The winner will be selected on Wednesday 9th August and will have their video in time for the new season.
 
 
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